For the past month or so I was in the pit, playing Marriage of Figaro with Opera San Jose. I don’t think I’d ever go weary of that wonderful music, and the first oboe part is just a delight to play. What a masterpiece!

Now, though, it’s time to move on to the stage. Symphony Silicon Valley has a Dvorak week, and I’ll be playing only the symphony (No. 9, “For the New World”), and only one movement of that. Crazy, right? I’m playing English horn, and it only appears for the famous “Going Home” solos. I’ve always seen the solos in the second oboe part, although we’ve always had three players, but this time the edition came with three parts. Needless to say, my part is all of one page long. In the past I’ve always assisted the principal oboist after I’m done with the solo, but it appears that this time I’ll just be doing a whole lot of sitting. I’m going to guess some people in the audience will wonder if I ever play a note if they don’t pay attention to the second movement!

With this new edition, comes two tempi markings that are new to me. The start of the solo, as well as the second appearance, are at the quarter=52. Then, at my final appearance I see quarter=62. Wow. Both tempi are faster than I’m used to, but the later one is VERY surprising to me. My understanding is that these parts came from the conductor, but I’ve no clue if he put those marks in. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow!

It’s a funny week. I have a major solo. I barely play. Go figure.

(I’ll post a video of the second movement later if I can find one I like. Right now things are running too slowly here.)

John Man, young oboist and dapper party companion, was thrilled to tell reporter’s about his latest reed.

“I make reeds,” he said. “This reed I made is my best reed that I made, even better than the reed I made yesterday, which was the best reed I had made until I made this reed.”

Man says that nothing gives him quite the same satisfaction as sitting down with his tray of tiny knives, ready to embark on a vigorous session of high-stakes whittling. “I don’t just make reeds; I craft the future.”

RTWT

From a site with a bunch of spoof articles … including this one:

Aunt Sally, a sweet and caring pensioner from a sleepy English town full of small shops, went to see a lunchtime concert held by music students at her local church last week. Though she liked the concert, particularly the pieces by Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert, she was very disappointed with a new piece written by a famous living composer.

“It was all very plinky plonky,” she said. “Also, though I love vertiginously sparse chordal textures and enchanting serial manipulations as much as the next girl, I really feel we have had more than enough pulseless explorations of atmospheric timbral effects and we could do with a more vigorous sense of musical narrative and cogent thematic development.”

RTWT