Les Dissonances chamber music series started performing on June 17. They were quite careful to only seat 150 in an auditorium that seats over 1,600. I believe I read that the audience was also required to be masked but now I can’t remember where I read that.

Only trouble?

The musicians weren’t masked as they shared the stage. They played Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye piano duo, sharing a piano. No gloves, of course. They played duos, trios, quartets … and Natalie Dessay sang at what turned out to be their final concert.

After four concerts they canceled future events because one musician tested positive for Covid-19.

And this is one reason I don’t believe performers will be back to work in the near future. Here in the United States I am certain we won’t be back to work for a very long time: we have been so much worse about being careful and our numbers are far too high and rising.

I find the news of the chamber concerts in France so troubling. When we began to cancel concerts some suggested orchestras play for empty halls but live stream the concerts — as if we are immune to this horrendous virus. (Or is it that we are expendable? Hm.) One orchestra in Germany DID do a live stream concert in that way (funny, though, that many of their regular players didn’t join in and there were a number of subs or second players sitting principal). They were unmasked and seated normally, quite close together, with no screen protection. Early on we were urged to figure things out. Get back out there. Don’t let music die … don’t let the audiences down … don’t let them forget us!

Truth be told, we musicians (and I’m guessing performers in general) have always been so ready (and urged) to work while ill. I know I even played when I had a fever of 102° (many years ago). I know one player who sat in a pit while ill and, as a special little gift, gave a neighboring musician pneumonia. We have had “the show must go on” drilled in to us for far too long.

I’m grateful for the musicians who have the energy to put together the “virtual performances” we find online. No, they aren’t the same as being in a hall full of people, or being on stage with our colleagues, but they are safe. This time of confinement doesn’t mean the music stops. It means it is offered up differently. It does mean some will be retiring rather than returning (lists of openings are growing, from what a friend and colleague told me). But the music doesn’t have to die. It’s a new time of creativity and careful planning. Performers are creatives, after all … time to create in new, safe, experimental ways.

Here … enjoy this wonderful safe performance of the last movement of the Beethoven Oboe Trio, played by Seattle Symphony musicians Mary Lynch, Chengwen Winnie Lai, and Stefan Farkas.

15. May 2020 · Comments Off on Toccata – Music from the court of Queen Isabel I of Castilla · Categories: Can't Stop the Music!, CovidTimes · Tags: , , ,

This is great!

2020 Yale Oboe Studio and Alumni Postcard from Confinement (Includes instructor Steve Taylor as well as Aaron Hill, but I have no other names at the moment. I’ll update this if I get them.)

06. May 2020 · Comments Off on For the Win! · Categories: Can't Stop the Music!, CovidTimes · Tags: , ,

I have been loving all the “virtual videos” but this one … well … it’s the tops! Put together by Félix Turrión Eichler, you’ll see an amazing number of double reed players. Bravo, Félix, and bravi tutti to all participants! (And many thanks to Anne Krabill, who brought this to my attention via Facebook.)

From Félix Turrión Eichler:
I am deeply grateful for the heartwarming engagement of all these wonderful musicians. Un tout grand merci! Stay safe.

LYRICS:
No one to talk with, all by ourselves,
No one to walk with, but we’re happy on the shelf.
Ain’t misbehavin’ we’re staying home for you, for you, for you, for you!

We know for certain, the quarantine
Is our best shot, to slow down COVID-19.
Ain’t misbehavin’
Washin’ both my hands for you.

All those doctors, and those nurses
Live a nightmare, for our healthcare!
Their treatments are worth waitin’ for, believe me…

As oboe players, what can we do?
Just send our prayers to all those who have this flu.
Ain’t misbehavin’
Playin’ from our homes for you.

Oboes:
Philippe Tondre
Eugene Izotov
Rixon Thomas
Qing Lin
Diana Doherty
Emmanuel Teutsch
Philippe Gonzalez
Fabrice Mélinon
Mai Yasuhara
Chiharu Yamada
Davinia Suárez
Aleksandr Bykov
Félix Turrión Eichler

Cor Anglais:
Martin Frutiger
Anne-Catherine Bouvet-Bitsch
Seung-Kyung Lee-Blondel
Francisco Rodríguez
Enrico Paolucci
Khrystyna Korchynska
Luís Matos
Roby Stoos

Baritone Oboe: Olivier Germani
Bassoon: Inès Pyziak
Contrabassoon: Stéphane Gautier Chevreux
Drums: Pedro Gonzalez
Voice: Félix Turrión Eichler