29. May 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

I am afraid the opera will be banned, unless a poor performance turns it all into a joke. Only mediocre performances can save me! Really good ones would drive people mad.

-Wagner (on Tristan und Isolde)


28. May 2007 · Comments Off on More Confirmation · Categories: imported, Ramble

Jeremy Denk just announced a switch. To what? Well, to WordPress. Here’s his new site.

It’s a sign, I tell ya!

28. May 2007 · Comments Off on Quick Note … · Categories: imported, Ramble

Someone landed here because of a google image search.

What I really want to know is where can I get this music?! I mean … how fun would it be to have this work that includes a picture painted by my daughter of my very own hands, huh?

28. May 2007 · Comments Off on An Email · Categories: imported, Ramble

Kenneth Woods just wrote a most gracious email to me. How cool is that? ALMOST as cool as being described (if you’re a man, of course) as “a younger, dark-haired William Hurt, only not as depressed.” (This description of Ken appeared in the Oregonian blogged about earlier today. You know the blog entry; the one where I once again show that I don’t read things through very carefully!)

Okay … off to teach. I’ll be more attentive teaching than I was reading. I promise.

28. May 2007 · Comments Off on My Alma Mater · Categories: imported, Videos

I attended Lynbrook High School in San Jose, but it was quite some time ago. (I graduated in 1974.) When I was there we were well known for our band. We had three bands, and there was no doubt which was the top, as the bands were named “A”, “B” and “C”. “A” band was a very strong group, and all the bands had a very demanding and, dare I say it, often abusive conductor. Oh, but did he ever get us to play well! Making girls cry and throwing boys up against a wall can do that I guess. Or at least it did back then! But fear and intimidation is no longer in style (thank goodness!), and I doubt the current director would get away with the things my director did. Nor would he even try, I’m sure.

When I was there, though, we didn’t have a full orchestra. The strings were few and far between. That’s certainly changed! I am currently watching this. It’s quite impressive. A junior from the school is playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the school’s orchestra. The soloist is soon to be leaving for Curtis. Not bad!

(To continue with the concerto you have to go to part two and part three.)

I’ll have to ask my student, Nicole, if she was involved in this concert. I’m assuming so. Nicole, are you reading this? I do know it must be you on English horn playing in the band video … at least that looks like you when he acknowledges the English horn. I sure wish I could have been there. Rats.

Anyway, what fun to locate these videos! Too bad classical music is dead, eh? 😉

28. May 2007 · Comments Off on I Knew It Would Be Up Somewhere · Categories: imported, Videos

… and maybe we’ll see more as time goes on. The Play! show that took place during the San José Fanimecon, is now up at YouTube. Just one tune … in case you’e interested. Not a great video, to say the least, (bad visually, sound is awful) but it might give you an idea of what we were doing. I think other tunes would have been better choices, really. (This kind of sounds like something a marching band might use for a show…?)

The video screen sometimes showed clips of the game, sometimes showed us. (In this instance I’m only seeing the orchestra—I’d heard they were having trouble finding some of the video clips.) The principal oboist was suggesting that a huge screen would be great for kiddie shows; rather than seeing the conductor only from the back, they could see what she or he does. And hey, maybe then we wouldn’t get any sour looks, eh?! 😉 Not that a conductor would EVER do that.

28. May 2007 · Comments Off on Good Article · Categories: imported, Ramble

In other words, Pendleton’s orchestra gives even career musicians the meaning and passion that they miss elsewhere. They don’t do it for the money: Pay ranges from volunteer to $50 per service (rehearsals and the concert), with up to $75 travel reimbursement. The Oregon Symphony pays freelancers $170 per service.

Okay … that’s more than I make here in Symphony Silicon Valley! Quite a bit more. I only get “side pay”, as I’m not a principal player (in some orchestras the English horn player is considered a principal player, but in SSV I’m not even listed as the EH player, although I do play it when it’s called for). So why is the writer of this article about the Oregon East Symphony implying that the freelancers don’t do it for the money? Hmmm. Maybe they are paying their principal players that amount. Maybe the article just isn’t being clear. I wonder.

Update: Well DUH … the $170 is for the Oregon Symphony, not for the Oregon East Symphony. I can be so dumb sometimes.

—Insert pause here while readers laugh.—

Okay, okay … I can be so dumb all the time!

But anyway, the article itself is a good read. They symphony suffered a fire that took their music and much more. Kenneth Woods is the conductor, and you can read his blog by following my link.

