… but not really “pretty”. If you know what I mean.

Now when they get a computer to make a good oboe reed I’ll be mightily impressed.

Of course if they got a computer to play an oboe I’d be somewhat impressed as well. 😉

30. June 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

I had to wear trousers, learn to tie a bow tie, and pin my hair up so short that it looked as if I didn’t’t have any hair…..but the orchestra did not have an oboist and I was their only hope at the time……which lasted for years! As a matter of fact, on the set of “Gone with the Wind”, there were 50 musicians…and only 3 were women….one of which was me!! I signed my first contract when I was 19 years old.

-Liliane Covington


If Kimberly Preiss has her way, she’ll never have to work a day in her life.

“I never want to have a job,” said the 18-year-old Niceville resident.

Although the budding oboist spends countless hours practicing and cultivating her craft, Preiss doesn’t consider playing music a job.

Well, yes. Ms. Preiss isn’t the only one who doesn’t think what we do is a job.

They also think we should do it for free and have a “real job”.

I understand how she feels, but what we do is work. Honest. Just because we enjoy it (most of the time), and because we use the verb “play”, so many think we aren’t working. We are just goofing off. Having fun.

Oh well. This will always be a problem.

I wonder … if someone monitored us during a performance — if we were hooked up to something that would be scanning (?) our brains and monitored our heart rate — would a reader of that information know we were just goofing off? Would what is read look like a person at play or a person at work? I really do wonder about that. Has this been done? Anyone know?

(I found the article here. Video.)

I have been a subscriber to the National Symphony Orchestra for more than 10 years, and I’ve been going to many other performances at the Kennedy Center ever since coming to Washington 44 years ago. But I am not going to renew our NSO subscription this year.

So what would cause you to stop attending symphony concerts? Huh? Do tell!

Answer here.

29. June 2008 · Comments Off on Adagio for Strings Winds · Categories: Ramble

I was rather skeptical, but I do like this arrangement. Sounds like a challenge, though.

28. June 2008 · 3 comments · Categories: Ramble

Maybe I’ll comment later … I have to teach soon so I can’t now. Or maybe I’ll just leave it here (more likely).


“If you have a deceptive cadence be sure to raise your eyebrows. Then everybody will know.”

A personal peeve is the ridiculously high horn writing in almost all of the finalists’ scores. But who is to blame them? A computerized horn can hit a hundred high Cs over the course of ten minutes without blinking. But I definitely wouldn’t want to be in the room when the fourth horn player in the LSO attempts the same.

I read this over at Lawrence Dillon’s site. I’ve heard horn players mention this. Computerized oboes can hit low notes with a perfect pianissimo too. (I just stuff my swab in my oboe unless the note is a low B-flat or B.) I’m so weary of these composers who think we can do what a computer can do. But I do tell students who end up playing these things to just do their best without stressing too much; the composers will quickly learn. I hope.

28. June 2008 · Comments Off on What If? · Categories: Links, Ramble

The music lowered the patients’ blood pressure and heart and respiratory rates before any sedation or pain medication, according to a paper in the Medscape Journal of Medicine, a Web resource for physicians of peer-reviewed medical journal articles.

Dr. Jorge Camara, a classically trained pianist and ophthalmologist, played music for patients before surgery as part of a study from May to August 2005 to demonstrate the medical benefits of music.

The classical and semi-classical pieces ranged from Debussy’s “Arabesque No. 1 in E Major” and Chopin’s “Etude in E Major, Op. 10 No. 3,” to “The More I See You,” by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon.

What if the pianist isn’t very good? Would better musicians find that they actually react negatively? I wonder. What if the patient doesn’t care for Debussy, Chopin or whoever the pianist chose to play? Can the patient request his or her favorite music?

And I don’t quite understand how “The More I See You” is a classical or semi-classical piece.

The symphony orchestra in the 21st century has become something of a dinosaur, and dinosaurs cannot be saved from extinction by external intervention. Orchestras are extremely expensive to maintain, and the present-day public is simply not going to support them monetarily.

I believe that the solution for both audience and musicians lies in, horrid as the term may sound, downsizing. A string quintet plus a woodwind quintet and a pianist/harpsichordist, augmented as necessary by one to four professional singers, is able to deliver thousands of works ranging from the early 17th century to the most outré modern compositions.

I read it here.

I have no words for this writer. Aside from “Get the heck outa music, please.”

27. June 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Links, Quotes

No, there aren’t any professional musicians in my family. My mother had me take piano lessons, and I’m very glad she did, but at the time it wasn’t exciting, practicing and all that. It’s a funny story about how I got started with oboe. In junior high my older brother was in band, and I started off on clarinet. At one point an oboe became available because the oboist graduated, and I thought I’d take it up. Since there was only one, I knew I would be first chair. It is a great instrument, but you spend a lot of time making reeds, more time doing that than actually practicing. It makes oboists a little crazy, not that opera singers are exactly sane.

-Eric Owens (read at the Opera Tatler site, here)