26. April 2006 · Comments Off on Another Opera Review · Categories: imported, Reviews

You can read another review here.

The writer used the same Rossini quote about Mozart in his review of Marriage of Figaro last year. As he writes this time, “It was Rossini who paid the highest of compliments to the Austrian who “beat us at our own game.”” Nice. I do wonder where it comes from. Anyone know? (I did a search on the line and only came up with this, by the same reviewer. Surely the source is out there … somewhere?)

26. April 2006 · Comments Off on Reed Update · Categories: imported, Ramble

The first thing I do when I desperately need reeds is to go through what I already have and see if anything is worth spending time with. The only way for me to really figure that out is to actually practice; tooting a few notes gives me “false positives” and I hate those! (I don’t ever seem to come up with false negatives, though.) So I pulled out what I have in my stash (not in the reject pile, mind you, as those are beyond hope). I also pull out the reeds that are still in process of becoming. (Making a one day reed often means you get a one day’s worth of use out of it. I do reed making in steps and let the reeds rest in between the process. Sometimes they rest for a very long time. Lucky reeds.)

I first tried and worked on a reed that just has this problem with being stiff, no matter what I do to it. It gets a good sound, but sound is really the last thing to work on. First, for me, it’s response and intonation. So the reed was in tune and responds well, but it’s a mouth eater, to be sure. So I played a bit (probably too much) on it, and set it aside as a possibility, but not a welcome one. Another reed I tried went immediately to death row. Poor reed. Then I pulled out the newbie I’d been working on. It still had too much cane on it, but my tendency is to take too much off too soon, so I’ve been biding my time with it. Well, well, well … it just might turn into something! (Dare I say that? Will this hope come back to haunt me?) I’ve been playing in my living room, though. The living room has hard wood flooring and it makes things work easier; the response and sound are lovely in this room. (Eventually my studio will move into one of our now-adult children’s rooms, and my students are in for a bit of a shock as the sound won’t be nearly as flattering.) So I’m going to give that reed (I’ll call it Little Red Reed since it’s thread is red) a rest, and take it later to a dead room and see what it tells me.

Meanwhile, I have to rest my mouth. Testing stiff reeds and doing work on reeds is very taxing on the old mouth. If the reed is terribly hard I start to bite and it’s not a good feeling.

But there you go—things are looking up! For now.

I’m still open to any and all reed donations, of course! 🙂

26. April 2006 · Comments Off on What I CAN Do … · Categories: imported, Ramble

I can get cheap Viagra, Xanax, Levitra, Prilosec, Valium and who knows what else. I can find “horny people in your area”. I can get a Rolex replica. I can get “overestimated contract funds” deposited into my account from Engineer Abdul Ahmed. I can get an amazing home loan (they say my application has already been approved and I haven’t even applied. Amazing!), and I can get all sorts of inexpensive software.

But there’s still one question that hasn’t been answered.

Can I get an oboe reed?

And this, my friends, is the Big Question. So stay tuned.

I wish “Reed Day” meant that it was pouring reeds and I had to stay home because of that. But, woe is me (woe is I .. you choose), that is not what it means. So today I’ll go exercise (I’m really not sure how long I’ll last—being up past midnight really takes its toll on this old body—but I know I have to at least go and try. I’m hoping that will help me get moving and energize me for a day of reed work.

Of course I’m also hoping that, while I’m away from home, the reed elves will drop off a few reeds that are just my “size”.

I can dream, can’t I?

I was thinking about the curse of the oboe reed; what other instrumentalists deal with this curse? There’s bassoon, although I believe that the bigger the reed, the less the difficulty (it’s certainly that way with English horn). Clarinetists and saxophonists deal with the reed issue, although they don’t make their reeds from scratch. Are there any other instrumentalists who must work on their equipment? It’s often very frustrating because we reed folk can’t just pick up the instrument and work; we have to work on reeds first. Is that fair? No. No it’s not.

And is there any other profession where an individual has to work on equipment like we do? I’m not coming up with anything. We also have to cover all the costs of this lovely requirement. It’s not cheap.

Ah well. That’s life in the big city. I just felt like whining. It’s a great way to start the day, you know?

Of course I remind myself of what I tell students: Learn to play well on bad reeds. Everyone will have a bad reed now and then. So it’s just a given that one must play well on them.

Oh … and if you are a master reed maker and you want to be kind to a non-master reed maker, you can always send me reeds! I’ll even blog about them if they work for me. Big time. REALLY big time. PO Box 8655. San Jose. 95155-8655. Stick ’em in a box. Send ’em. It’s that easy. 🙂

Surely there’s one or two reed elves out there? Ya think?