I was just watching and listening to a video of a very talented group of young(ish) musicians playing in a conductor-less group. I ended up having to just listen and not watch.

Why?

Nearly every musician was beating time with his or her instrument. It was so very distracting. I understand the need to keep time. I understand wanting to count carefully when there is no conductor to help with the pulse, but to pretty much pound out every beat is, for me, a distraction and also starts to make one lose the horizontal line of the work.

When I only listened it wasn’t quite so bad, but I could still sense they were beating that pulse out much of the time.

Maybe it’s just my problem. I wonder.

Side note: I love watching younger (and when I write “younger” now I am mostly referring to forty or below) musicians at work. It’s also difficult for me, though: it makes me feel quite old, and perhaps a bit obsolete. That’s especially the case when a group implies they have the answer to what is frequently called the death of classical music. (Key phrases: “break down the barriers”, “collaborative”, “for the people” and one they don’t frequently use but I will “will pay for tips”.) Unfortunately most of these groups that tout the answer aren’t making a living wage off of their frequently wonderful and well-played music making. So perhaps they have the answer to the death of classical music but they might, as well, be bringing on the death of classical music as a profession.

I wonder.

I don’t mean to be snarky here. I just worry that if you give something away for free or nearly free you are telling the world — or at least the current audience — that the value of your work is worth next to nothing or even nothing at all, aside from applause.

Excerpt: see complete video at www.idrs.org (multimedia)
Richard Killmer, Johanna Cox, Celeste Johnson – Oboe and English horn
Three 3-part Inventions, J. S. Bach (1685-1750) Arr. Tustin

To get tickets go here and click on the Così “Order Now” link.

This is a bit longer than my normal Sunday evening music. Set aside 14+ minutes for it when you get the chance. I really enjoyed it!

John Leavitt: Missa Festiva
National Taiwan University Chorus; Fang-Pei Trace Lien; Hsin-Jung Hsieh, Pianist

Maurice Duruflé: Notre Père (Our Father)
Ensemble Corund; Stephen Smith, Conductor

Easy … right? ;-) (Thanks to Jose Simbulan for bringing this to my attention.

Please enjoy. I sure did!

Telemann Trio Sonata, TWV 42:e2

Alice K. Dade, flute
Elizabeth Koch Tiscione, oboe
Brian Thornton, cello
Noam D. Elkies, harpsichord

July 27, 2017
Congregation Beth David
Festival Mozaic
San Luis Obispo, California

I’ve never heard of the “kaval” (the flute-like instrument in the video). Always something new to learn!

Astor Piazzolla: Oblivion
Nedyalko Nedyalkov, kaval; Valchan Valchanov, oboe (Pianist isn’t listed)

Read online:

If you’re like me–and I would suspect there are as many that are as aren’t–your take on the oboe is that it is an instrument that is part of the orchestra, an instrument that contributes to the total sound but not one that ever takes the lead, or is as famous as, say, the cello, the French horn, the violin or the flute; sort of the second rhythm guitar or third back-up singer in a rock band. You know it’s there, but you can’t really make out what it sounds like. Couple that with an old saying attributed to the instrument: “The Oboe is an ill wind woodwind that nobody plays well.” You’re left wondering, “Why would anyone want to have an ensemble that features such a blasé instrument?”

Um. REALLY?!

Hah!

(The article is about Paul McCandless and it does talk about the oboe in a very positive way, but I’d never thought about French horn being more “famous” than the oboe. Hm.)

God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again
The Century Men; Charles Fuller, Director