29. August 2007 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I was right when I fretted over the Lucia music. There were so many mistakes we wasted far too much time on incorrect markings. Sigh.

I hate wasting time.

I really wish OSJ would consider hiring a real music librarian. Someone who knows that when you purchase Kalmus parts there’s a LOT of correcting to do.

29. August 2007 · Comments Off on Well … THIS is Easy! · Categories: Ramble

How to Listen to Classical Music Critically


How to Begin to Play the Oboe

Double Hmmmm.

29. August 2007 · Comments Off on How Refreshing! · Categories: Links, Other People's Words

One musical topic I didn’t tackle along the way is the popular “Everything Was Better Once” story, which I have read elsewhere in many variations, almost all of them written in a tone of elegiac glee. Where Have All the Tenors Gone? Why Is There No New Beethoven? Record Companies Are Dying! Orchestras Are Dying! Audiences for Classical Music Are Graying! They’re Shrinking! They’re Dying, Too!

Some of this is true: Many audience members are graying, some of them are shrinking a bit and all of them eventually will die. The same could be said of Fantasy Baseball fans and hedge-fund billionaires, but we don’t obsessively fret over their demise. I’ve never been sure why the appetite for apocalyptic stories about classical music seems to be unquenchable. Maybe it’s that in populist America, we take pleasure in the thought that democratic culture can expunge an ancient tradition associated with the aristocratic.

-Justin Davidson (RTWT)

I certainly enjoyed what Mr. Davidson has to say. You might too.

29. August 2007 · Comments Off on Please … No Light Shows! · Categories: Links, Quotes

… well, unless it’s in the score.

I really hate the whole light show thing. It seems so … I dunno … contrived? Or like a big production.

I guess I should lighten up. After all, opera requires lighting. Same with ballet. But for a symphony or chamber concert I just want the music to speak for itself. I feel as if the lighting is supposed to be telling me something. And I don’t think the composers want that. Or maybe they do?

As somebody who grew up playing in bands as well as playing classical music, I’ve always railed against the rather boring way in which classical music is presented,” Talbot says. “I had a long time to think about this when I played a concert of Mozart’s Idomineo once and my heart almost stopped from boredom and I nearly sank into a coma. I just thought, there’s got to be a way that you can present music in the concert hall in a way that can engage on something other than just a sonic level.

“It’s the most obvious thing in the world from playing in bands that people pay their money and expect some kind of light show and dialogue to go on between the audience and performers, and that it will be some kind of event that’ll take them out of their everyday lives, does something with their heads and takes them out the other side.


What do the composers who read this blog think? Would you mind if a light show was added to your work? Does it matter?

29. August 2007 · Comments Off on One Of My Faves · Categories: Ramble

… from Opera San José:

And finally, there was the one voice sure to be heard soon in major opera houses (or at least those headed by wise intendants). Kirk Eichelberger as Colline, displayed a majestic bass, deep and broad, with brilliant colors and thrilling power.

I have always loved Kirk’s voice. And his presence on stage … back in the Montgomery Theater days, when I could actually see him, anyway. And I’m delighted to read the above paragraph in a review of a new opera company’s La Bohème.

29. August 2007 · Comments Off on Does It Matter? · Categories: Ramble

… or maybe When Does It Matter?

I just watched and listened to a YouTube video of some group that uses a small chamber type orchestra. There are strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. The oboist plays both oboe and English horn—not great, playing, but whatever. The parts are rather silly—NearlyNothingMusic™. And the intonation in the group is far from stellar.

But the song works for me.

So I’m wondering when things like tone and intonation matter, and why, with what I’m assuming is some sort of pop group, I really don’t care all that much.

The lead singer is darn cute. That kind of pasty, skinny looking cute, really. The kind some women would find “weak” but which some of us find attractive (although not in real life … funny how that works!). The song is depressing. (Ah yes, depressing can be so enjoyable. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.) I’ve looked up the group and it appears they are very familiar with “classical” music. (ARGH! Can’t we think of a better term? I sure wish so. Hmmm. If I’m calling them “popular” maybe what I do should be called “unpopular”… ? 😉

I’m just puzzling over my reaction.

And no, I’m not going to name the group because to do so might identify the oboist and since I just said the player wasn’t great I just don’t want to go there.

29. August 2007 · Comments Off on Heigh-ho, heigh ho! · Categories: Ramble

So I’m back to work today. The orchestra rehearsal (the one and only; all the rest are with singers) for Opera San José’s opening opera, Lucia di Lammermoor is this afternoon. I’m very happy to be getting back to work. A little apprehensive as well. Aside from the brief set I had with Merola, I’ve not played in a group since the Symphony Silicon Valley video game concert. That’s a long time ago now, and it was exactly a challenging bit of work, nor was it a “real” orchestra experience when it comes to playing. That concert was back in May. Merola ended on July 15, and I played the rather insignificant second oboe book on that.

I have to get my sea legs back. Or my A legs. Or some such thing.