04. May 2010 · 7 comments · Categories: Ramble

This was already a day I was sort of fearing; I teach at UCSC on Tuesdays, and I have three students at home after. But today I had to add an opera performance into the mix. That makes for a long day (almost as long as my friend dk, who works longer hours than I can imagine).

So what better thing to do that make it worse, dont’cha think?

I got to UCSC and immediately did something I teach my students not to do at the first oboe lesson. I somehow pressed the trill key on the middle joint (C-D) and crashed together the bridge or links or whatever you want to call them that connect the top and middle joints in order to play that trill. Boy oh boy does that metal bend easily. So carefully — but not carefully enough — I tried to bend the middle joint one back. Um. Never mind; I bent it MUCH further than I intended. I know that if you bend metal enough, it’ll break. Obviously I’d now weakened it a good amount. At that point I tried hard not to panic, carefully and slowly bent it the right way, and tried the oboe. It played, but the trill key wasn’t feeling quite right.

Thankfully I have internet access in my room. I immediately emailed my friend Bob Hubbard of Westwind Double Reed and he said he’d be home all day. (Thank you, thank you, Bob!) So I took it to him to have him look at it. He suggested that I remove that section of key from my other oboe and swap ’em out, OR just remove the key all together and use it that way for now, as I can do without the trill. That sounded reasonable, so I went home feeling a bit relieved.

Of course I got home and was more than a bit of a wreck. So after having lunch (finally … at 2:30 … my first meal of the day!), I took a 10 minute nap. Then I had about 10 minutes to look at the oboes and work on them.

Well, I couldn’t get one of the darn screws to turn! I think one is rather frozen, and I don’t want to strip it. So never mind. BUT I played the “MishapOboe™” some more and thought it would work for La Rondine, since that trill isn’t used at all. In order to feel a bit safer I did bring my other oboe to work as well.

I had three students to teach still. I could use my bad move as a great example to them. Maybe this will keep them from doing what I just did. But then, as I said, I teach all my students about properly putting together an oboe and somehow I blew it today. So who knows?

By the time I arrived at the pit, I was exhausted, frustrated, angry at myself, and a bit worried. And then I saw a conductor I know in the audience — in the front row, no less! (Seeing someone I know in the audience can sometimes make me a bit more nervous that usual.) Let’s just add some more stress, eh? BUT … it all worked. The oboe behaved. (I guess it’s forgiven me for abusing it.) I can now breathe a sigh of relief. The oboe will go to Mark Chudnow at some point (I’ll call and schedule an appointment), but at least I know I can get through this week of work. Whew! You can bet I’m sleeping in tomorrow. As late as this weary body wants.

AND I must say, playing this opera just brings such joy. What lovely, lovely music. It made the stress of the day slowly disappear.

I love my job. (I don’t like doing stupid things like harming oboes, though.)

SO … I guess “An Oboe Mishap Can Really Ruin One’s Day” … but an Opera Can Sometimes Fix That! 🙂

04. May 2010 · Comments Off on Oboist Complaining? Really? · Categories: Read Online

I found this online:

Your favourite instrument besides the piano?

Oboe. Oboe Oboe Oboe.

The one oboist I know never ceases complaining about the fiddliness of dynamic playing on it, but I just think it has the most gorgeously pure tone. I’m not speaking to someone because she says that the oboe sounds like a duck.

I love the word “fiddliness”. I think I’ll use that from now on! 😉

I would suggest, though, that the majority of us complain about … drum roll … reeds.

Big. Duh.


04. May 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

I wish musicians weren’t so judgemental and mean.

What two types of classical music are reasonably comparable?

I have to compare two types of classical music, from different era’s. This can be romantic, bourlesque or any other type of music. I’m clueless about classical music, so two classical tracks that you think would be good to compare would be brilliant. I don’t need your analysis of the tracks as I have to do that for my work, but any suggestions would be lovely.

04. May 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Links, Ramble

Or so I’ve been told.

I just mentioned to a friend on Facebook that I have to confess to caring about the numbers. I see that I’ve dropped down from 25th to 28th on Invesp’s classical music list. Go here to see what Invesp says about me now. Goin’ down down down …

Now there’s a new blog “ranker”. You can bet I’ll start high and move down. I tend to do that. They sent me the code below, which shows me as #6. But if you go directly to their site and check out classical music I’m #9. See what I mean about going down? Once more bloggers are savvy to Wikio I’ll be off that list. I’ll just bet you fifty bucks. (Except I never bet. So never mind.)

[Update: I’ve heard back from Wikio and they say that actually I went up and that they were sending me the “sneak peek” to post at my blog. So not so sneaky now that it’s posted, eh? I still say, though, that my rank will change once more bloggers sign up there. So go ahead, classical musical bloggers. Ruin my ranking. I can deal.]

1 Nico Muhly
2 think denk
3 Clef Notes
4 So I’ve Heard
5 oboeinsight
6 Adaptistration
7 The Arts Blog
8 Intermezzo
9 The Collaborative Piano Blog
10 PostClassic
11 Opera Today
12 The Omniscient Mussel
13 Ionarts
14 Sandow
15 AfriClassical
16 Susan Tomes: Pianist & writer
17 Musical Assumptions
18 The Opera Tattler
19 Lynn Harrell
20 Andrew Patner: The View from Here

Ranking made by Wikio

04. May 2010 · 1 comment · Categories: Opera, Videos

The President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, has signed into law a measure to privatize all of Italy’s major opera houses and reduce salaries at these theaters across the board.

Read here, by La Cieca, where you can read more about it all.

Zubin Mehta leads protesters in a performance of Va pensiero: