I honestly don’t understand the whole Carnival of Music thing, but Scott’s Carnival of Music post is pretty darn hilarious.

I know that the blogger who is hosting links to a bunch of different music blogs, but I’m not sure if the blogger chooses the links, or if the other folks request to be linked, or if it’s a little of both. I figure I’m not quite the intellectual blog they link to, so I’ve not paid a great deal of attention to how it all works, but having just finished the latest Harry Potter book I really cracked up reading Scott’s clever post. (And you don’t have to worry about spoilers.)

31. July 2005 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain; of strength and freedom; the beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love; the cruel beauty of nature, and everlasting beauty of monotony.

-Benjamin Britten

Sarah, at A Glass of Chianti writes about a new student she has who is asking for a clarinet reed. Check it out. Black reeds?? Yikes! This is what some teachers have to deal with. Sigh.

But reeds. Reeds, reeds, reeds. Will the horror never end?

This past year I have been ordering oboe reeds from various suppliers. One has provided me with a few reeds that are so playable that I actually used them for Les Mis! (Yes, I am admitting this here; I didn’t use one reed of my own making for the entire 7 week run.) Unfortunately about 3/4 of the reeds she sent, though, wouldn’t work for me at all. Because those few worked so well she and I might try to figure out what the problem is and see if she can become my students’ reed supplier. All the rest of the suppliers simply made reeds I couldn’t use. At all. Either the overlap was on the wrong side (very common problem, by the way), they leaked, or were otherwise unplayable. Now these reed makers are also oboists, and they use reeds just like the ones they sent me, so obviously we either use entirely different embouchures (quite possible, as I take in very little reed and some folks nearly swallow the thing), the reeds act differently in their neck of the woods (temperature, humidity … they do play a part), or they play on even worse reeds than I make! Believe me, I can make some mighty rotten reeds! But I will continue to work with the one very patient woman if she’s willing, and I will continue to search for others that I like.

Meanwhile, I have to get my own act together and start working on reeds again. During Les Mis I had no desire to even look at a reed when I wasn’t performing or teaching. Now that I have some time, yours truly is going to have to bite the bullet.

Any of you out there want to shame me? Do it! Tell me how many reeds you are working on? Tell me how quickly you can put one together? I don’t mind a little shame now and then.

And if you want to send me a reed, you know I’d let you. 😉

31. July 2005 · Comments Off on My Silly Finger · Categories: imported, Ramble

For the longest time I’ve had this one blue spot on my wedding ring finger, looking at the finger palm side up. It looked like a vein had a bubble in it. I figured, in fact, that it might just be a weak spot in the vein. I showed it to a few people and no one was alarmed, nor was I.

Yesterday I was taking some bags of clothing out for HOPE and I guess I popped the thing. It didn’t hurt. It just swelled up a lot. And turned quite blue. Some friends I lunched with yesterday suggested I go see the doctor, and I will (promise) if it’s in bad shape tomorrow. But yesterday it was a fairly dark blue and swollen. i think it’s getting better now. I still can’t get my ring off, which I usually can do as long as I run my hand under cold water and use soap. It’s still swollen, but oh well.

But, mostly, I’m writing just to ask if anyone else has ever had this happen. It still doesn’t hurt. I have fine mobility. So I’m not worried. Just curious.

Very Late Update
Since I wrote this entry, someone did a search on “bubble vein finger” and I figured maybe they might land here again. My finger is fine. I showed the doctor about a month after the “event”. She didn’t even flinch. It’s no biggie. Just so you know. (08-08-2006)

28. July 2005 · Comments Off on I Love This Idea! · Categories: imported, Quotes

Reading Greg Sandow today: I love the first story in this blog entry. What a great idea!

The second two stories (do I call them stories? Somehow that seems wrong.) aren’t so uplifting, but are stories that do need to be mentioned. 1) Foundations aren’t all that hip on giving money to the classical music scenes these days and 2) classical music folk aren’t sure whether to be honest or not about the problems with “where we’re at and where we’re goin'”. (My words in quotations, not Sandow’s, so if you use ’em, be sure and quote me. Hah! That’ll be the day: quotes from PEM.)

