28. July 2011 · 8 comments · Categories: Ramble

So tonight I went to the (not-quite-so) live broadcast of the concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra that I blogged about earlier. I went back and forth on whether I should go, as my left ear never has improved. (It’s an very weird and annoying pain on my outer ear … I know it sounds crazy, but it really is quite difficult to deal with.) But yes, I went. As I was warned in the email, the box office seemed to know nothing about the press ticket(s) I was offered. The house manager was called and she denied knowing anything either. Hmm. Fathom Events, you might want to check into that! But she let me in, for which I was quite thankful.

When I entered the room I was the second person in the theater. When the concert began there might have been fifteen of us, but I doubt there were even that many. Too bad … it really was fun!

There were glitches in the broadcast, and I wonder if that happened everywhere. Sometimes there was a buzzing sound and then a glitch. At one point, at the beginning of one orchestral work (by Albéniz), it stopped and restarted with Mehta walking on stage and starting the work again. Odd. Toward the end there were pops and hisses for some reason. Still, it’s rather amazing to think we can watch a concert that only a short while ago took place in Jerusalem!

One thing I’d suggest to whoever put this together … let us know it’s intermission and how long it will be! Instead a video about Callejo played, and then one about Fleming, and then some other things. We didn’t know if there was time enough to leave the room or not. So not one person moved. I’m sure some might have enjoyed a bit of stretching or even a bathroom break!

Camera work was odd. During the Rimsky-Korsakov, as the harpist played a cadenza, the cameras focussed on the rest of the orchestra. It didn’t seem to know where the English horn was. Not ever. But I was able to see the oboists; it appeared that the principal oboist was playing on a staple like Mark Chudnow makes. I couldn’t tell what kind of oboe was being played though. The orchestra has so many oboists that I don’t know who this was, but if it’s the first one listed on their roster, Bruce Weinstein, he plays a Laubin. I could also see the principal flute mouthing the words to some of the opera arias. Made me smile, as I’ve been known to do the same thing.

But especially fun for me was seeing the musicians react to things. When Renée Fleming came out for the second half I saw one musician grinning from ear to ear while looking at another. I’ll just BET you he had told the other one that he thought she’d come out in a different dress. And she did. She even changed all of her jewelry and her hairstyle. (I know in the orchestra I play in we often talk about “the dress” … or dresses … it’s sort of a fun part of our job.) After the very lengthy Butterfly duet, which goes on and on for we woodwinds, the principal oboist tugged at his upper lip and gave a very weary look. (I’ll bet he didn’t have a clue the camera was focussed solely on him at that very moment!) Yes, sometimes we feel like we aren’t even going to be able to MOVE our lips after playing that piece. I wonder if he’s ever tackled the entire opera! I was surprised to see one female orchestra member in what looked like a gray top, but I actually liked it! (Gee, how about gray and black options for an orchestra? She looked so classy!) With a filmed concert I think some of the men might think about those very ratty looking bow ties. Hmmm. A cellist had a bit of a coughing fit (which I could hear, but could see) and her stand partner started to crack up. Hah!

The best thing was seeing the musicians smiling as if they loved what they were doing! That was a joy!

Oh … and one other note of interest. The woodwinds had chairs in between the ones on which they were seated. The chairs faced them, and the seats of the chairs were partially under their stands. This is where the keep their cases, swabs and other necessary equipment. Interesting! Of course this wouldn’t work with us; we have risers and NO room to do something like that.

I knew all the works but the Albéniz and Massenet. I’d like to hear the latter again. I really enjoyed both the singers, but I’m not a vocal judge so I never trust what I think about them. I thought the orchestra sounded pretty good on most everything. Sure, there were glitches, but that’s live music!

While the orchestra seemed a bit puzzled (or was it Mehta who was?) by the Leonard Cohen, it was moving to hear the audience singing along. Yeah, I teared up. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing! The audience then applauded like crazy at the end. We American audiences don’t do that. We all want to get to our cars, I guess. These folks were wonderful!

Here is the entire Program:
Verdi: Overture to La forza del sestino
Verdi: La donna e mobile from Rigoletto
Gounod: Jewel Song from Faust
Verdi: Prelude to Act I of La Traviata
Verdi: Parigi, o cara from La Traviata
Puccini: Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut
Puccini: Vissi d’arte from Tosca
Albeniz: Triana from Iberia
Puccini: Aria, E lucevan le Stelle (Tosca)
Massenet: Aria, J’ai versé le poison dans cette coupe d’or from Cléopâtre
Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol (4th & 5th movements)
Puccini: Duet from Act I of Madama Butterfly

Encores:
Puccini: O mio babbino caro from Gianni Schicchi
Cohen: Hallelujah
Verdi: Brindisi (libiamo)

(I have a feeling the tenor was planning on singing Nessun Dorma before Fleming’s O mio babbino because that title flashed on the screen first. Perhaps he felt his voice couldn’t handle it. Or perhaps that was just an error on someone’s fault. In any case, I thought he sounded very nice on what he did sing.)

