31. December 2006 · Comments Off on Life & Death · Categories: imported, Links

Yes. That’s where my mind is, as you might imagine. Then I read this and think of what an easy life I’ve had. Everyone dies. But I can’t imagine what this woman dealt with.

I used to feel that God wanted me to heal people through medicine. Now what I do is basically the same thing, but through music. Before I go on stage, I pray God will help me by letting his love flow through my voice. No one is exempt from pain. Singing isn’t about me. It’s about the music. That’s what makes live performance so wonderful. I want others to open their minds and hearts, to feel that I’m just like them when I sing about love and longing and pain.


Jason Heath has a link to a story by a music librarian. (Warning: language in the second link.)

I can most certainly relate!

I was a music librarian for San Jose Symphony (RIP). I even punished myself by taking the job for a second bout some hears after the first mistake gig. I do have stories. Many, many stories. And not just about conductors. BUT … just one story for today, and it is a conductor story:

We were doing a pops style concert, which usually means a LOT of music. We had already had our rehearsals and we were now at the venue (a shopping mall, believe it or not) for the performance. The (guest … so no guessing!) conductor asked me for the scores. I was rather shocked. “You have the scores,” I said. He flatly denied this. He was pretty darn angry. I was freaked—I usually order double scores, but for something like this? Not always. What to do, what to do?! Well … a bit of time later the conductor comes back to me and says that he just happens to have all the necessary scores in the trunk of his car.

What a miracle, eh?

He never appologized. And yet he didn’t ever demand “his” scores back. Go figure. Guess those amazing miracle scores must have been the ones I had “forgotten”.

Ya think?

31. December 2006 · Comments Off on Stravinsky’s Nightingale · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m currently watching the PBS broadcast of The Nightingale (Le Rossignol). I played the orchestral work a few years back, but I’d never heard the actual opera. I’m all for videos of operas and other works, and I’m extremely glad I’m getting to hear the work.

BUT … music is sound. So when they decide to add sounds to the music, I find it tremendously annoying. Dishes falling over. Computer keyboard clicking. Other sounds. (We hear those sounds because of the animation in this movie … so they do have a point. But still ….)

Now I suppose you could say I’m listening to an opera and so stage sounds will be added and that’s just the way it is, but some of these sounds … well … they just didn’t work the same way for me (and I DO find those stage sounds distracting when I listen to a CD of an opera). Maybe I’m just overly sensitive to clicks and clacks?

Still, I’m happy to be able to hear the work (I had attempted to order a recording a while back and it never arrived and I was then informed that it wasn’t available any longer). And I really am enjoying the majority of it. I think I read a few blogger critiques and they were primarily negative. I do, for the most part, like it, and I’m recording it to DVD.

Oooh … my heart is going a little faster … must be nearing the big oboe solo. 😉

UGH. There is rhythmic clapping through the entire oboe solo. What a shame. It’s at a good and playable tempo though, so that’s nice. That was a fun (but scary) solo to play! Memories.

Man I love this music!

31. December 2006 · Comments Off on But He Doesn’t Like Accordian · Categories: imported, Ramble

This blog entry talks about Daniel Levitin and his book … the one I was reading , and plan on reading more of as soon as I can wrap my brain around anything—real life has interfered at the moment.

Reading the blog did make me want to get back to the book. I’m a bit embarrassed that I’m so slow a reader (although at the moment I think I have a legitimate excuse).

I wonder how differently a classicaly trained musician hears and reacts compared to someone with a different background. I wonder, too, if Dr. Levitin was assuming all of us look at the conductor all the time (!) because of one study he was doing. I actually can’t see the conductor clearly these days … read my glasses entry … so I wonder if I react differently now than I used to.

Actually I don’t wonder—I know! I don’t get nearly as stressed now that I miss out on the grimaces and hostile looks given out by some conductors. It’s a good thing.

In any case, I’m hoping to get back to reading, and back to “normal” … as normal as things will be when major changes in one’s life take place.

Oh … and from what I read, Dr. Levitin doesn’t care for accordian. Ah well. Maybe he hasn’t heard Quartetto Gelato?!

Yet another loss. One of my favorite oboists, Cynthia Steljes, of Quartetto Gelato, has died of cancer. This is a great loss for the the oboe community, the quartet, and, of course, especially for her family.

