24. June 2009 · Comments Off on “I’m Not Playing the Flaute, I’m Playing The Flute” · Categories: Flute, Videos

I’ve heard a friend of mine — Hi Isabelle! — say this, and now I hear it from Rampal himself. (She did study under him, so maybe she got it from him?)

24. June 2009 · Comments Off on A Whole Lotta Cuttin’ Goin’ On · Categories: Links, Opera, Ramble

According to a recipient of the email, the missive continued with details about NYCO’s proposals for revisions to the current contact with AGMA, including

a quarter of the chorus gone, all weekly soloists… fired, ten orchestra positions eliminated, all dancers and movement people fired, 4 weeks eliminated from the choristers pay, reduction in stage management staff, associate chorus completely eliminated, no health care for stage managers or [assistant directors], health care reduced for chorus and orchestra, no annual coverage of health care, only work weeks, overtime basically eliminated.

RTWT

Is their orchestra a part of AGMA, then? Hmmm. I’m clueless, I know, but I just assumed they were in the AFofM.

10 orchestra positions eliminated? Yikes! I count 61 members of the orchestra on their roster. (Odd that they have more second violins than first, don’t you think?)

Anyway, things sure are sounding bleak for New York City Opera.

Their stark black & white site bothers my eyes, and when I clicked on a link that played a video it got very dim. Oh NYCO, are you aware of that? [pause to watch video until it froze] … so they are enlarging the orchestra pit but cutting the orchestra? Okay then. [Second watch of the video didn’t dim it. Odd.]

Ah well. I’m so weary of hearing about orchestras and opera companies struggling. But I guess it’s going to continue and we all just have to deal. Do support your local organizations!

24. June 2009 · 8 comments · Categories: Links, Oboe

One thing leads to another. Having visited the NYPhil site I just blogged about, I thought, “I wonder about Bruno Labate…”. So I did a quick google, and found two tributes to the man. The second included this:

The final lesson with him was a near-disaster because I unexpectedly found myself with a reed problem. Conrad had given me some brief instruction on reed making not long before, and I was still floundering away at it. Shortly after the lesson started I unhappily discovered the fundamental truth that a reed which seems pretty good when you first make it doesn’t necessarily stay that way the next time it’s soaked and played. And that reed, unfortunately, was the only one I had. Near the end of that very uncomfortable half hour there was a knock at the studio door and one of the other students came in. He had an instrument with him on approval that Labate had promised to look over. The oboe was a battle-worn Selmer, and Labate immediately handed it to me to try out. It was a particularly untimely request. First, I was stuck with a reed I could just barely play; second, the Selmer was an open-hole model which I wasn’t at all used to; and third, the instrument seemed to be in pretty poor shape. As feared, about the only sounds which emerged when I tried to play it were squeaks and squawks. After enduring perhaps a half minute of this, Labate abruptly took the oboe from me. He removed the reed, briefly crowed it, made a wry face, stuck the reed back in the oboe and started to play. What followed was a revelation I shall never forget. For what may have been three or four minutes (I quite lost track of the actual time) he put the instrument through its paces, starting with scales, then arpeggios, then trills and ornamental figures, taking in its entire range, and finished up with a few brief excerpts from the symphonic literature. The technical facility, the beauty and variety of tone, and the musicality which radiated through it all just astounded me. And with my awful reed and that third-rate instrument yet! I had never heard anything like it, and the intimacy of that little studio added further to the breathtaking impression. Labate then handed the instrument back to the other fellow, shaking his head and saying, “Oboe notta so good.” Turning to me he added, “And you, da reed notta so good either!”

You can read the full tribute here, and another is found here

24. June 2009 · Comments Off on New York Philharmonic History · Categories: Links, Oboe, Symphony

NYP has a site that allows you to check out their history. For instance, you can go to their “search artist” page and enter “oboe” for the instrument. I found out that Caesare Addimando played oboe in 1908, playing the Beethoven Trio for 2 Oboes & EH. Interesting, isn’t it, that they did that work? Here’s the full program:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Beethoven: Ah! perfido, Recitative and Aria for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 65
Intermission
Beethoven: Trio for Two Oboes and English Horn, Op. 87, Adagio (2nd movement)
Beethoven: Trio for Two Oboes and English Horn, Op. 87, Finale: Presto (4th movement)
Beethoven: Der Wachtelschlag, woo129 (Damrosch, Leopold)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36

Note that they only did two movements of the Trio. That wasn’t uncommon, from what I’ve read. When I was music librarian I spent time organizing the San Jose Symphony’s (RIP) programs and history, and saw they did the same sort of thing.

… and who else played in the trio? Bruno Labate and Marcel Tabuteau!

24. June 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Attn NYT crosswd writers: there are musical instruments other than oboe.

24. June 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Music Camp, Part II · Categories: Links

I blogged Monday about summer music camps. I see that San Francisco Classical Voice has a full article about them. Check it out!