I’m getting lots of hits via something called newsgator. Anyone reading this using that service? Just curious if those are “for real” or if it’s something I should be blocking. I’m thinking it might be some sort of RSS thing … but I’m a computer idiot so this is just a pattyguess™.

31. March 2006 · Comments Off on Sometimes (most times) It Seems To Work This Way … · Categories: imported, Ramble

… for me anyway.

Tonight was the dress rehearsal. Everything was more difficult. Counting. Note attacks. Intonation. I hate when this happens, and yet it seems to happen frequently to yours truly. I’m not sure what it is about the dress, but I tend to have difficulties with things that shouldn’t be difficult, and of course the difficult things are even more difficult than I expect. Go figure. And the Sibelius … well … it’s deceptively difficult and it’s about playing with the group, not sitting at home going over my little part. So now I fret for a time, and then pull myself together for the performances.

The reed I had thought would be “the reed” is acting up. Stupid reeds. Stupid weather. And how stupid is it that no one has ever sent me reeds, I ask you!? I do check my post office box, you know?

Still, with all my whining (I’m an oboe player and it’s a prerequisite) I’m looking forward to the concert.

Tomorrow I teach, have a recital rehearsal, and of course the Symphony Silicon Valley concert. It’s a full day, with a drive to and from Santa Cruz included. The following day we have an hour of sleep stolen from us. This is simply not a good idea and anyone who thinks it is is just plain wrong.

I speak the truth.

It’ll be interesting to see how full Sunday’s concert will be. It’s sold out … but will everyone remember to set their clocks ahead and hour? I wonder.

31. March 2006 · Comments Off on Let’s Chat About Those Folks Who Don’t Carry Instrument Cases Around · Categories: imported, Ramble

… well, unless you count a body as an instrument case!

Yeah, I”m talkin’ singers here. (And sorry, this is going to be a disjointed ramble … I feel it coming on and I can’t stop it.)

Singers and instrumentalists have sometimes had a bit of a “thing” going on … there’s occasionally (?) a rub between the groups. I’m not exactly sure why. Well, there are some things that do come into play; singers are, more often than not, a bit more … um … vocal. As in more … hmmm … boisterous perhaps (I mean that in the friendliest way) and outgoing and, to us introvert types, sometimes even (dare I say it?) over the top. And heck, I see choirs giving each other massages—as in everyone stands in a line and does this all at once, prior to beginning choir rehearsal. It sort of makes my pals and me cringe; a lot of us instrumentalists aren’t as huggy either, I guess.

Instrumentalists, on the other hand, are … well … maybe we are just plain weird. (Singers, you want to jump in here and tell me how we appear to you?) I dunno. We don’t usually give massages to each other. And I know I’m not as into looks as vocalists, but that might be the oboe in me because I think flutists are a bit more focused on that sort of thing. But anyway, I have sometimes noticed a discomfort between singers and we folk who carry our instruments outside of our bodies (although you all know, I hope, that my instrument actually DOES begin inside my mouth … right? Did you know that? Please say you do! We shape our sound inside our mouths. Really we do.)

Moving on, though … I certainly don’t think of singing as easy and I happen to think that using one’s own body as the music source is mighty frightening. Shoot, I can always look at my oboe or my reed and blame those things, but does a singer get to look down his or her throat and place blame there? Oh. Maybe they do. Hmmm. But I’ve heard instrumentalists put down singers, and I’ve heard singers say that playing an instrument is much easier than singing. (Of course I’ve also heard nearly every instrumentalist suggest that his or her instrument is the hardest. I’ve heard section string players say that playing in a section is much more difficult than what we wind fold do. I’ve heard oboe players say that their instrument is the most difficult and horn players disagree. I guess I’ve heard it all!)

I love the human voice, and I’m envious of those that sing well. I’m even jealous of those who sing poorly sometimes; you know … some of the “stars” who have pretty rotten voices but somehow the voice just works. Our younger son, Jameson, sings at home, and I love hearing his very beautiful bass-baritone voice. Me? I have about a 5 note range, and it’s somewhere in the tenor area. It isn’t anything I share willingly with the world. I can harmonize, and I think I sound okay then, but don’t ever ask me to sing alone. It won’t happen.

(See what I mean about rambling?)