Don’t look now, but The Giants are ahead. They lost yesterday, but the day I was worried (see this) they managed to win … and without me watching, as I had to head for bed before the 11th inning (or was that 11th hour?).

28. July 2005 · Comments Off on What I Missed By Not Going To The IDRS Convention · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m bound and determined to get to the convention some year. Really I am. I have met so many oboists via email and instant messaging, and I would love to put faces and voices to names. Seeing all the companies represented looks mighty fine too, although I might end up spending far too much money.

But some year I’m going to attend. Trouble is, it usually conflicts with the end of SCU and UCSC, and that poses a problem. But someday, some way, I’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I have gone here and here to see what I missed this year.

Sort of looks like double reed heaven, you know?

Because Drew wrote about him I landed at a site of Robert Levine’s. I played with him in the Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra quite some time ago. (I can’t even say for sure how long ago it was, but if he was there prior to our first son’s birth it means it was over 23 years. Yikes!)

So now I’m feeling a tad old (er?).

Ah well. What can one do? Time moves. It never stands still when I wish it so. It only seems to stop when there’s a huge solo that I’m having trouble with!

Isn’t that the way life works?

Anyway, Robert’s site is about the AFM in case you want to check it out.

Meanwhile The Giants are tied with the Cubs and things aren’t looking good. It’s also late and I’m tired. Maybe I’ll go curl up with Harry Potter and just check the score tomorrow morning! (What a horrible fan I am, eh?)

I’m still recovering from Les Mis. I guess it’s going to take some of that always progressing time.

24. July 2005 · Comments Off on Nutcracker on an Island?! · Categories: imported, Ramble

So Jessica Duchen, whom I always enjoy reading, has Nutcracker on her list of desert island music works.

Hmmm. My carpool pal and I were talking about our hope for a different job this December so we can skip Nutcracker.

Don’t get me wrong; I know it brings great joy to the audience, and I love seeing those bright young faces peering down at us. I love hearing the kids ask about our instruments. Heck, I answer their questions unless I’m in reed limbo at the moment.

But after playing it for well over 25 years, I wouldn’t mind “missing” (without missing it!) it for a year.

So Jessica, if you are on a desert island I think I’ll have to skip joining you for that one. I will, however, gladly join you for a listen of the Ravel Piano Concertos or some Faure! 🙂

Our son, Jameson, will be going to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh soon. I now see that he could see a Really Terrible Orchestra while he’s there. What a crack up! Here’s the bio of an oboe player there:

George Russell
An oboe player with unbridled enthusiasm and limited talent seeking recognition after 40 years of playing to a grade 3 standard. His claim to musical fame is a last second unrehearsed public performance in 1964 of the 30 bar solo at the start of the 2nd movement of Brahms’ violin concerto. That was the peak of a musical career which has been on the slide ever since.

Doesn’t it make you want to hear him?

Or perhaps not!

But hey, I love the sense of humor, and it does make me want to hear them (and maybe offer a few free lessons to the oboists!).

24. July 2005 · Comments Off on Zero · Categories: imported, Ramble

That’s right. Zero shows left. It’s all over. And now it feels as if the time just flew by. Funny how that happens.

Tomorrow I’ll go through withdrawal of course. Or call it a music hangover. Call it whatever you want … but I’ll be going through it! The Day After The Music™ is always difficult for me, and especially so when I’ve done a job that took so much energy. Doing 8 shows a week also mean that we became a bit of a family. So I’ll miss everyone.

I’m so grateful for the work. I’m so thankful that I had seven weeks of good employment. And I’m glad I was involved in this since it is the last time Les Mis, in this form, will ever be in this area. Now I’m hoping to go see the show sometime … it will be in Seattle sometime in this next year so we are hoping to plan a trip up there.