Today is a non-church day. I don’t like missing church, as it is worshipful, a good place to learn, and a time to see my family. Especially when I’m so busy. But I have a 1:00 performance (which means I leave the house around noon) as well as a 6:30 one, and sometimes I have to think reasonably to make certain that I can make it through a day … a week … a life. And I really can’t afford to get too run down and risk getting sick. So here I am. (But I’m missing seeing my parents and sister, which is sad.)

I just finished going through the Dover score of Il Barbiere di Siviglia; my Kalmus oboe part is chock full of mistakes, and I wanted to make sure I get the part corrected. I’m not certain about the change or articulation marks, so I’ve put them in, but with question marks. I suppose I’ll wait and see what rest ‘o the gang does, since we are all stuck with these Kalmus parts. And obviously I’ll ask our conductor; the Maestro (Michael Morgan) let me know he’s using the Dover score, so I wonder if he’ll stick to those printed articulations. However the main reason I wanted to go through the part was to omit all the music that I am not to play. I’m not sure where Kalmus parts come from (I once heard that these old Kalmus parts were stolen sometime during a war—WWII?—but I wonder if that’s the truth. The person who told me said that Kalmus would then put in an error to two so the parts didn’t appear to be the result of theft. I’m guessing, though, that this is just an old tale and hasn’t any truth in it. Still, I’ve often wonder why Kalmus parts are so full of mistakes!) In any case, there are several places I don’t play, even though my part has music. So I’ve taken all of that out. That stuff I gladly hand to the clarinets. It’s tough music!

I was surprised to see my part. Opera San José has done this opera before, and yet I don’t see a single mark in the part that is mine. That’s extremely odd, and makes me wonder if they gave me the second book (both oboe parts are contained in one book, and of course there are two of these books). The marks that are in the book make me think a very young player was the last to use the book. Ah well. The eraser has come in quite handy!

With those parts cut out I play much less, and even with those parts I play very little in the second act. I play, in fact, only the Act 2 Quintet, sitting through three numbers before and after that Quintet. If only I could see the opera while I sit … and sit … and sit. Sigh. But I sit under the lip of the stage. And that’s life. I guess. Hmmm. Could I manage to move elsewhere without being noticed? Doubtful, I’m sure. But I’ll see if I can make it work.


  1. Katarina Eriksson

    Kalmus scores and parts are banned here in Stockholm – everybody became fed up with all the mistakes and the corrections took too much out of valuable
    rehearsing time…. I heard that theft story too, wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true – the stuff is suspiciously cheap 😉 I never heard that the plates were stolen during a war though, what I heard was that the plates were stolen by an employee leaving the firm.

    According to the Rossinispecialised conductor  (Cillario) who first conducted our present version of Il barbiere, the ouverture was written to a completely different opera – Il barbiere does not have a second oboe at all (except in that adopted ouverture) in it’s original version, so when you play 2nd you get to leave after 4 minutes 🙂

    The principal has to stay for a while longer, but I think you get to leave about 45 minutes before the actual end.

    I’ve spent all weekend in church – lots of Requiems this time of the year. Brahms yesterday, and one by an obscure swedish composer today.

  2. Ooh, Brahms Requiem! Good Stuff!
    I agree with the above. Kalmus sucks. I’ve had good results from Lucky’s music in Michigan. They’re very helpful and friendly.

  3. Patricia Mitchell

    Heh … never heard of an orchestra banning Kalmus! Not a bad idea, if you have enough funding to buy something better! (I was a music librarian early in my music life, and I know about the costs of all of this stuff; I used to order anything but Kalmus if I could help it!)

    I heard the same story about the overture … or maybe I read it online somewhere. Easy gig for the second oboist! I’m not sure if I can sneak out after the quintet or not. We’ll see what the Maetsro says.

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    Cooper, do you mean Luck’s? Sometimes what they have been (at least when I was librarian) was the exact same thing as Kalmus. Interesting that you have had good results from them! I’ll keep that in mind. 🙂

    And yes, Brahms’ Requiem is fabulous. I’d love to do that again. Of course I’d love to do most any Brahms.

  5. Katarina Eriksson

    …..I suppose it’s a matter of prioritites – the major operahouses and symphony orchestras in Sweden are financed by the state, and our music library apparently think it’s worth the extra money not having to listen to complaints all the time ….
    Hmmm, I wonder what we would get if we agreed to play from Kalmus again and save some money  – I would gladly try if we could get some more inspiring conductors the coming months!

  6. Patricia Mitchell

    Where I am it’s mostly a matter of money. Especialy after the death of our over 100 year old symphony, I’m all for caution. I don’t want to ever experience that again! (I’d been in the orchestra for 27 years when it folded.) But when I was librarian I had to go through and correct parts if we had to order Kalmus. I’m always surprised that other librarians don’t have to do that. (But our opera company is very small and we don’t even have a full time librarian.)

    So you want some inspiring conductors, eh? Go figure! 🙂