I just landed at someone’s blog due to an oboe reference. It includes this:

Ms. Barbara Orland, the oboist, introduced us to her instrument, and the trials of double reeds. She explained how reeds must be handmade and tailored to the individual’s embouchure; how they have to be premoistened, which is why you’ll see the double reeds onstage early with their little vials of water, soaking reeds; and she demonstrated the difference between a good reed and a wearing-out reed.

She had with her some cane from which reeds are made, and she showed us what it looked like, saying that it comes from France and no one has had success growing it in the U.S. But then she stopped and said it might just be the pretensions of musicians who believe they have to have FRENCH cane!

(Read here)

I do know of someone who was harvesting cane from the Sacramento Delta (I was a bit leery of anything growing there … how do we know if that water is okay … but then how do we know about any cane, eh?). I also know some folks are buying cane from somewhere in South America. (Now I can’t remember where, though.) So I do think some oboists are a bit more adventurous.

Anyway, the blog entry was interesting; Ms. Orlund, assistant principal of Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, does underwater photography and played Britten’s Six Metamorphosis after Ovid while the pictures were showing. (She renamed the movements.) I would have liked to have attended!


  1. I read somewhere that Arundo Donax is considered an invasive species in the US and isn’t supposed to be grown here….. not to say that it isn’t. I guess like any other bamboo, once it gets established it’s really hard to contain.

  2. I’m guessing arundo donax is invasive anywhere it grows! Good old bamboo. But it’s definitely here in the Sacramento area. I even got a few pieces from Neil Tatman, back when he lived in California and subbed with San Jose Symphony (RIP). I can’t remember what became of the cane, though. (I think I was in the middle of the muddle of raising children. At least I’ll use that as my excuse now.)