So anyway, thanks very much, Fathom Events, as well as Weissman/Markovitz Communications, for letting me have a very enjoyable evening. Much appreciated!

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on Gidon Kremer Gets Out · Categories: Read Online

You can read why Gidon Kremer bagged the Verbier Festival here. Then you can read Fabio Luisi’s thoughts (agreeing with Kremer) here. I’m not gonna tell you what I think about what either of them wrote aside from the quote I’ll put below which I appreciated: I have nothing to do with that festival, don’t know Verbier, Kremer or Luisi, and I am simply not all that involved in these sorts of things.

Okay, okay, maybe just a short bit about this from me: I do think we are living in an era where it’s often the “younger the better” for classical music stars. We hear an eleven year old sing opera and go crazy over her. We hear and see other young musicians who, while not even close to some of their elders in quality, get a lot of PR because they are … well … young and attractive and very, very sexy. (Some people are older and attractive, but let’s face it, for most of us aging doesn’t bring out the best in us!) But I know a few younger people who accuse me of ageism ‐ then one called me OLD, so I’m not exactly feeling the love at the moment (I can call me old, but having someone in her twenties call me old cut a bit too deeply for me. Guess I’m too sensitive!). So there you go. I could be wrong about what I think, and I’m not about to say any more than I already have (which is more than enough).

But still, I liked this:

We see many young, gifted musicians who reach the most important music places in the world, pushed by managers and sought after by presenters who must constantly offer “fresh meat” to the audience: the next Netrebko, the next Pavarotti, the next Bernstein, the next Rubinstein, the next Oistrakh. They are “the nextes” and they don’t have time to be themselves, to develop to be themselves – many of them will disappear soon (we already have seen how many have disappeared after a couple of CDs, after concerts in Salzburg, Verbier, after productions in Milano, New York or London) although they might have talent and skills for a serious career.
This is the reason I appreciate this wonderful Gidon Kremer letter, because it is fresh, ironical, true and it comes from a real artist which constantly worked on himself trying to improve himself, refusing to be pushed by whomever.

-Fabio Luisi

For what it’s worth, Maestro Luisi is younger than I. Better looking too. :-)

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on NewToMyEars™: Theodor Leschetizky · Categories: NewToMyEars™

Theodor Leschetizky (1830 -1915)

Variações sobre um Tema de Beethoven
Alex Klein, oboé
Joel Sachs, piano

I think he was mostly a composer for piano:

“Etude Heroique” in G Major, No. 3 from the Trois Morceaux, Op. 48 (Ampico Piano Roll)
Ervin Nyíregyházi, piano

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on Say WHAT?! · Categories: Read Online

Gardner said that in addition to classes on dancing, poise, etiquette and entertaining, the group, which held its 20th anniversary ball this month, has also toured the U.S. State Department, held classes on personal safety and one on car maintenance titled “It’s a Dipstick, Not a Lipstick.”
“Now, we’ve really become a modern organization,” she said.

Um … THAT makes them “modern”?

You might wonder how the heck I landed on the article, as I’m not exactly the debutante type. Yeah, I would wonder too. So here … you’ll see the link to me, small as it might be:

Sure, they still learn to take a graceful bow while wearing elegant white dresses and tiaras, but some debutantes are also taking in the finer points of car repair, nutrition and self-defense.
“It’s not just all about being pretty,” said 17-year-old Sloane Towery as a stylist fixed her hair for her formal portrait. “I’ve learned about etiquette, and how to fight — kind of.”
As one of 19 debutantes in the program benefiting the Plano Symphony Orchestra, her run-up to the presentation ball this fall has included instruction on everything from exhibiting grace and poise to how to jab her fingers into the eyes of an attacker.

Yep, it benefits an orchestra. So that’s it. The one and only link. I don’t understand the debutante thing. I don’t understand high society at all. Guess that’s a good thing, since I don’t belong there. But hey, if you want to send me a tiara I’ll take it. (I don’t do white dresses, though.)

Btw, when you see “Plano Symphony Orchestra” does your brain want to change the “l” to an “i”? Mine sure does!

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on Ah Those Wonderful Transpositions · Categories: Opera, Ouch!

