Next year I am required to perform in a recital at UCSC. I’m fine with that. I’d be happy to be in one every year, in fact. I like playing chamber music, and recitals keep me working. Hard.

But planning? Ugh. I absolutely hate planning!

To begin with some of the adjunct faculty decided we’d try to do a WWQ. Now WWQs are not my favorite things … I love brass quintets and I love string quartets and quintets, but I think the timbre variety and problems with balance just turn most WWQ music into a big messy problem. But still, it would just be fun to work with my colleagues and, besides, I just want to get things going.

We were given four recital dates from which to choose. All Saturday evenings. Yikes! Out of the five of us, we play in at least six different orchestras. Why are they offering only Saturdays now? Last time it was Sunday evenings, and while it was a stretch for us to play an afternoon performance and race to a recital, it was at more doable than this. But eventually I did think we actually found a Saturday night that worked. We would be able to join in on a joint faculty recital. All American composers. Cool.


Too easy, too. I knew it would have to be more difficult than that!

Turns out two players (bassoon and horn) have gigs.

So now we have to figure out where to go from here. We have flute, oboe and clarinet. We can add outside players for bassoon and horn, but finding money to pay them might be a problem. We could do a trio, but one of us says, “The hall is too large for a trio!” We could add bassoon only, which might make it easier, but of course that limits music choices.

OR … we could change things a bit and do something for flute, oboe, clarinet and … and what?! Anyone want to offer up suggestions? Anyone want to write some works for us? I’ll even take WWQ advice, since we very well might go that direction. Also on the program are violin and piano. (I wondered about the Stravinsky* Pastorale arrangement, but that doesn’t use flute and does use bassoon. Rats. It also uses English horn as well as oboe, but I know someone who would probably be willing to join in the fun, so I wouldn’t have worried about that.)

Thoughts? Anyone? Anyone?

*Yeah, I was turning Stravinsky into an American composer. He died here, so I think I’m allowed. Sort of.


  1. One fun piece for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano is Saint-Saens’ Caprice sur des Airs Danoise et Russes, op. 79. LOVE that piece…though I’ve never played it.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Ah … I’ll have to check that work out! For this recital, though, we need American composers.


  3. If you’re thinking of a large-scale sort of piece, you might take a look at my transcription of the Bach Goldberg Variations, for standard WWQ (you get some juicy solo oboe work in #7 and #25!).   It’s viewable (and hearable in a very funky, synthetic sort  of way) on — and it’s awaiting a premier! 

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    It would be fun to give that a go, but I think the group is looking for something other than a transcription. But thanks for the suggestion!

  5. why not grab a piano faculty and do an oboe flute piano recital or an oboe bassoon piano recital?           

  6. Oh…kind of skipped that part of the blog post…my mind must be elsewhere! Hmmm…wonder where?

    I’ll think on the music…

  7. Patricia Mitchell

    Well, I keep thinking of composers (came up with Arnold for a trio) and only later do I get back to the “Oh yeah, American composers only!”

    At least YOU have an excuse, Jillian. (And I wish you ALL the best!)

  8. Patricia Mitchell

    Well, I have several reasons, two of which I’ll write about here. I actually prefer slightly larger groups, I want to do just one piece if I can manage that (I’m just so darn busy with all the other groups!).

  9. If you have solid musicians you could do summer music. Love Barber!  

  10. Or, the Partita by Irvine Fine….

    say!  you could pair that with something by D’Indy… then your program would be Fine ‘n D’Indy!