MacMillan: In splendoribus sanctorum
The Gesualdo Six and Matilda Lloyd

Nikolay Kedrov: Otche Nash
The King’s Singers

In case you haven’t noticed, all my Sunday music now features virtual groups. I am attempting to do this until we are no longer to remain isolated. As long as groups post them, I can manage this. Some groups, like the King’s Singers, will be professional. Others will not. I just want to stick to my, “It has to be done during the time of Covid-19” thing if I’m able.

Peter Lutkin: The Lord Bless You And Keep You
Santa Rosa High School Alumni

Josiah Kelley Alwood: Unclouded Day, arr. Shawn Kirchner
UCI Chamber Singers; Dr. Irene Messoloras, Conductor; Shawn Kirchner, Piano

Brava to Bernice Lee for doing both parts of the Ferling! It’s so clever how she looks as if she is looking at the “other” player (herself) when of course no one would be there in real time. I’m not sure how she made that image at the end!

Ferling – Duo Concertante for 2 Oboes, Op. 13 (Rondo)

Duets are something I really miss while teaching online. I’ve suggested to students that they record one part and play along with that, but it’s not like the two of us playing together (I nearly always ended a lesson with a duet). I’m starting to ponder how to teach here. The other day I walked by a house when I saw a guitar student get out of her car, carrying her guitar, a chair, and a stand. I thought, “Oh dear … NO MASK? And she has a lesson?!” Well, as it turned out, she set up on the porch at the house. The teacher was inside the house, with the door opened (but she had a screen door closed). Hm. Perhaps I can do something like that if students are up for it. I’m still not willing to handle instruments or reeds, but at least we could play duets!

Bach: Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott
New Docto Artists: Solange Merdinian, Voice; Sami Merdinian, Violin; Yves Dharamraj, Cello

Have mercy, my God,
for the sake of my tears!
Look here, heart and eyes
weep bitterly before You.
Have mercy, have mercy!

Mendelssohn: As The Hart Pants
Coimbatore Chamber Chorale; Faith Ragland, Conductor

Bragi a-capellakoor in lockdown
o.l.v. Rein de Vries

Bide with us, for evening shadows darken, and the day will soon be over.

Good stuff here! A big bravo to each of you!

W. A. Mozart: “Madamina, il catalogo è questo”” from Don Giovanni
Denis Bourakov, Principal Flute, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Eugene Izotov, Principal Oboe, San Francisco Symphony
Recorded in Seoul, Korea / San Francisco, USA

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.