18. January 2007 · Comments Off on Good Question! · Categories: imported, Ramble

“… obviously playing music does not help my stress, or it hasn’t lately. Why is this though? How has something so joyful and peaceful become so painful, destructive and unpleasant?

Matt Heller asks a very good question. I’m sure he and I aren’t the only two musicians who ask this. At least I hope not!

I’ve had absolutely miserable times with oboe. Painful and destructive and horribly unpleasant, to be sure … and everything I did made it worse. These rotten times were more common when I was younger. It’s not that things have gotten easier—in many ways things are more difficult now as I get pickier all the time and realize that even the most simple music is very hard in some ways. (Sometimes the “simplest” is the most “difficult” if you know what I mean! “Simple” does not necessarily mean easy.)

I hadn’t checked out Matt’s blog recently. I’m glad I landed at Jason’s, finding his blog entry referring Matt’s blog entry about Yo-Yo Ma. (Are you confused yet?)

Which leads me to Yo-Yo Ma and the delight of working with him. While Matt and I might bemoan our misery in music sometimes, Yo-Yo Ma has always given me the impression that he is finding total joy in what he does. I’ve never worked with a finer musician. I’ve never seen a kinder person, either. And the times he played with us (in San Jose Symphony (RIP)) he always sat in the back of the cello section for a work scheduled elsewhere in the program.

I wonder if the man has those rotten times but just doesn’t show it. I’d love to ask him, but I’m not one to talk to soloists—I am too reserved and shy (really!). I’ve never spoken to a soloist without the soloist approaching me first (which is rare). I don’t believe I’d ask that question even if I had a chance though; why plant that anxiety possibility in someone’s mind? It’s like saying to an oboist prior to playing a particular symphony, “Do you always miss that first note in Dvorak’s 7th second movement? I’m always afraid I will.”

Nope. Woulnd’t do that to anyone.

And now I’m off. Gotta go play the Symphony Silicon Valley concert, which includes Dvorak’s 7th. Go figure.

I’ll write more about pain, destructive behavior and that desired joy later … maybe.

18. January 2007 · Comments Off on I Know Some Of My Pals Don’t Agree · Categories: imported, Videos

… but there are times I sure wish I could play sax. Watching this video it’s one of those times. There is something about sax. It’s like it’s from the gut, you know? Or maybe you don’t. But that’s how it sounds and feels to me.

The blog itself was about sad news.

I had heard about Brecker’s illness. Yet another reed player. Yet another cancer. Yet another death.

18. January 2007 · Comments Off on Hey … That’s ME?! · Categories: imported, News

Radio One also affected in bid to attract younger listeners to classical station

CBC’s classical music station, Radio Two, is revamping its evening and late-night programming in a bid to attract younger listeners, the public broadcaster announced Wednesday.

So I read that headline and thought, “Oh yeah. Like this isn’t something I’ve heard over and over. Here we go again. What’s new?

(Sadly, I then got the voice of Tom Jones singing “What’s new pussycat? Woah, Woah,” in my head. Sigh.)

But THEN … drum roll please … I read this:

“Half of our audience on Radio Two now is over 65 . . . and we’re not attracting new listeners into the service,” said Jane Chalmers, vice-president of CBC Radio. “We want to bring in the 40-plus kind of group . . . In some ways it’s our listeners’ kids that we want.”

WELL! I thought they were going to be talking about people in their twenties or even thirties … but 40-plus?! I am just 50. I think I nearly qualify.

So anyway, I just sort of cracked up.

Article here.

18. January 2007 · Comments Off on The Truth About The Double Bass? · Categories: imported, Links

Tom Vignieri, the music producer for From the Top, describes Serenade for Strings, a movement work written for a string orchestra and a double bass, as a “strikingly beautiful work.”

Hmm. Does this mean the double bass isn’t part of a string orchestra?

This is from an article about a young composer who will be featured on From the Top.

18. January 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

What I like is bottomless flattery.

-Peter O’Toole

(If you didn’t see the Charlie Rose interview—I just saw it on KQED—I hope you can catch it sometime. It was wonderful.)

There’s a blog entry about the interview over at Sounds & Fury that you might want to check out.

You can hear a bit of John Mack here, on Composer’s Datebook. Scroll down to January 17, and click on “PLAY TODAY’S PROGRAM”. It’s a short segment, and there’s talking over much of it, but you’ll be hearing Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Oboe Concerto, which she wrote for Mack. (He premiered the concerto on January 17, 1991, but you’ll be hearing the premiere recording of the work with the Louisville Orchestra, not the premiere performance with the Cleveland Orchestra.)

18. January 2007 · Comments Off on Nokia Nixes News · Categories: imported, Ramble

They say it wasn’t the phone after all. So never mind about this post.

Although phones going off at concerts are still annoying.

Concert tonight. 7:30. And the low notes only get more difficult rather than easier. Not that I’ve bombed, but I’ve grown more uncomfortable at each rehearsal. I wonder why that is.

Oh. Yes. Because of the way my sick mind works.

Of course my reeds are also busy changing and rebelling and telling me it’s time for early retirement.

I’m not sure if they are talking about themselves or about me. But I’m not going to listen to them.