oboe part for the duck playing unceasingly in my head all morning..
I’ve written about this before, I’m sure, and it’s nothing a double reed player doesn’t already know, but since there are readers here who aren’t reeders (aren’t I just so darn funny sometimes?!) I’ll write about it again.
I’m in the middle of an Opera San José run of La traviata. This Friday night I have a recital at UCSC where I’m playing the Carl Reinecke trio for oboe, horn and piano. I can’t play the same reeds for these two events. For opera I have been playing several reeds for the first and second acts, and then I use another for the end of the opera. The reed I’m hoping to use for the recital is a different one from anything I would ever play in the pit. We have to choose reeds for different acoustics. We have to choose reeds for different climates and elevations. It’s crazy making, to be honest. I’m hopeful that the reed I’m planning on using for the recital will work on Friday; with the weather changing and all, who knows? I know I’ll need more reeds for opera, as we have eight performances and reeds just don’t last long when I’m playing so much. Following the opera run I play in San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s fourth symphony, where we are doing the chamber orchestra version. For that I have to have oboe and English horn reeds ready to go.
I hate reeds. But I also love them. When they are bad, they really are just hideous to work with. When they are good they feel heavenly. Most times they are somewhere between those two ends of the spectrum, though. So far I have nothing I love, but I also am not going to crazy. I still do wish I had a few that felt a wee bit better, though.
Ah well. Reeds are the curse of the oboist. And that’s just the way it goes.
… and yet another reed player has been struck with it.
Not that it only chooses reed players. A friend who played trombone was taken from us last year, dying of the same cancer this oboist has. But I do wonder about our reeds, and whether what the cane grows in is safe, as I’ve known so many reed players who have had cancer.
A new documentary and CD chronicles one University of Kentucky faculty member’s battle with an incurable disease. Diagnosed in 2008 with multiple myeloma, oboist Nancy Clauter is taking others on her journey through cancer treatment and her fight to continue to play.
An oboist for more than 45 years, Clauter earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in music from University of Arizona.
Clauter joined UK’s faculty in 1997, where she quickly began focusing her research on arranging and performance. Active in the local music scene, she also performs as principal oboe for the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. Currently, Clauter is an associate professor of oboe at the School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts.
Clauter’s journey with cancer began in 2008, when she visited an urgent care center with symptoms she believed to be the flu. Less than a day later, she found herself in the hospital undergoing a battery of blood tests and facing a dire diagnosis: multiple myeloma, a rare, blood-related cancer with no cure.
After five years and 23 short-term extensions, Congress has passed legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next four years. Included in the bill are provisions that create a uniform national policy regarding musical instruments on airplanes. Any instrument that can be safely stored in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat may be brought on board as carry-on luggage. Additionally, the bill sets standard weight and size requirements for checked instruments, and permits musicians to purchase a seat for oversized instruments, such as cellos, that are too delicate to be checked. Existing law allowed each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instruments, and size requirements varied widely for both carry-on and checked baggage. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has been lobbying Congress to enact such a policy for nearly a decade.
I never had any problems with taking my oboe on a plane, but I rarely travel. Those who travel frequently have stories to tell. I’ve heard some pretty awful ones.
A small key is sticking my oboe – there go my hopes of applying to Banff :-/