So the Nuts have begun. I’ve played one rehearsal and one performance at this point. Yes, one rehearsal But trust me, I know this work! I had to skip the first rehearsal because I’m not playing the final two performances and my sub needed to get a crack at it. (Hah! get it? A “crack” at it. Man, I’m subtle. Or maybe just a NUT. Oh dear. Sorry. I’ll stop now.) Last night was opening night, and while I played fine I had a rough night. I just felt “off” … (I know, I know, many of you say it’s clear I’m always “off”!). If I played and supported in my usual way I felt a bit sick to my stomach … and today is a dizzy day.

Ever since my major health issue of last year (you can read about the start of that here) I have these. They don’t come anywhere close to how awful that particular virus was, but they remind me that I’m simply not back to “normal” … and I wonder if I ever will be. So I’m staying home, and I’m not moving around a whole heck of a lot. Such is life.

Playing the Nut isn’t like it used to be. I was talking about this to a colleague last night. We were remembering the years of stress. Our parts have some rather significant solos, and it took a number of years to not be a bit nervous about them. Now I’m not nervous at all. That doesn’t mean the solos aren’t difficult, because they do have their challenges (what was Tchaikovsky thinking with those low Bs, eh? And having to slide to them … geesh!). And it doesn’t mean I don’t take the work seriously, because I most certainly do. The day I don’t care I hope I quit. I just don’t fret or cry over things anymore, and my heart doesn’t try to pound its way out of my body as it used to. I actually enjoy trying to think of things to do with the solos. (I”m guessing no one else notices if I hold this or that note in a slightly different way, but it’s just fun and keeps me on my toes after playing various Nutcrackers for — what? — probably over 30 years now!) I do whine a bit but, truth be told, the music is actually good. The other day I switched on the radio and heard some lovely music. It actually took me a moment to realize I was hearing a selection from the Nutcracker! Go figure.

5 Comments

  1. At least you get one rehearsal. I’m subbing for six shows on EH with the Phoenix Symphony and jumping right in with ZERO rehearsals! Yikes!

  2. And YES… Those slides from low D# to low B have me quite on edge!

  3. I actually would be okay with coming in like that at this point, Cooper … keep in mind I’ve played this for over 30 years! I’m finally comfortable with the sliding, for the most part. The first one is the most difficult … once that’s over it’s pretty much a piece ‘o cake! I’ll bet you’ll be fabulous!

    The straight EH book is SO much easier than these silly combined books though. Are you doing the combined, or do you get to play just EH?

    There’s this one crazy change we have to do, because of the way our Nut is done. I’ll have to take a photo of that page and blog about it!

  4. Pingback: Some Nutty Glimpses at oboeinsight

  5. Was that because it’s one of the numbers we don’t play?? So you haven’t actually heard it for like the last 20 years?? But yes, it is good music. I try really hard to remember that. Sometimes it works, other times… not so much. No matter how cranky-pants a night I’m having, though, the tree-growing music always chokes me up. It’s just so incredibly joyful and awe-struck.

  6. It just sounds so very different when hearing the mix of instruments in a recording, Patti. From where I’m sitting I hear mostly oboe 1 and bassoons. And of course me. So suddenly I was hearing a totally different piece in some ways. Go figure!

    I try to remind myself that every time I’m playing the work there are people who are coming to be entertained and some are there for the first time. If I keep in mind that I’m creating memories for so many, it’s easier to deal with more than 30 years of Nutcracker! (And yes, for me it’s over 30 years.)