09. January 2006 · Comments Off on Chamber Music! · Categories: Concert Announcements, imported

On September 17 at 7:00 PM Symphony Silicon Valley is presenting a chamber music concert at the California Theatre. I’m not involved, but my colleague and principal oboist of the symphony, Pamela Hakl, is. She’ll be playing the Bax Oboe Quintet. Here’s the complete program:

Stravinsky – Octet
Richard Strauss – Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks (small ensemble verson)
Bax – Oboe Quintet
Dvorak – Piano Quintet with Stephen Prutsman, piano

Box office # is 408-286-2600 x 23

I would love to hear that some of my oboe students attended this! Yes, I know it’s a Tuesday evening, but how often do you get to hear the Bax? And how many professional concerts have you attended in the past few months. I’m wondering if any of you attend concerts at all! Prove me wrong. Please?

Really, I do. And I used to vacuum nearly every day. Honest. Not every day, mind you. But I did it enough that when Brandon (who is no 23) came home from school with one of his friends, Mike, Mike would always smile and ask me if I was vacuuming. I am not that “steady with a vacuum” these days, but it is still my friend.

But Jeremy Denk writes this:

As I played the coda, I felt guilty. Not for skipping to it; but because I needed to accomplish “something useful” before I gave myself this searing pleasure. In a flash, I recalled my former teacher, Gyorgy Sebok, impeccably dressed–having parked, as always, illegally in the loading zone–walking into a lesson I had with him, saying that he had just vacuumed the house, and that it made him “feel useful.” He smiled his European, utterly cultured smile, which commented ironically all at once on the vacuum, on himself vacuuming, and on the very idea of usefulness. The incomparable guru finding himself useless, sucking up dust.

So, I tore myself away from the piano and I hauled the Hoover out of the closet and cursed its non-retractable cord and cursed the astonishingly outdated electrical systems of my building, and cursed the red carpet I put in the piano room, which seems to put an exclamation point on every morsel of dirt it collects…. and thus cursing, I did a serviceable job.

You can read the entire blog entry here. It’s a good read!
It doesn’t sound like he or his teacher use the vacuum to avoid practicing.

Confession time: I do.

I clean the bathroom to avoid practicing too. And rearrange my oboe desk. I can find so much to do when I know I need to practice. I’ve always felt guilty about this. Very guilty. I do not like to begin practicing! Notice that I say begin practicing. Once I set myself down and get into it, I enjoy myself. It’s not just music, though. I am the same way about other things. Exercising at the club. Making dinner. Yard work. What makes vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom different is beyond me.


09. January 2006 · Comments Off on Listening · Categories: imported, Ramble

When I first read about the John Cage piece that is going to last until the year 2639, I just sort of shook my head. Then I forgot about it. Today I read that the second chord has been played. The concert began on September 5, 2001.

Anyway, the work is knows as ASLSP and when I first read that I read it as “asleep”. That seemed fairly appropriate. Yes, I know I misread it, and that I’m truly a goof. I’m good at misreading and being a goof. For those of you who don’t want to bother with the link but are anxiously awaiting the CD of the piece (grin), it’s called organ2/ASLSP, or, more clearly As SLow aS Possible. 😉

In other news I’m just home from my drive to Mark Chudnow’s to have “Oboe A” looked at. Mark’s place is about a 90 mile drive or a bit more. One way. I left home around 7:00 to take Jameson to school, filled the car with gas (note to self: gas is cheaper in Napa!), bought a latté and muffin (note to self: if you’d gotten up when the alarm rang you could have had your cereal at home and saved the bucks!) and then I drove to Napa. Arriving, I handed Mark the oboe, chatted for a very short time (less that 5 minutes, I’m guessing) turned around and drove home. When I arrived home I found myself in a bizarre place as it felt like no time had passed. But it was nearly noon. I feel like I’ve lost time.

As I drove I listened first to a few musicals (along with traffic reports) and then I finally moved to Mozart and began listening to Don Giovanni. (We’ll be doing that later this year in Opera San Jose.) The musicals were for light listening. The first, Oliver!, was something I bought because I have such great memories of seeing it as a high schooler (or was it junior high). I don’t know what it is about some music, but there was a point in this silly musical where the music hit me and I wanted to cry. I think it has something to do with tender memories. (Hmm. Sounds like it must have been in junior high, then!) The second, The Baker’s Wife, was something I picked up on a whim. The lead woman sounds so much like a Disney singer. (A Belle or Ariel, or any one of the contemporary Disney musicals, not the older ones.) I wonder what I’m hearing that makes me think of that.

And then Don G … great music, that! But I found that while I listened to the musicals, I wasn’t truly listening to the Mozart. What was that about!? Was it that I don’t speak German? It hardly seems likely, but maybe. I’ve played it before, so did I stop listening because it was familiar? Can’t be, since Oliver! is quite familiar as well. Or was it that Mozart requires more attention than a musical? I’d start to listen and then my thoughts would take over and the next thing I knew I was at a recitative and hadn’t even heard the aria before that. I’m feeling guilty … as if I’ve lost the ability to listen.

I do know that true listening takes effort. More than many of us are willing to put out much of the time. Add in car noise, things to look at, remembering which freeways to get on and off of, and driving over the Benicia Bridge (I am fearful of bridges and I can’t drive in the other lane for fear of driving off the edge. I know it’s silly, but there you go.), and maybe I have a legitimate excuse. But maybe not. I do know I was annoyed with myself and I say “Listen, girl!” but then find myself drifting again.

I guess I’ll have to get my part and go through the opera at home or, better yet, on campus. (I’m more focused on campus because I’m not able to locate as many things to clean when waiting for students!)

But enough of my ramble! I have things to work on. Projects to finish. Hot tea to drink!


09. January 2006 · Comments Off on Hmm · Categories: imported, Ramble

I received an email from UCSC today, that initially looked like the typical spam I receive. The first line reads:

Drop-In NUDE Figure Drawing

Now … I know what they are saying: they are inviting me to attend a figure drawing class. But at first glance it seemed to imply that I could attend the class nude.

Um. No thanks! Believe me, I’m not only saving my pride … I’m saving anyone else who attends the class! 😉

09. January 2006 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

Only the mediocre are always at their best.