So the recital is over. And I’m pleased with how I played. Really. Saying that is, for me, one huge deal. But I had fun, and I do believe I played well. I felt as if I was making music … and that is the #1 most important thing of all, yes? (I don’t mean “making music” as in “I played the right notes and rhythms” but in the being expressive and shaping things and all that jazz.)

Our audience wasn’t huge, but it was better than sometimes and seemed appreciative. I saw one former student there (Hi Sara!) but if any of my current UCSC students were there they left before I got up to the reception. Hmmm. I do hope they showed up. I’m a bit befuddled by students who want to study and play oboe, but don’t bother to hear their teacher perform. I’m really hoping I just missed them!

Anyway, now that it’s over I’m somewhat sad; the two works we played were so enjoyable to both play and hear. I will miss them.

Thanks, Becky, for the email. I’m so happy to hear that one of my students was able to attend. 🙂

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on My Attitude · Categories: Ramble

… needs adjustment. And I know it. But there you go.

I’m not going to post something twice, so if you want to see “where I’m at” at the moment, just go here.

Nerves are a rotten thing.


I just read this: “Getting young children started on music is a great way for them to have fun and develop early mathematical skills.”

I was never good at math. I have frequently read statements similar to the one above, and I don’t get it; some of my “math whiz” oboe students couldn’t count (and had no sense of rhythm) to save their lives! Others, who tell me math is their worst subject, are wonderful at rhythm, and counting is no issue at all.

So I’m puzzled. Which is pretty typical. But there you go.

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on Is It Live · Categories: Links, Ramble

… or is it “sort of live but not quite but it will sound stunning”?

The oboist’s query
He drops by the control room after the performance to consult with Neubronner. The night before, Bennett’s first note in a key solo had been a mite flat. He wants to know how it came through tonight. Neubronner hesitates; he doesn’t like to criticize performers immediately after a performance (it’s when they are “most vulnerable,” he told me earlier). But, pressed by Bennett, he concedes the note was a little sharp.
Bennett is OK with this; he had wondered and needs to know. Because in this high-level performance world, the idea of realizing the score, even for an instrumentalist of Bennett’s stature, is an ideal that’s hard to reach and a matter of subjective judgment.
“Subjectively, there’s no way you can know how well you played,” he tells me a few minutes later. “Like last night, I felt really great after the concert, and I didn’t talk to Michael” – Tilson Thomas – “because I didn’t want to burst that bubble in any way.” (RTWT)

Richard Sheinin has been doing a series in the Merc about the live recording sessions of SF Symphony’s Das Lied. It’s been quite interesting.

Live performances aren’t exactly what some might think these days. There is a lot of “cutting and pasting” so to speak. What they are striving for is the “perfect live performance”. Of course hearing recordings one hears all the little problems that don’t come out as strongly in a concert hall, or don’t really matter in the concert hall as they might on a recording. (I suppose it’s kind of like Dan’s pictures; what he puts together is what he—Dan, correct me if I’m wrong—sees in his mind’s eye … what he remembers to be the truth of it all. It’s not dishonest, but it’s not just a quick print from a photo either.) I’m sure some will disagree with me. But that’s not unusual, is it? 🙂

Anyway, read the articles and you’ll get a glimpse into the recording studio of the SFS.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Esoteric as it may seem, the supposed fraud shows up the flaws of a classical blogosphere that trades in unchecked trivia. Classical blogs are spreading but their nutritional value is lower than a bag of crisps. Unlike financial blogs, which yield powerful and profitable secrets, classical web-chat is opinion-rich and info-poor. Until bloggers deliver hard facts and estate agents turn into credible critics, paid-for newspapers will continue to set the standard as only show in town.

-Norman Lebrecht

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on Great Response! · Categories: Links, Read!

Before the performance, Lady Macbeth had been interviewed by the local radio station about the forthcoming production. The interviewer had said words to the effect “Isn’t it rather presumptuous for an amateur company to be putting on Verdi’s Macbeth?” In answer, Marion just opened her mouth and sang. The interviewer was silenced. (RTWT)

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on Big Diff! · Categories: Links, Photos

… and I MEAN that. There is a big difference between a bassoon and an oboe. But I guess not everyone knows that!

Many thanks to Guanaco (from Cellomania) for the picture.

(The guy in the pink is particularly stunning, don’t you think?)

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on Pulp Fiction · Categories: Links

The book is pulped.

Kinda makes you wish you had a copy, doesn’t it?

Or maybe not.

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on I’m Fine With Hooting and Hollering · Categories: Links, Ramble

Jason Gresl once attended a youth concert in a school where the superintendent asked the students beforehand how they would applaud at a sporting event.

“They hooted and hollered,” he says. “Then he said, ‘How would you applaud at a symphony concert?’ They gave that polite golf clap.”

Enter Gresl in his role as the education programs coordinator for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. He wants children to give more than a “golf clap” when they hear classical music, and he wants them to become performers, too. (a href=””>RTWT)

I remember when there used to be a speech before our opera open dress rehearsals that students could attend. Someone would tell the children that they couldn’t whistle or go crazy like they do for other events, but that they could say bravo, brava and bravi. The speaker explained how to use each of those, having the children repeat after her, “bra” (they’d giggle and say “bra”) and then “vi”. (Or “vo” or “va”.) As far as I was concerned we’d just told the kids not to have fun. It always mad me sort of sad.

I say hoot. Holler. Cheer. Whatever works for you.

28. October 2007 · Comments Off on Determination · Categories: Links, Ramble

The remarkable oboist Alex Klein, who grew up in a small Brazilian town with limited musical possibilities, attended an orchestra concert as a little kid and heard the oboe; he pointed to the instrument and said, “I want to play that one,” and was motivated enough to travel a seven-hour bus ride to his lessons.

And I have parents who say that a fifteen minute drive to my home is too far!

The article “How to give your child a lifelong interest in music” might interest some of you.

Questions I might add: Ask about the cost of choosing the instrument you’re considering. Does the instrument itself cost a lot? Does it lose value (in case you decide to sell)? Will it need replacing and, if so, when? With a reed instrument, how long do reeds last? What do they cost? You might also ask about the frustration level of the instrument. Some instruments (piano, for instance) at least provide sound no matter what. For some, playing oboe takes a bit of time to get a sound at all, and longer to get a decent sound.

Just some other things to think about.