24. August 2013 · Comments Off on Stewart Copeland on Writing Opera · Categories: Read Online

ALM: What about symphonies?

SC: …OK, that’s at the top, I’ll grant you that. Program music is 1000% easier to write. When you’re writing a symphony… you better have a tune in your head.

Pop songs, they’re three minutes, they’re about boy-girl relationships, they have to employ electric guitars and synthesizers, [and] anything that isn’t 4-4 rhythm is rash. One can live as a musician in that world and die a happy man.

Above that is film scoring, which takes you… into every kind of music. Period music, space age, techno, happy, sad, every form of the human condition that needs music, a film composer has to go there and use his skills to figure out how to create that emotional cultural atmosphere, and to order. You need to have skills, know how to use an orchestra, program a synthesizer. It’s probably the widest skill set of any musician. But the problem is … it’s all craft, no art. It’s deeply engrossing, I love it, but it’s not art. It’s in the service of the artist, who’s the director. It’s his art.

In opera, the composer owns everything, controls everything, makes every artistic decision. Everything is in service of the music. It’s the composer who’s driving the ship.


24. August 2013 · Comments Off on Rockers Move To Opera · Categories: Read Online

Led Zeppelin fans found a new reason to dislike opera this year — if they cared enough about opera to dislike it in the first place. The iconic band’s bass player, John Paul Jones, scotched the most recent round of rumors about a possible reunion concert or tour next year. “2014 is full of opera for me at the moment,” Jones said. He isn’t planning on going to operas, or listening to them. He is writing one. It’s based on the short play “The Ghost Sonata” by the 19th-century Swedish playwright and author August Strindberg, and, in a brief TV interview captured as he left a performance of Philip Glass’s new Walt Disney opera, “The Perfect American,” in June, Jones said he was halfway through the first act.

Jones isn’t alone.


Well … I suppose many of these guys are old enough now to be in the audience, so why not compose and hear their own stuff, eh? 🙂

24. August 2013 · Comments Off on Back To Oboe · Categories: Ramble

Since getting home from our travels I’ve been meeting up with my oboe a bit. Just now it was finally feeling somewhat “right” again. Whew!

I knew it would happen — I’ve been at this career for so long now I don’t worry (too much) that I won’t be able to get it back. I DO, though, dread the rough sound I have at first. One thing that really is obvious is vibrato. It’s just this awful, uncontrolled thing. Because of that, I find it best to either use it minimally or, better yet, not at all. Keeping a steady tone is challenging, so I think we tend to use vibrato to cover that up when we aren’t in good shape. It’s better to just deal, accept that frustrating sound for a while, and leave off the cover up. I also find that it’s good to have something new to work on. Fortunately I’ll be playing with San Jose Chamber Orchestra in a month or so (well, a little longer I guess: October 6, to be exact) and one of the works was sent to me already. I really love working on something completely new. This should be fun.

Meanwhile I’m listening and practicing Falstaff for Opera San José, of course. We have our first rehearsal this coming Tuesday. There are some quick little ditties in this thing … time to get the brain to work a bit faster!

That’s the other thing … the brain … it isn’t quite as quick to catch things. So I have to play things slower and make sure I’m seeing everything clearly. It doesn’t help that my vision is again doing weird things and even with my computer/music glasses I’m unable to focus all that well. I’m hopeful that will change soon. Sometimes it goes out like this and pops back in after a time. If not, I suppose it’s back to the doctor to see what we can do about this. Blurry music makes for a rough time!

The oboe is also in very good condition now. I took it to Mark Chudnow because so much seemed awry and I wasn’t able to get things quite right (I’ve been doing much of my own work, using the Sawicki book as a guide). Mark had my babies (English horn as well) while we were in Seattle and we picked it up on the way home. Thanks, Mark!

24. August 2013 · Comments Off on And Ben’s Live! · Categories: Oboe

But of course we knew that already! I wrote about Ben yesterday and he has just let me know that his CD page is now live. Check it out! (And thanks, Ben, for letting me know about this.) 🙂

24. August 2013 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

All my homework is Done, Practiced Oboe , Now I’m Gonna Enjoy a poptart c: