30. September 2007 · Comments Off on Captain Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg · Categories: Quotes

You have all the freedom on the world on the holodeck.

-Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

I’m guessing she’d love that captain title I just gave her, eh? I always get a kick out of reading what famous musicians enjoy outside of the music thing.


30. September 2007 · Comments Off on I’d Stick Around · Categories: Ramble, Read!, You Gotta Be Kidding

So here’s a problem for an opera company: Lead singer gets sick. The cover can’t sing that night. Major phoning goes on. Singer located. New singer arrives after a messy bit of travel woes. New singer finds out that the version is different than he thought. He can sing some of it in German. Some in French. Some not at all. Conductor covers what singer can’t sing. Singer sings rest. All is acted by a different person entirely.

This is all just too good … I’d certainly not ask for a refund!

Is it true? Guess so.

30. September 2007 · Comments Off on And Now For the “Hangover” · Categories: Ramble

Yeah. The concert is over. That’s it. All that work, and then … there’s just this hollow feeling. When rehearsing—especially with a difficult program like the one we just finished—there’s a part of me just aching to be done. When I’m done I’m aching to be playing it just one more time. Go figure. I guess I’m never happy eh?

But … and here I’m going to be so bold as to say this … I played well! I am always ready to critique my work fairly harshly. But saying I did something well is difficult for me. But this concert (especially today’s) was pretty darn difficult and yet I think I did a good job.

Okay. Enough bragging. I’m not good with that. 🙂

Now I’m going to be suffering the performer’s hangover. With no concerts for a few weeks I am hoping it doesn’t linger too long.

30. September 2007 · Comments Off on I Haven’t Listened Yet … · Categories: Listen

but if you go here you can listen to podcasts with David Amram. Episodes 10 and 11 are the Amram ones.

I’ll be playing his new work in about 2 hours or so.

30. September 2007 · Comments Off on Well Gee … · Categories: Ramble

Boring NonOboeNews (NON, for short):

I wasn’t up at 2:00 AM!

I was only up at 3:30 AM.


Okay … enough whining about that. I did decide to turn my alarm clock off. I slept until Dan woke me at something like 9:30. So at least I slept. Just not when I wanted to.

Thinking …

I am realizing I’m somewhat nameless to many conductors. While one principal wind player is addressed by her first name, and another by his, I am “oboe”. I don’t know what it is about this, but it’s a frequent occurrence. I think I have a very unmemorable face. Because I’m rather introverted I don’t frequently yak with conductors. But I do wonder sometimes why I’m completely nameless. I just hope it has nothing to do with my playing! Will I ever know what it’s about? I suppose not. Maybe I need to start wearing a name tag … or at least a t-shirt that reads, “pattYOboe.” Don’t you think that would be kind of cute. Or something. Or not.

I dunno.

Okay. Never mind, then. I think I’ll rest up for another Concert of MegaNotes.

29. September 2007 · Comments Off on Home · Categories: Ramble

I got home about 30 minutes ago. After the concert there was a little shindig; it was opening night, after all.

About the Concert: I didn’t embarrass myself. I didn’t play absolutely perfectly. (Truthfully, there was only one thing that I think I was annoyed about that I did.) But I think there were some things I did pretty darn well. And for me to say that … well … that doesn’t happen often. I felt good. And I felt as if I was making music. This is what matters most to me.

I continue to enjoy and appreciate Maestro Polivnick. I especially loved his very clear cue to me in the Janacek; I had talked to him yesterday about one spot where I was just concerned about my entrance. There was no way I would miss it with his very clear cue. Whew!

The audience was quite enthusiastic. Especially after the Amram. I spoke to Mr. Amram at the party and thanked him for the lovely oboe solo in his work. It really is a fun solo to play, and just my sort of thing … lots of expression and all that jazz. Nice!

I won’t write more until after tomorrow’s concert. I don’t want to set myself up for bad “stuff” for tomorrow, I don’t want to clue any reviewers in to what was great and what wasn’t. And, besides, I’ve really got to get some rest (if that’s possible). I’m hoping to leave the alarm clock off and sleep for as long as my body will allow. Of course that may mean I’m up at 2 in the morning. Sigh.

This morning was spent teaching. Tonight will be spent performing. This afternoon is being spent taking it easy.

Sleeping is still not going well for yours truly. Not only am I experiencing RLS (restless leg syndrome) but now I feel as if someone is sticking pins in me.

Hmmm. Anyone has some doll in my likeness that you are hurting? Say what?

We had our dress rehearsal tonight. That’s a LOT of tough music to play, to be sure. And now I’m exhausted. So perhaps I’ll sleep tonight. I can hope … and perhaps I can dream, too. Last night was one horrendous night, so nothing will beat that one. (I had blood work done yesterday. It turns out that I have low iron and something is up with my thyroid and who knows what else, so I’m hoping these things will be fixed and my sleep will be better. It could happen, right?)

I love the Beethoven. There are moments that really hit my heart. There are places where I just want to weep. (Why, when I’m in this sort of mood, do I want to say “weep” rather than “cry”?) What an absolutely wonderful work the 6th is, and what a joy and honor to get to play it.

I have a significant solo in the Amram. It isn’t the juicy, schmaltzy, main theme solo I was looking forward to on English horn, but it’s really fun to play. (There’s just something about EH that makes things so … I dunno … rich, I guess.) But the solo I do have is my type of stuff, really. Later in the work there is some jazz, some caribbean style music, and klezmer. I really do think the audience will like it, but of course time will tell.

The Janacek has one lick in it that is … well … do I dare say impossible? Sure feels like it. No one can relax during the work; it’s just major challenge. The counting is tough. There are tricky entrances. I’ve yet to play it perfectly. And yes, I’m nervous about it.

Between the Beethoven, Janacek and Amram I have a lot of concentrating to do, a lot of notes to play, and several reeds to use. There’s just so much playing I can’t trust one reed for everything. So I’ve been a nearly good girl and made some reeds that work. Amazing.

I think the audience will really love this concert. I hope so. I think Maestro Paul Polivnick (who is, according to this, “A favoite with Symphony Silicon Valley audiences and musicians” … hmmm … what is a favoite?) is doing a great job, and this is a concert that is a challenge to put together in three days (four rehearsals). I wish I knew how my playing is coming across to the Maestro and listeners. (I get compliments from colleagues, but I’m sorry to say I just assume they are being nice to little old me.) The Maestro hasn’t said anything negative, but he’s not said anything positive either. So of course I assume the worst. I’m smart that way. Or maybe it’s because I’m going through one of my typical phases that is full of feelings of inadequacy. You’d think by this age, and after nearly 35 years of professional playing, I’d be more comfortable with my playing. Maybe next year.

Sometimes I’m such an Oboe Baby.

Baby Oboe

But anyway, the concert isn’t all about me, even if it sometimes looks that way considering how I blog. So if you are a local, do consider coming!

Need tickets?

27. September 2007 · Comments Off on No Comment · Categories: Other People's Words

Three of the four also are women, a fact that Larionoff finds purely coincidental.

“The concertmaster job is genderless,” she explains. “Gender has nothing to do with leadership.”

Larionoff says that Kavafian and she share another element besides the concertmaster chair: a passion for shopping.

“The Consumer Spending Index rose last week when Ani was here,” she jokes. “Nordstrom stock probably went up.”


27. September 2007 · Comments Off on Sharping · Categories: Ramble

It wasn’t until after the intermission that Alagna started reverting to a reoccurring issue that peppered Acts I-III: Sharping. Scattered through Act I, II, and III, he would at times rise-up to a sharp landing. By the second half, he was ####’ing all over tha ##ing place. Roberto Alagna? More like Al Sharpton. It was only during his duets with Netrebko that he was able to level-out and come back down to Gounod’s markings. The audience didn’t seem to mind, as his stage presence was charismatic and sprite, and he certainly won over his fans in Tiffany & Co. blue, well-tailored ensembles (tight pants & fitted jackets were favored). (a href=”http://operachic.typepad.com/opera_chic/2007/09/roberto-alagna-.html”>RTWT)

Ah yes … the whole sharp issue. When I get tired I sharp all over the place, too, and have to work constantly at not doing so. So an instrument and voice (not that a voice isn’t an instrument, mind you) both struggle with this. With oboe it has to do with tensing up, getting a tighter embouchure, biting … all that stuff we do when we tire out. I’m assuming the same thing happens with voice.

Poor us. We struggle so, yes?

Now some instruments can just pull out and fix this. Clarinets can lengthen their instrument by doing this at a joint. Oboes can’t.

We suffer. We suffer for our art. We suffer in silence. No?

Well, I should probably do some reeding. And no, that’s not a misspelling of “reading”. Duh. Ciao for now.