24. October 2007 · Comments Off on Typos Can Be So Much Fun · Categories: Links

In his small space, he has a gauger that set him back $1,000. It’s a specialized planer complete with dials and measuring tools to plane the reeds to 0.6 millimeters thick. He purchases the bamboo reeds – the size of a ballpoint pen – from a craftsman in Paris.


He became a musician partially because his parents loved music. “Even in Sabinal, a small Texas town of 1,500 people, I enjoyed ‘Rite of Spring’ by Starvinsky. It had an oboe in it, as does ‘Peter and the Wolf.’ I began playing in the high school band.”

FYI: gauger should be gouger. I hope you know that Starvinsky should be Stravinksy. 🙂

(Found here, in an article about oboist and reed maker Kerry Willingham.)

24. October 2007 · Comments Off on How Pathetic AM I? · Categories: Links, Ramble

Do tell! Because I just read this:

Simply put, Steven Stucky ranks among America’s greatest living composers, the proof of which is to be found almost everywhere one looks in the classical field.

And I don’t know his music at all. Not one piece!

The name did ring a very faint bell. I had just read about a piece of his being played by Los Angeles Phil. (Oh, and as to that orchestra … wish I could hear all that Sibelius!)

So we’ve not played any Stucky here in San José as far as I know. I see, though, that I could get some of his music from emusic.com, so perhaps I should download something.


I just received an email from The New Republic. It begins with “Hey”.

Now I say “hey” a lot. I greet my kids and students with a “hey” now and then. I don’t mind if people I know greet me that way either. But when someone who doesn’t have a clue who I am greets me with “hey” I’m put off. Go figure. Then the email continues to … well … it pushes my buttons I guess.
Here’s what I received:


I think you and your readers at oboe insight will like this piece we just published, by Richard Taruskin: It’s a provocative argument that the dire situation in which classical music finds itself is being made even more dire by the sentimentality and unreality of some of the music’s most ardent defenders. Here’s a link: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=f3839c75-3724-4154-adc4-e0638e30448a

Barron YoungSmith
The New Republic

Am I silly to be bugged? Oh probably. But, you know … well … my iron is low. I’m very sensitive these days! 😉

I haven’t read the article yet, and I’ve never read The New Republic (for some reason the name even bugs me!). But that email just rubbed me the wrong way.

And yes, I’ve done exactly what they wanted by giving them this publicity. Even negative publicity is publicity, right? See how nice I am? (Yeah, that’s it. That’s the extent of my niceness.)

I guess I have to go read the article now, even though I’m bugged. Just watch, I’ll probably love it.

Oh … and “dire situation” … how much longer must we hear this?

PS Go ahead and email me with a “hey”. Really. Now that I’ve said it bugs me it probably won’t any more. I’m weird that way.

Due to dinner, a ball game, a symphony rehearsal in an hour, and a muddled mind, I don’t have time or energy to read the article right now, but I did have time to skim. I really liked one of the final paragraphs, pasted below, so I suspect I will also enjoy the rest of the article. So … well … “hey” … 😉

As a team of Texas researchers have recently announced, there are exactly 237 known reasons why people have sex. There are at least as many reasons why they listen to classical music, of which to sit in solemn silence on a dull dark dock is only one. There will always be social reasons as well as purely aesthetic ones, and thank God for that. There will always be people who make money from it–and why not?–as well as those who starve for the love of it. Classical music is not dying; it is changing. (My favorite example right now is Gabriel Prokofiev, the British-born grandson of the Russian composer, who studied electronic music in school, has headed a successful disco-punk band, and is now writing string quartets.) Change can be opposed, and it can be slowed down, but it cannot be stopped. All three of our authors seem reluctant to acknowledge this ineluctable fact. But change is not always loss, and realizing this should not threaten but console.


24. October 2007 · Comments Off on Law & Order · Categories: Quotes

Scott Wilder: Nobody appreciates the oboe.

Lenny Briscoe: It’s an ill wind no one blows good, right?

Scott: Name one famous oboist.

I landed here, and got a kick out of a lot of what I read. I’m not really totally clued into what yelp is about, but I guess anyone can write about whatever there and get reviews, advice, and whatnot in one’s own city…? I landed on the first link above because of my San Francisco Symphony news feed. You’ll find some fun comments, some interesting ones, some puzzling, and a ton of typos. Here are just a few:

It is not a requirement that you dress up attending the symphony (it says so on it’s website), business causual is fine if you are getting off work.

my first symphony last week was the ADDream.

I have no idea what I just saw and heard. I think it was Lizst and Beethoven and Prokofiev… But gosh, was it good. And the people who performed it were amazing. It’s safe to say I was blown away.

Playing Paul McCartney’s “Classical” music would be unforgivable if they did not do so many great performances of of so much music.
For a major orchestra they do tons of new music.
Personally, I like hearing the classics just as much and while I love new music, a city orchestra’s job is still to play classical music, which they do extremely well.

So … you might want to just check it out. The comments are definitely entertaining. I think it’s great for us old and jaded folks to read it to see what those who are new to they symphony scene think, what they see and hear, and how they react.

24. October 2007 · Comments Off on We Really Can Smile · Categories: Ramble, San Francisco Symphony

I was just looking at San Francisco Symphony’s website because I wanted to see what’s up with the Queen performing there on November 25. (Didn’t find anything, and yet I have a press release.) And I noticed that two of the three artists on the home page look so darn serious. And then there’s Gustavo Dudamel. He looks happy. And relaxed. I think I like him.

It’s a funny thing, the publicity photo. And it’s not just the “classical” folk. For some reason an “artiste” doesn’t smile. Oh no. We are serious about what we do. Or we just look terribly terribly sad. Or sometimes like we are more about getting someone into bed than the concert hall. Same with models, of course. Have you ever looked at a model for a good long time? Would you want to be that morose? I dunno … I’m not sure I’d want some of these people to be my friends. They all look as if they need therapy. Of course then there’s yours truly; I just smile and wield sharp knives! 🙂


But really … I love doing what I do (yes, including the whining) and I see no reason to look so darn serious or forlorn. Don’t we want people to think that this is an enjoyable thing? Sure, we like our miserable moments in music … who doesn’t want to fall to the floor weeping on occasion because of the wonder of the music? … but still.

I’m just sayin’ ….