31. August 2009 · Comments Off on Cats · Categories: Links, Musical Theatre, Other People's Words

I played for my son’s high school’s production of Cats some years ago. It’s a musical I’ve never cared for. Playing it didn’t help. But I just read a blogger’s comments about her experience and I’m thinking, “Hey, this just might work!”:

I feel that Cats is best understood as a ballet on a poem by T.S. Eliot. After all, all sorts of nonsense goes on in ballets. If swans are OK, why not cats?

Gee … that might do it! Think of it as ballet. Yes. I like that idea. (Of course I still might not like it; there’s a lot of ballet I don’t like either, due to the lame music.)

She ended the blog with a choice comment, too:

There were a couple of older performers, at least I presume they are older, who sang virtually without reference to any particular pitch. I pretended they were cats.

🙂

Sorry … gotta put this up. Doesn’t mean you gotta listen, though:

31. August 2009 · Comments Off on Use Your Metronome! · Categories: Videos

Some aren’t in favor of using a metronome.

Mr. Astaire doesn’t agree. 🙂

31. August 2009 · Comments Off on Relaxation Time · Categories: Pictures, Ramble

Whenever I have a concert the house sort of takes a nose-dive. I can’t seem to manage to keep it as clean as I like (no one else likes it as clean as I like … which might imply it’s not really horribly messy when I let it go, but it bugs me!). So this morning was a “catch up day” after the weekend concerts (which went well, by the way, despite the hot weather and boiling stage).

So today: dusted & vacuumed (until, on the final room, I gave up trying to push a broken vacuum), cleaned the bathrooms, did the laundry, got the refried beans going (do “true” refried beans get fried and refried? I just cook pinto beans and then add all sorts of ingredients; no frying involved. Hmm.), cleaned much of the kitchen (avoiding the Viking stove like the plague) … and now I’m relaxing in my favorite way. I have my tea & muffin, along with the MacBook. Sweet … in more ways than one!

relaxation.JPG

31. August 2009 · Comments Off on YouTube · Categories: Ramble

I have recently seen a few YouTube videos that are resulting in this little blog post. They aren’t videos I’ll post, as I found them bothersome. But perhaps talking about what made them so will be helpful to some readers:

Movement
I realize that some musicians move more than others. I’ve been told that in some countries lack of movement means lack of musicality. This isn’t necessarily true, although people that sit like statues seem to tend to sound less musical to me. (Could it merely be because they look so uninvolved? I wonder.)

I move, but I don’t move around nearly as much as I did when I was younger, but I do move a bit. I strongly believe that if one does move those movements must make sense! I saw a video where a player was moving like crazy, but it had nothing to do with the line of the work. Some people move to the pulse, pointing out every single strong beat, and I find that distracting, but to move with no sense to it at all is especially distracting. (We don’t stress every other syllable as we speak, I don’t believe we should stress every strong beat as we play.)

Intonation
In another video an oboist was probably at least a eighth of a tone sharp. Maybe even a quarter tone sharp. It was amazing. I saw no look of concern on the player’s face, so I’m assuming that it wasn’t something the player notice, which brings me to this: listen! My students know that I will, on occasion, ask them to critique what they just did. Sometimes they have nothing to say and I’ll ask, “Where you listening?” and they’ll admit they weren’t. We get so busy with the notes and our pesky reeds we do actually forget to listen sometimes. Seems crazy, I know, but there you go.

Appearances matter
Don’t give away a wrong note. Don’t shake your head, roll your eyes, or do anything to give it away. Those who heard it don’t need to be told you made a mistake, and those who didn’t don’t need to be told. (And don’t react to someone else’s mistake either. Trust me, it’s a bad idea!)

Okay … enough for now. This is probably stuff everyone already knows, but there may be some younger musicians out there who can use this. Who knows?

I like music as much as the next person …

Hmmm. What does that mean? And who is the next person?

31. August 2009 · Comments Off on Music You Can Use · Categories: Links, Ramble

… if you’re a dog. Check it out!

And then there’s this:

Music for the Canine Household – This CD adds cello, oboe and English horn along with the piano to create a positive atmosphere for the whole family, without inducing sleepiness.

Cool. Oboe and English horn … with no drowsiness!

30. August 2009 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

A Living Prayer

This morning I had church. This evening I have San Jose Chamber Orchestra.

This afternoon? It should be a rest time. I didn’t sleep well, and I want to be alert for the concert. So the plan was to get home from church and crash.

But … well … you see …

GoodTimes.JPGIMGP0283.JPG

… plus a better picture of the muffins, just to make you drool:

Muffins!.JPG

Vivaldi: Et in terra pax, Gloria

29. August 2009 · Comments Off on Mozart Oboe Quartet · Categories: Videos

I gave you the first movement yesterday, but here are all three:

I:

II:

III:

Sadly, I see no names listed, so I can’t give the players credit here.