But anyway, I recently ran across two blogs that mention “musicians and singers” and I crack up whenever I see that. I’ve been caught saying that phrase as well, so it’s not like I’m pointing fingers at others and feeling superior. Over at Chris Foley’s Collaborative Piano Blog it wasn’t the blogger who referred to the groups this way, but a survey he was reporting on. And over at Hugh Sung’s site it was actually a singer who referred to the two groups that way. Funny eh? (By the way, check out those blogs. Both are worth your time!)

So anyway … I just want to state it here, in public, loud and clear:

Singers are people musicians too! 😉

(Oh wait. They are people as well. I guess.)

31. March 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

I was shocked by how few opportunities there were for students to hear genuine oboe-laden country music.

-Maggie Ronan, Pomona student

Read more here.

30. March 2006 · Comments Off on Miss Scarlet was killed in the orchestra hall with a violin · Categories: imported, Links

Orchestra musicians must be mighty dangerous. Dangerous enough that some can’t come to the US on scheduled tours I guess.

I wish our government would get a clue.

30. March 2006 · Comments Off on I’ve Got My Baby Back · Categories: imported, Ramble

The English horn (or “anguished horn” as my husband has been known to call it) is home. I took reeds with me to Mark Chudnow’s, of course, so I could give it a go while there, and it plays beautifully! I’m so glad—relieved, really—to have it back in my possession. I didn’t like being without it. Mark also did a little fix on one of my oboes, and I believe the C to D trill in the Mozart Wind Serenade, which I’ll be playing in May, will now be a much happier trill. No one likes a sad trill, right? I hadn’t noticed the trill key problem earlier; I guess I hadn’t had to deal with that particular key after getting that oboe repaired.

Playlist: Driving to Napa it was Schubert. First I listened to a String Quintet (D 956) and then a String Trio (D 581). I don’t know as much string chamber music as I might, being a wind player and all. Both works were downloaded just this morning from emusic. (You’re right, Pam, the Quintet is wonderful … and I did know the first movement already. Not sure why.) After those I put on Sibelius Fifth Symphony again. I just wanted to drill it in to my head (ouch!) even more. Sibelius took me part way home as well. After the fifth finished I attempted to listen to the fourth, but I gave up. I do wish our car was quieter; listening to good music in our Honda is sort of insulting to the music, I think.

I begin rehearsing for Sara’s recital this Saturday, so I picked up the EH just in time. We are doing Stravinksy’s Cantata and I’m playing the oboe 2/English horn book. Whew.

Now I have to get some EH reeds in good order. Or some gracious reader (reeder) has to send me some.

Hint, hint.

30. March 2006 · Comments Off on Btw … · Categories: imported, Miscellaneous

Maestro Boughton mentioned the Sibelius quote I posted yesterday. How ’bout that?

30. March 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Artists like Bach and Beethoven erected churches and temples on the heights. I only wanted… to build dwellings for men in which they might feel happy and at home.

-Edvard Grieg

29. March 2006 · Comments Off on Home · Categories: imported, Ramble

… from two symphony rehearsals.

I am truly enjoying William Boughton; he’s a fine conductor and is, I think, causing us to listen more and pay attention to the little things we sometimes manage to ignore. I like his rehearsal technique, and I think this weekend’s concerts will be mighty fine.

Having rehearsed the entire Sibelius now, I’m loving it. I wasn’t certain what to make of it when I was looking at my lone part and listening to the CD. Somehow hearing it live makes a huge difference to me. It’s got some fun second oboe parts in it, too. (I have played the work before, but it was back in 1981, and I only played assistant principal.)

Maestro Boughton calls us “recreatives” which I think is an excellent term. (Or would that be “re-creatives”?)

More later. I’ve written down a few of his comments because they were so good and worth repeating. You’ll see them here soon. For now it’s time to get to bed; tomorrow I drive to Napa to pick up my English horn and falling asleep at the wheel isn’t allowed. Then I have two students and falling asleep while teaching isn’t allowed either. Finally I have another symphony rehearsal and … yeah, you know … no sleeping allowed. 🙂

I sure do love my job!

29. March 2006 · Comments Off on Funny · Categories: imported, Links

The first picture here cracks me up.

Yeah, I know it explains that it’s the women’s clothing crate right below the picture. But it doesn’t say women’s clothing on the box now, does it? So it is funny. To me anyway.

It would be funny to you, too, if you had my (non)sense of humor.