My students know why the markings you see on the music below is a HUGE no as far as I’m concerned.

In this case, due to the repeat of the “D” it’s a NO-NO, actually!

Those are E double flats. They are not Ds. Learn to read music. Not only that, but why in the world, if the oboist marked the first one, was the second marking even necessary? But, truth be told, neither should be there. Period.

We have to understand notation. Our fingers should respond immediately to the notation and finger the note. Adding those silly letters above is a hindrance. It adds and extra step for processing, for one thing, but it’s also just plain wrong. There is a reason for an E double flat rather than a D. Sometimes these double flats (or sharps) drive even me bonkers (and I’m already bonkers so I guess that puts me over the edge in bonkerland), but there you go. We have to deal with it!

I had to do a ton of erasing with my Mahler 5 part, and much of it was due to things like this. My colleagues and I assumed that the last group to play it must have been a youth orchestra. I can assure you that my students would still be erasing those letters and learning to read music if I saw anything like this.

And now my Mahler 5 concerts are over.

This past symphony set will remain in my mind as a “quite the joy, quite the sorrow” sort of set. My colleagues — and especially the brass — really showed themselves off in a fantastic way. The music was wonderful. The conductor, Tatsuya Shimono, is one of my favorites to work with and for.

So why the sorrow?

I’m older now. Every time I play something I think, “This might be the last time!”

It’s how this business works. So I try to wrap myself up in the wonder of it all — the beauty of the music and the joy of working with people I love. What a blessing my career has been and continues to be! Someday it will all be over and I hope I never forget weeks like this past one and moments like the end of the Mahler when the brass come in and my heart breaks just a little bit because of just how glorious it all is.