Sometimes I listen to a piece of music and I just want to fall to the floor and weep.

That is what music can do to me.

I hope that it can do that to all of you as well.

Sometimes it’s just a simple progression of notes. Or a harmony. It hits me in the gut. This isn’t a bad weepy thing. It’s that good, amazingly painful but wonderful sort of weepy thing going on.

There is something about the beauty. The wonder. The … well … never mind … I have no words. I’ll just settle myself here on the floor and weep for a while.

That’ll do.

21. September 2015 · Comments Off on An Interesting Reed Source · Categories: Reeds

A while back Laura Covey of MKL Reeds contacted me, asking if I was interested in trying some of her reeds. She has a different way of handling the whole reed thing: she has a number of reed makers (twelve at this point), and you can search for the one that works for you. She identifies the reeds by colored dots. If you order three reeds she will send three reeds out to you, each from a different maker, and you can determine if one of those dots works. When you next order you simply request that dot color. Reeds are also guaranteed and returnable (exchanged or refundable) within five days of receipt. From what she says you also don’t have quite the wait time you have with some reed makers: she gets them out within a week.

She sent me six reeds to peruse, each from a different maker.


They really did differ quite a lot. One had no tip to speak of. They measure from 69mm to slightly over 70mm long. Most crowed a C for me, although one was a B. Some crowed only one higher C rather than the free blowing multiple Cs I prefer. Out of the batch she sent me I found I could play on three rather comfortably and I will continue to work with those and see if they are “keepers”.


I found the green, double black and double red dots to fit me better. The other three simply wouldn’t work with my embouchure. Not at all, really. The funny thing is that I know one of those would suit one of my students quite well, because he takes in so much more reed and likes to press harder on the things.

But that’s just it, yes? Our bodies … our lip structure, our embouchures … they all determine what we want to work with.

MKL reeds are not inexpensive. Oboe reeds are $35 a pop, and English horn reeds (I’ve not tried those, although I’d certainly love to since I play EH in symphony much of the time) are $42. Of course if you are, like me, a rotten reed maker, you will pay nearly anything if you find a reed that works for you.

Thanks, Laura, for sending the reeds my way, and may your business flourish!

20. September 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Jake Runestad: I will Lift Mine Eyes
East Carolina University Chamber Singers; Dr Andrew Crane, Conductor

20. September 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

Pawel Lukaszewski: Crucem tuam adoramus, Domine
East Carolina University Chamber Singers; Dr Andrew Crane, Conductor

17. September 2015 · Comments Off on Marin Alsop & Cabrillo · Categories: News

SANTA CRUZ, CA—September 17, 2015—Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music announced today that Maestra Marin Alsop will step down from her role as Music Director and Conductor in August 2016, following her 25th anniversary season. The Cabrillo Festival’s 54th season runs August 5-13, 2016 in Santa Cruz, CA.

America’s longest running festival dedicated to new music for orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival is a preeminent force in new music, both nationally and internationally. Celebrated as a “summer mecca for musicians and a premier musical destination for audiences,” (San Jose Mercury News) the Festival attracts some of the world’s top contemporary composers whose compositions are shared with an award-winning orchestra and an enthusiastic audience.

Long-time Executive Director Ellen Primack and the Cabrillo Festival Board of Directors have initiated a strategic process to identify new artistic leadership.

“It is with great sadness and after much contemplation that I make this decision but I believe this is the right time for me and for the Festival,” said Alsop. “I look forward to the 2016 season when we’ll celebrate all that we have accomplished together. This Festival has always been about the new and is championed by audiences and musicians who embrace a sense of discovery and risk and so I am confident and excited about what the future holds for this extraordinary institution.”


16. September 2015 · Comments Off on Not New … but Still True! · Categories: Videos

A YouTube video from February 2014

16. September 2015 · Comments Off on Life Has Loveliness To Sell · Categories: Choral, Listen

I just like it is all … and I love much of Sara Teasdale’s poetry. How sad that she ended her life at the age of 48. I guess she saw things other than loveliness in her life.

The Idyllwild ARTS 2014 Festival Choir under the direction of Heather Bishop:


Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

—Sara Teasdale

15. September 2015 · Comments Off on Collaborative YouTube Videos · Categories: ACappellaTuesday™, Videos

On occasion I’ve posted some collaborative videos from YouTube: most of the time people from different countries put these things together and much of the time I’m pretty amazed at what they do. Now I see that one group (six guys, five countries — Canada, France, Sweden, UK and USA) have actually connected and performed live together. What a fun thing to see and hear!

I’m a huge fan of a cappella … heck, I’m a huge fan of the human voice. Too bad I have an awful human voice and have to use the oboe voice instead. But such is life.

Their tribute to Gene Puerling is lovely:

15. September 2015 · Comments Off on And FINALLY … · Categories: Listen, Videos

Yes, really … I won’t keep posting videos although I could easily waste the rest of my day viewing them, but I have things to do around here.

I landed on this video, though, and feel like posting. It says “A thrilling new sonic experience – This is how Spark defines Classical Music in the 21. century!”

So I am NOT being snarky here. I just want to know what makes this “Classical”. Honest and true, I’m asking so you can offer up your opinion to me. Thoughts?

Note: For the record, I like this. I’ve now listened to another video of their work and I am going to have to check more of their work out. Fun stuff! The piece I’m now listening to as I type this seems more like folk rock or something. [time lapse] … Ah-hah! They list, in their language (German): Klassik, Avantgarde, Minimal, Rock, Pop and Folk. So yeah … that works.

15. September 2015 · Comments Off on And another … · Categories: Listen, Videos

Have any of you heard of the medieval author Christine de Pizan? I hadn’t.