Oh .. wait … there IS this: Saturday, the day before the concert, is crunch time. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Woods drills the woodwinds, brass and strings on notes and style in separate sectional rehearsals. That night, he takes them through the entire symphony one last run time. They grind out each movement.

Um … maybe that pay mentioned above is for an 8 hour service? Yikes! Now that would not be such a great thing.

(Side note: some folks see our “service pay” and think we earn so much more than they do. Keep in mind we supply our own equipment—have you checked the price of instruments lately?—we practice on our own time, and, at least for me, there’s no vacation pay, no substantial sick leave, and no benefits … I’m not complainin’, I’m just sayin’ ….)

Today is “figure out the rest of my life summer, since I know I’m going to feel a bit lost without any playing jobs. I did get my hopes up, thinking maybe we actually had a July 3 gig, but turns out the Mercury News was printing up something we did several years ago. Whoa. Get your act together, Merc!

Maybe I’ll even get my house cleaned up completely …? (Note that I’m NOT mentioning my yard here!)

27. May 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Un dramma! Bella cosa! Sarà al solito un

dramma semi-serio, un lungo, malinconico,
noioso, poetico strambotto.

Barbaro gusto! secolo corrotto!

An opera! Fine thing! As usual it will be a
semi-serious play, a long, melancholy,

boring, poetic rigmarole. In the worst taste!
What a corrupt age!


27. May 2007 · Comments Off on And So It Continues · Categories: imported, Ramble

The Giants just finished losing their third game in a row (the third time is so often not the charm). No one is home, I’ve had a bit of a nap (ball games can do that to me sometimes) and I’m pretty much unemployed with no urgent music to practice (sure, reeds would be a good idea … but we won’t go there, will we?). So I was busy being lazy while semi-moping here in the family room. Doing a bit of TV hopping, too lazy to even see what is on, I only haphazardly land on a local PBS station to find that the overture to The Barber of Seville has already begun. Wouldn’t you know it? I really need to check the Great Performances schedule more frequently. Ah well. At least I’ll see the rest of the Met broadcast.

I love this opera, and hearing it again brings back fun memories. It’s such a joy to play and hear.

Funny, but this morning was the first time I’d heard Juan Diego Flórez sing at all, in this video. (Would you have recognized Pavarotti? I sure didn’t!)

Update Wow! The aria with the very fast tonguing for first oboe is slower than we’ve taken it. I’d not have to worry about this tempo at all. Amazing!

I’m really enjoying the opera. 🙂

27. May 2007 · Comments Off on Whew · Categories: imported, Ramble

I didn’t get to sleep unti well after midnight. In my younger days (that was last year … oh … wait … longer …) and I slept until 8:00. Lazy me! And I’m still tired.

I didn’t realize how tiring playing the FanimeCon concert would be. It certainly wasn’t difficult. Lots of notes (and the one big tune did have some nearly unplayable stuff), but really it was not a big deal and I was almost unnecessary. I hate being unnecessary. I had a double, and yet the English horn wasn’t used for much of anything important. Weird.

It was a kick watching the big screen above us. We saw things from the back, so everything was backwards which meant the principal flute (she got a good amount of play time) looked like she was doing everything backwards. It was especially fun when the video games kicked in. I don’t really see much difference between most of them. Maybe that’s why most of the music sounds much the same too.

Much of the music is “sounds like” music, if you know what I mean. One work was odd, in that it gave no key signature through the entire thing. It was IN keys, mind you, but the composers (there were two of them—it was the “big new work” of the evening) just put in accidentals throughout. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. Is this the new way of writing music? Kind of like all the younger writers I’ve seen online who leave out capital letters and type “the” as “teh”? I don’t see that it’s a time saver in the long run; it seems much easier on the brain to have key signatures than to read accidental after accidental.

Anyway, I wouldn’t call it the big high of the season, but I still find it a kick to see these kids and grown, even grey-haired people getting jazzed over the concert. We never get as much cheering in the real world of symphony music! Besides, the costumes were fun. (I only wish I’d managed to give some of the people my card so they could see themselves here; they might have had fun with that. Or not.)

And now I’m nearly unemployed; the schools end soon and of course the opera and symphony seasons are over. If I didn’t teach privately, I’d be eligible for unemployment. Not that I’d file for it. (Seems to me it’s for those who really are desperately unemployed and if I had to get a job I’m sure I could.) I’m so thankful for my students, though!