Sometimes an opera work has two key options for an aria. Very seldom do we have to worry about this, but this last year we DID have to keep track of who was on stage for one of the parts (our operas are double cast). I’ve always wondered what might happen should the message not get out about which part to play. Now I know:

I’m sure they were all horrified, but oh MY this makes for a good laugh now. (In the moment it must have been incredibly frightening. But hey, stuff happens. We all live through it.) Thanks to Paul for bringing it to my attention!

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on Just For Fun · Categories: Havin' Fun, Videos

Pokemon … gee, I haven’t thought of Pokemon for ages.

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Had a great conversation with an 88 year old woman about the intonation of the oboe and Carmen Opera yesterday sitting in the dressing room with her! Said it was the first intelligent conversation she has had with someone in a long time!

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on Because English Horn Is A Class Unto Itself · Categories: Read Online

Read online just now:

The opera is scored for chamber orchestra, including strings, banjo, woodwinds, English horn, brass, timpani, snare, cymbals and piano.

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on BlogPerks™ · Categories: BlogPerks™, Ramble

I don’t get a ton of perks (aside from meeting some great people here) via my blog. I have yet to put up a paypal button to get you all to send me money, as some bloggers do. I am uncomfortable with that, although this blog eats up more time that you can imagine. (Perhaps some day I’ll even change my mind and have a “Pay Me! Pay Me!” button. You never know. But no, that’s not why I do this, and it might even take the fun away!) But I do get some BlogPerks™. A few have recently come my way, and I really need to start blogging about these.

I’ve received a few books. I’m currently reading one about Mozart and the myths we all believe to be true called Mozart: An Introduction to the Music, the Man, and the Myths by Roye E. Wates. I’m finding it very easy reading: it’s mainly geared toward those who don’t really know Mozart’s music. But I’m learning things and I am enjoying it, even while I know a bit more than those who don’t know much about classical music.

I also received this invitation the other day:

Hello Patricia,

We would like to invite you and a guest to “Live From Jerusalem” with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta featuring soloists Renee Fleming and Joseph Calleja on Thursday, July 28th at 7:00 pm at a theater near you. Please check the link to see which theater is closest and let me know.

We look forward to having you share this special evening!

“Live From Jerusalem” (but not so live here of course) is something I’m going to go to unless this ear of mine gets worse today (it’s aching at the moment but I think a latté should fix it right up, don’t you?). I have two tickets, but I’m guessing I’ll be going alone. I’m okay with that, as I enjoy things like this on my own. (But if anyone local is dying to go I do have an extra ticket … IF they are really there! The email I received confirming my ticket made it sound as if there could be issues when I get there. Hmm.)

And THEN … this is a bit bigger of a perk … K.Ge Reeds has a new reed making machine and while they didn’t send me that very expensive $3,300 tool for free, they DID send me nine reeds that were made on it.

Wow. That’s a lot of reeds! It appears they used two different reed styles (thicknesses, anyway, as they look much alike), so I’ll try both and see what I think. I did a very brief check of one of each and found one nearly playable out of the vial (they have these nifty vials they send the reeds in too … I wish all reed makers used these!) …

… and the other in need of some scraping. However I haven’t spent enough time with them to be fair to the company, and I’m waiting for my Marigaux to come home since I make my reeds to work on that instrument more than my backup oboe. Still, while I have the Bulgheroni and Loree Royal here I’ll give them a go on those two instruments too.

Speaking of instruments … hmmm … maybe some oboe company would like to supply THAT perk? Marigaux would be my first choice, of course, as I’m partial to those oboes! Don’t you think they’d be dying to have me be their MarigauxMom™ or some such thing? Still, the Loree Royal is feeling mighty nice, so perhaps Loree would like me to be their LoreeLady™. And this Bulgheroni is pretty fine too … hmmm … BulgheroniBabe™ doesn’t sound quite right for yours truly.

Okay … other oboes I’d be willing to take off a company’s hands:
Buffet
Covey
Fossati
Fox
Howarth
Josef
Läubin
MCW
Patricola
Rigotaut
Yamaha

… am I missing any companies that make professional level oboes? Anyone above you’d skip? (Keeping in mind this is if they’d send me a FREE oboe … ain’t gonna happen, of course, but a girl’s gotta dream.)

28. July 2011 · Comments Off on On This Day In Classical Music · Categories: On This Day

I just read this tweet (posted by @ClassicalStream) and I think I’ll post these sorts of things on occasion:

Today in #classical music: In 1717 Handel’s “Water Music” is premiered in #London on the river Thames.

Here’s a snippet. Played on a barge.