Now, if you have read, say, Mr. Krehbiel’s “How to Listen to Music” (which can be got at any bookseller’s for less than the price of a stall at the Alhambra, and which contains photographs of all the orchestral instruments and plans of the arrangement of orchestras) you would next go to a promenade concert with an astonishing intensification of interest in it. Instead of a confused mass, the orchestra would appear to you as what it is–a marvellously balanced organism whose various groups of members each have a different and an indispensable function. You would spy out the instruments, and listen for their respective sounds. You would know the gulf that separates a French horn from an English horn, and you would perceive why a player of the hautboy gets higher wages than a fiddler, though the fiddle is the more difficult instrument. You would *live* at a promenade concert, whereas previously you had merely existed there in a state of beatific coma, like a baby gazing at a bright object.

-Arnold Bennett

In case I have some non-oboe type readers, “hautboy” is an oboe. I’d never heard of Arnold Bennett before, but of course the comment about our instrument just made me laugh so I had ot post this.


  1. That’s a great quote; can’t wait to tell the “fiddle” players in my orchestra why I’m getting paid more than they are (NOT). Must find this brilliant tome so I can know the gulf (sometimes I feel like I’m IN the gulf!)

    Jill Cathey

    PS – if you like check out my blog, it is kinda new, but you inspired me to start writing it! Today’s entry is not my happiest moment though, be warned.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Would you like to be added to my links? I’m always happy to add another reed blogger. 🙂

    Sorry you had a bad day, though.

    Only recently I’ve finally managed to grasp a few things that might be helpful. Or not. 1) Never put tone quality into emails. I usually put in the negative sort. 2) Never expect anyone to apologize. 3) Conductors amost never back off, apologize, or make us feel good. Go figure.

    I have more things I’ve learned … believe it or not! … but those might help you a bit.

    But again, as I said, maybe not.

    And please know my tone of voice right now is one of concern and trying to cheer you up.

  3. Absolutely! Feel better already. Writing it all down makes it seem better, even if no one else reads it. I am REALLY glad I didn’t send off the first imagined email I thought up…went to the gym and worked out, then came back with a little less poison dripping from my fangs. Our little orchestra is having severe growing pains right now, and the manager has WAY too much on her plate, so I should just let this go…egos get in the way of common sense!

    Feel free to put my blog up, and if you have any suggestions for a newbie blogger, let me know!

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    Your site has been added. Thanks!

    The advice I give to everyone is “Assume whatever you write is appearing on a huge billboard. In every part of the world. With your name attached.” Nothing is private on a blog. People will find it if they look around on google enough.

  5. Never heard of Arnold Bennett?  Sic transit gloria mundi. 
    Once he was one of the great English authors of the early 20th century,
    author of “The Old Wives’ Tale” and “Anna of the Five Towns”.  But
    where is he now?  Mostly out of print and largely forgotten.

  6. Patricia Mitchell

    Hah! Once again I astound you with my ignorance and you get to shine in wisdom. What can I say? There is so much I don’t know. “I’m just an oboe player, Jim, not a scholar.”

    But can you make an oboe reed? 😉

    (I did locate the author on the Guttenberg site. Perhaps I’ll read something of his in my free time, although I must confess I really struggle with online “books” … to me a book needs pages that I can actually turn and even earmark if I choose to. Still, if it’s the only way to read someone I guess it’ll do!)