30. December 2006 · Comments Off on The Tops · Categories: imported, Links

Just to begin … and in no particular order …

How do you measure a year? (Out West Arts)

Apex 06 (Alex Ross)

Night After Night: Best of 2006

Jerry’s Top 10 for 2006 (Sequenza 21)

NPR: CDS – best Classical CDs of 2006 from WGBH

NPR: 2006’s Top 10 Classical-Music Discoveries, from WGUC

LA Times: Calendarlive.com – Best of 2006 | Classical (Mark Swede)

Steve Hicken: State of the Art – concert music in 2006

Sacramento Bee: Edward Ortiz’ Top 10 classical CDs for 2006

Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog: CDs of the year 2006

musicOHM.com: Classical Review of the Year 2006

New York Magazine: Best in Classical & Dance – The 2006 Culture Awards

Playbill Arts: Top Stories of 2006

Deceptively Simple: Top 10 Classical CDs, 2006

Janelle Gelfand: Looking back: Classical music (Cincinnati)

I know there are more. I’m tired. If you want to help, feel free to drop me a line!

30. December 2006 · Comments Off on In The Good Old Summer Time · Categories: imported, Ramble

Great gaping summer gap: A near-total lack of professionally performed classical music in St. Louis in July and August.

St. Louis isn’t the only city that lets all classical music die in the summer. I rarely work for a nearly 3 month period. It’s frustrating, but there you go. It reminds me of church, really; when summer starts Sunday classes are dropped. I guess God and Mozart both go on vacation in the summer, you know?

Frightening trend: “Virtual orchestras” that replace real musicians playing real instruments. It may be cheaper, but it’s not better.

THANK YOU, Sarah Bryan Miller, for including that in your classical music highlights 2006. It is greatly appreciated, and very true. But will audiences care? I wonder.

I’m really enjoying all the 2006 lists I’m finding out there. Maybe I should even post a list of them for readers. We’ll see.

You know the problem: we need a man for solo trombone.

– Sergiu Celibidache (General Music Director, Münich Philharmonic)

Thanks to Scott Spiegelberg for blogging about this. Ah the weak women who attempt to play a brass instrument. Silly girls. (I hope you know I’m being sarcastic!) Be sure and read the links Scott has provided. Simply astounding stuff there.

29. December 2006 · Comments Off on Glasses & Music · Categories: imported, Ramble

I have horrible vision. Really. Awful. Can’t-leave-the-bed-without-glasses vision. It’s not fun.

And of course I need reading lenses as well. So there you go.

Paul Viapiano blogs about his recent experience. I know the struggle of adjusting to progressive lenses but, unlike Paul, I’ve managed to deal with them. My first experience (too early in my life, if you ask me—I wasn’t even 40!) was frustrating, and it took me three months to adjust. Three darn months. But I’m stubborn. I dealt.

About two years ago now I moved to two pair of glasses; one pair is for everyday use and the other is for music. The second pair allows me to see the music incredibly clearly, and I can see the conductor enough to see the beat pattern but not enough to see a conductor’s glare. It works really well for me. And I do read ahead. I’m not sure if there’s a difference because they are primarily suited for close up reading—I do still have to “follow my nose” a bit— but I can see more than I had expected.

I still use no glasses at all when I’m doing extremly close up reed work.

It all seems to work fine now.

Earlier in my life I wore contact lenses, but my eyes seemed to rule those out after a number of years. I’m okay with that. Glasses hide those lovely dark bags under my eyes! I’m okay with that.

Anyways ANYWAY you very well might have to deal with the problems Paul had, so his blog is well worth reading.

29. December 2006 · Comments Off on Lorraine Hunt Lieberson & More · Categories: imported, Ramble

There’s a touching article about Lorraine Lieberson that’s well worth the read. (I might argue that she began her career even earlier, and was first known as a violist in San Jose, but oh well. I suspect it’s just because I want to lay some sort of claim on this incredible individual who carried with her the richest, warmest, loveliest voice I’ve ever heard.)

In addition, you’ll read Justin Davidson’s Top 10 (performances) for 2006. He doesn’t include the Lieberson concert, but maybe that’s due to the huge write up prior to his list …? Dunno.

I’m busily (well, sort of) looking at lots of 2006 Top 10 lists these days. So many movies, so much music, so many books … most of which I’ve not heard, seen or read.

Maybe I should have my Top 10 Reeds of 2006?

If I even had 10. Kind of doubtful.