This is wonderful.

From the YouTube page of Cameron Chiu

I hope this video serves as a comfort during these bleak times. When life gets rough, I always resort to music first. With the combined force of 24 student cellists from around the world, we wish to share that experience with you through “The Swan” from Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals. It is a piece of cello repertoire that harnesses simplicity and beauty in a language that speaks directly to the soul. In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 gripping the world, our bodies may be in different places, but our souls can still unite through music. #songsofcomfort

Pianist: Inah Chiu
Producer/Editor: Cameron Chiu

US Cellists:
Brandon Cheng – Chicago, IL
Bethany Bobbs – Paramus, NJ
Shengyu Meng – Los Angeles , CA
Kira Wang – Portland, OR
George Wolfe – New York City, NY
Evan Nicholson – Atlanta, GA
Carson Ling-Efird – Seattle, WA
Meagan Hipsky – Guilford, IN
Shirley Kim – Rochester, NY
James Baik – Houston, TX
Alon Hayut – Ann Arbor, MI
Cameron Chiu – Palatine, IL

International Cellists:
Eugene Lin – Taiwan
Luka Coetzee – South Africa
Seungyeon Yang – Korea
Emma Osterrieder – Germany
Marco Moruzzi – Italy
Sophie Van der Sloot – Canada (Ottawa)
Rachel Siu – Australia
George Wilkes – England
Luis Alejandro Castillo – Spain
Jiaxun Yao – China
Jiaqi Liu – Singapore
Ine Coetzee – Canada (Calgary)

Special Recognition:
Brandon Cheng
Alon Hayut

29. March 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

Well, these are tough times. Due to that I’m going to start this site back up, just to share some uplifting music and to talk about how we are dealing with things here.

My symphony and opera work is gone for now. Opera is done for the entire season. Symphony is still questionable for later, but for now we have to stay home so obviously nothing can happen.

All but one student has agreed to take online lessons. they are not ideal, but it will at least keep us connected and, I hope, keep them practicing. I love seeing them each week, but online lessons are a lot more grueling than in person lessons. Truth be told, I’d “earn” more by cancelling them all and doing nothing: unemployment pay, with the additional $600 being offered, would be more than I can make from them. I’m simply not comfortable taking money when I really AM able to work. Others disagree. That’s not my problem. We just deal with things in different ways.

(Students faces are blurred out, as I didn’t ask permission to post their faces here and I think they deserve their privacy.)

And here … enjoy this music in the time of Covid-19, please.

… and perhaps goodbye blog.

I am taking my leave and seeing how it goes. It’s time to try it out. If I find I miss it too much I’ll be back.

BUT first I just have something to say to my students and anyone else who is willing to listen to me regarding music: a rest does not always mean take a breath. A rest is not always the end of a phrase. A rest can actually be part of the line.

Think about it.

And now over ‘n out.

For now, anyway.

If I really don’t return I leave you with VOCES8. Of course I leave you with VOCES8 even if I’m back later. I’m nice that way.

Session footage from VOCES8’s recording of ‘Momentary’ by Ólafur Arnalds, arranged by Geoff Lawson. The track features on Ólafur’s album release ‘re:member (choir versions)’ which can be found on all digital platforms.

Well, I have to post this. Because I think Caroline Shaw is amazing. And here she is with the Calder Quartet, singing By & By and I’ll Fly Away.

This site is rather costly. I pay an annual fee. For a long time that was worth it: I was posting daily. I had a schedule for various postings (ACappellaTuesday, BachTrac, MozartMusicMatters and more) that meant the site was constantly changing.

But that’s changed, as the few readers left surely have noticed.

These days I primarily post Sunday music and the very rare blogpost. I seem to have lost the drive to keep it going. Part of that is due to my obsession these days with my photography: the photo site gets much more attention. Oboeinsight hasn’t fully died, but it’s certainly fading away.

Pondering has gone on for quite some time. I don’t want to delete the site completely, but I also don’t want to pay what I’ve been paying to keep it going. So soon I will be moving it. I may lose a lot of posts this way: I really don’t know what to expect. But so it goes.

When I began this blog it was the only one I knew of that was oboe related. Believe it or not I set it up on January 17, 2003. Since then others started to blog. Some have done great sites, others were here and then disappeared. (It takes a good amount of time to keep a blog active!) My readership grew tremendously during my more active blogging years. Since I’ve reduced activity things have dwindled significantly. I’m okay with that. It’s time to move on.

I’m not saying goodbye quite yet, but I’m thinking my oboe blogging days were great fun and it’s time to admit I’m not doing a good enough job to call this an active blog any longer.

I am studying up on flute music at the moment, due to several flute auditions that will be occurring soon (one is for symphony and one for opera, so I have my studying work cut out for me!). I’m on the panel and I want to be absolutely certain I know the music well.

As is typical, included are not only orchestral excerpts, but a concerto (or two).

The latest video of a work for flute and orchestra that I listened focussed on the soloist in the video, but behind her is a flutist in the orchestra, seen for the entire work. I’m betting that flutist had no idea how clearly she is seen, and how it is pretty darn obvious she isn’t impressed with the soloist. At the end of the work the orchestra musicians are applauding … except that orchestra flutist, along with the principal oboist. They just sat there.

This is a good lesson for me. We can be seen. Even if we aren’t totally impressed with the soloist, looking like we can’t stand the playing is unnecessary, and not applauding just looks rude. At least to me.

Some time ago now a musician posted some very negative things about a concert s/he was involved in. The person was primarily saying how awful the music was.

I would caution people about this.

Yes, sometimes we play music we don’t like. But to tell our audience that is unnecessary and could even be harmful. Some might love the music and think it’s the best thing ever. Others might skip buying tickets because of what they read from a performer. And, honestly, it just isn’t necessary.

I even try to be quiet about a performance as I’m walking to my car if there are things I want to complain about. (Mind you, I don’t always succeed!) I don’t want to tell an audience member about the mistakes; most of the time they haven’t a clue that something went wrong, and if they do they usually understand that that kind of thing happens. (Ah the joy of live music!)

22. December 2019 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Ramble · Tags: , , ,

Huron Carol, arr by Sarah Quartel
L.A. Choral Lab; Michael Alfera, Conductor & Artistic Director

18. December 2019 · Comments Off on Advent, Day Eighteen · Categories: Ramble · Tags: , , ,

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Magnificat Primi Toni

04. December 2019 · Comments Off on A Very Good Reminder · Categories: Ramble

Over on Facebook a friend gave musicians (and others could use this too, really) a very good reminder. She urged those who were sick to stay home. As she said, this time of year is a very busy month for musicians (well, not for me … but so it goes) and that most orchestras do have a sick day. Coming sick to work can affect so many others. It’s not fair to them. Yes, you might lose income. That’s difficult. But is it fair to think only of one’s self?

As she wrote, “missing one service may keep others from missing much more.”

I read her post the day I was feeling fairly miserable. I had been thinking, “Oh I think I can probably make it through the opera — it’s short!” After reading her post I immediately contacted our personnel manager and let him know I was sick. He found a great sub. I stayed home in bed. I am better now. I’m also very grateful for that Facebook post.

So thank you, Meredith, for your wise words!