It’s about the accuracy and the clarity. Yes, Trevor Mowry can play quickly. But if he hadn’t also played all of this cleanly one would just think, “Slow down!” This is something I frequently have to say to my students: I care much more about musicality and accuracy than I do about speed. Play it slow first. Get it right. Get rid of glitches.

Then work on speed.

Please.

Bravo, Mr. Mowry. I’m in awe. Clearly accuracy AND speed are no issue for you!

(Hat tip to Robert Hubbard, who sent out the link.)

This is a set of challenging pieces for unaccompanied oboe inspired by the following French paintings:

I. Hôtel des Roches noires à Trouville (Claude Monet 1870)
II. Potager et arbres en fleurs – Printemps, Pontoise (Camille Pissarro 1877) 4:16
III. Boulevard des Capucines (Claude Monet 1873) 7:25
IV. Sentier dans les bois (Auguste Renoir 1874) 9:15
V. Scène de plage – Ciel d’orage (Eugène Boudin 1864) 11:43
VI. Le ballet espagnol (Edouard Manet 1862) 12:55

Each movement was recorded as a single take. The only edits are in between movements. Recording engineer: Alan Wonneberger

… but I confess I really don’t think I could manage to move around and play oboe very well. I’m a clumsy sort.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Waltz No. 2
Clarion Wind Quintet

“Night at the Theater” program feature

DÓRA SERES, flute
EGILS UPATNIEKS, oboe
Eg?ls Š?fers, clarinet
David M.A.P. Palmquist, horn
Niels Anders Vedsten Larsen, bassoon

(I’d like my students to watch the oboist fingers … nice and close to the keys. I like that.)

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina; Sicut lilium inter spinas
scatola di voce

Henrik Ødegaard: Krist stod op af Døde (Christ rose from the dead)
scatola di voce

One work I mentioned earlier today is Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue. I am charmed by the work! (I’m also a wee bit nervous, but oh well.)

I’m assuming one of the soloists will be Daniela Tabernig, but I don’t see anyone listed for the other soprano soloist on the symphony page. I guess I’ll find out who it is soon, as we are rehearsing it for the first time today.

Info provided by the YouTube video:
The Radio Chamber Philharmonic and Cappella Amsterdam conducted by Michael Schonwandt perform Debussy’s ‘La Damoiselle Elue’. With wonderful vocal performances by soprano Marie-Bénédicte Souquet and mezzo-soprano Carine Séchaye.

This concert was recorded in February 2012 in Vredenburg, Utrecht.

Musicians:
Radio Chamber Philharmonic & Cappella Amsterdam
Michael Schonwandt, conductor
Marie-Bénédicte Souquet, soprano
Carine Séchaye, mezzosoprano
Paul Meyer, clarinet

(I’m not quite sure why the clarinetist is named and not all the other players. Interesting.)

We have quite the concert this weekend. (Below is just a screen shot so those links don’t work, but to order tickets simply go here for Saturday and here for Sunday.)
Symphony Silicon Valley, under the wonderful direction of Carlos Vieu, and with soloist Daniela Tabernig and the women of the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale are performing some truly exquisite music.

This is the first time I’ve ever played two of the works: Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue, L. 62 and Strauss’s Vier Letze Lieder.

At last night’s rehearsal Carlos mentioned a video on YouTube about the final song and of course I had to find it and I have to share it. As Carlos said, this really is Strauss saying goodbye, following his long life and the horrific devastation in his country due to the war. The songs were composed in 1948 when Strauss was 84, he died in 1949, and these were published as a unit in 1950.

Through sorrow and joy
we have gone hand in hand;
we are both at rest from our wanderings
now above the quiet land.

Around us, the valleys bow,
the air already darkens.
Only two larks soar
musingly into the haze.

Come close, and let them flutter,
soon it will be time to sleep –
so that we don’t get lost
in this solitude.

O vast, tranquil peace,
so deep in the afterglow!
How weary we are of wandering–
Is this perhaps death?

Diana Doherty is playing Spirit of the Wild by Nigel Westlake with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Robertson. I’m in awe.

(Warning to my dear friend whose ears can’t handle dissonance: you’ll want to skip this unless you no longer have that issue!)

… and double wow!

I did it. I caved and bought Apple AirPods because Costco had them at a slightly (very slightly) lower price. Dan had purchased some yesterday when we were at the store and i thought, “Meh, who needs ’em?” Last evening he suggested I at least give them a try. I knew then I’d be driving back to Costco today. (The miracle in all this is that I ONLY bought the AirPods at Costco … and I didn’t even eat anything from their sample tables!)

And just like that I’m sold. I’m currently listening to a YouTube video on them and for a moment I thought, “These must not be working as I’m hearing the music through my speakers.” But no, I was hearing the music through the AirPods. (Duh: I hadn’t even turned the speakers on!)

I have Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones that I sometimes use on the plane, but the darn things hurt the top of my head. No amount of adjusting has fixed that. I guess I’m just overly sensitive.

So yes, I’m sold, in case anyone is interested. At least after using them for about an hour. We’ll see what I think in a few days, right?

Only issue: I feel just a wee bit nerdy wearing them. Or maybe more than a wee bit.

It’s often said that people just need to embrace music and violence would halt. People love to post the Bernstein quote when things get rough. Others seem to think that musicians are all peace loving folk.

And then there’s the audience …

The rustling of a gum wrapper at a performance of the symphony last week in the Swedish city of Malmo brought a section of the audience back down to earth, and brought several concertgoers to blows. Mahler’s late Romantic epic became the occasion for an epic clash over candy.

As Andris Nelsons, an eminent Latvian conductor, coaxed the quiet notes from the string section of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a woman in the balcony rustled a bag of gum, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported. A young man sitting next to her glared a few times and then lost his patience. He snatched the bag from her and threw it onto the floor.

But wait, there’s more:

But as the concert hall vibrated with the final, resounding notes, and as applause rang out, she exacted her revenge.

The gum-rustler turned to her neighbor and uttered something, eyewitnesses told the newspaper, and then proceeded to smack him in the face, knocking his glasses from his face. The woman’s male companion then grabbed the other man by the shirt and began to punch him, as the seizer of the gum sought to defend himself.

And even more if you RTWT

No, great music will not result in world peace. People are people. Go figure.

I’ve not been blogging much, as I know the few who read this have noticed. I’m going to have to see if I can be a bit more diligent. If not, perhaps the site needs to be retired. Still, I think I have more I could write about if I just set my mind to it.

I’d love to hear from anyone who might want to ask me a question about the music life and a career that began so very long ago. After all, I joined the Musicians’ Union (local 153 back then) on May 14, 1974 and landed my job with the San Jose Symphony in the summer of 1975, so I have had a few years (hah!) of experience doing what I do.