13. April 2005 · Comments Off on someone played the oboe · Categories: Announcements, imported

someone played the oboe, day after day
as each dusk fell he played the same sad song,
nor kindled any fire there beside the dark seashore,
where all fires die, they say / all float away.

for hours he played the oboe in the darkness by the shore,
that long and cliffless seashore where no ship ever calls;
he played it out of listlessness, or played it out of fear,
perhaps a quiet shepherd boy, or just landless king.

sadly he played his oboe, and the ether trembled deep,
beneath that halting song in a gentle minor key.
that floated sadly back to him from off the massy sea,
and all fires die there / they all float away.

Iva Bittova

Iva Bittova’s site

13. April 2005 · Comments Off on National Poetry Month · Categories: imported, Ramble

It only seems right to put up an oboe poem this month. At least one. More if I can find some!

But you’ll have to go here to read a Billy Collins poem that includes an oboe section. (I can’t put it up here due to copyright laws.)

I’m still looking for an old post of mine where I put up Iva Bittova’s poem “Someone Played the Oboe” (she gave me permission to post it some time ago).

13. April 2005 · Comments Off on SFCV · Categories: imported, Ramble

(Still at the computer; not at the club OR making reeds. Sigh.)

San Francisco Classical Voice has the Opera San Jose Flying Dutchman review up now. The reviewer has nothing good to say about us, so it seems. I had wondered if some would be annoyed that there were visual things going on during the overture. The SFCV writer certainly was. She writes:

“Stop! Before we go on, would someone please explain why you felt compelled to double the music with pictures? Do you not trust the audience to listen? Does orchestral music now require subtitles too?”

Well, I go back and forth on how I feel about the pictures. My initial reaction was similar to the reviewer’s. Oh, and in case you don’t know, operas use supertitles not subtitles. (“sup”=above, “sub”=below) Minor error, I know, but it’s always fun to review a review (although it means that I might get panned by the reviewer should she see this post). I think if I were bothered by the visual I’d just shut my eyes, rather than seethe through the entire overture. It’s a beautiful work — why let anger interfere?

Anyway, the review is a negative one. But it seems mostly angry about the staging and the projections displayed, and spends only a little time on the singers and no time at all (which is actually typical of an opera review) on the orchestra.

Somewhat off topic (but still about reviews) …
In another review at SFCV, for a Napa Valley Symphony concert, the writer tells us “While this was Miss Sieden?s second appearance in three days, she still sight-read from her score”. Hmmm. Does he not understand what we call sight-reading? I can’t imagine that a reviewer wouldn’t know that sight-reading is what we do when we are looking at something for the first time. The soloist was using her music for the performances (something I think is just fine, thank you very much) but I’m willing to bet a whole lotta bucks that she had practiced the music and wasn’t getting her first look-see at it at her “second appearance”. I would bet, in fact, that she wasn’t even sight-reading at her first rehearsal! We do like to come prepared to rehearsals … especially as soloists! I wonder if Mr. Keolker (the reviewer) is a musician. And now I’m going to be asking all my friends if they know what “sight-reading” means!

13. April 2005 · Comments Off on Time To Get Moving · Categories: imported, Ramble

I slept in. It’s already after 9:00. I did wake up to say “hi and bye” to Jameson (our 15 year old), but the old hands did demand Tylenol PM last night and that means I’m fairly groggy in the morning. So no AVAC. Yet.

I’m debating.

Do I go and exercise, or do I stay home and start dwelling on reeds?

It’s a tough choice, to be honest. I want to exercise, but I put reed making off so much of the time and I wonder if I’ll really do it if I don’t start right NOW. I’m the Great Procrastinator. Still, exercise is a good way to get my mind and body settled.

I guess I’ll go into the bedroom and stare at my exercise clothes and see if they call out to me.

Meanwhile, if you want to get a glimpse of what one reed player deals with, check out this page of Brian Sacawa’s. He plays saxophone, so it’s a single reed life for him, but still it gives you a bit of an idea of the reed plight. I do sort my reeds in a similar fashion. (Most go into my “Maybe if I pray over them they’ll work someday” pile.) One difference between us is that I have to shape and wind and all that jazz. If you look at my Reed Making Tutorial you’ll see the steps we oboists have to go through (although I leave out the gouging and shaping processes there). Oh, and I don’t know what a box of sax reeds costs, but oboe reeds run anywhere between about $13 to nearly $30 per reed. Can you imagine? Some reeds last only a week. (I have a knack for “milking” reeds for all their worth, though, and getting a much longer life span from them.)

(Hmm. My keyboard is “squeaking” as I type. Odd. What could be up with that?!)