14. August 2008 · 1 comment · Categories: Ramble

It’s very rare that I get together with friends and just make music. Just to play. But today I did that. And what a wonderful time.

This, to me, is one thing I really love about music. You can just get together, make music, enjoy one another’s company, and have a great time. No stress. No performance anxiety or expectations. Just music.

We played John Marvin’s Music of the Night. At a slower tempo that written in places, but what a great work! I’d love to perform it sometime. We played “musical chairs” with this one. I began on English horn, moved to oboe 1, and then moved to oboe 2. After that we moved to a Wranitzky work, and ended with … oh goodness … I can’t even remember! Oh, yes, Powning. So three trios. And three very tired mouths by the end.

I’d love to work up some trios and perform them. I’ve never had the opportunity to do that. I’d like to do that at some point in my life.

I think, too, I need to get to work on oboe reeds. At some point in my life. 😉

14. August 2008 · 3 comments · Categories: Ramble

It’s rather humorous to watch the “conductors” (called “maestros” on these videos, but I don’t know that they quite qualify for that). The first thing I notice is … TEMPO! Mostly too slow. But of course there is so much more. Problems with elbows and gestures and then there’s some facial stuff going on that makes me wonder if they are trying to be witty.

Oh … and folks, don’t mouth the beats! If you have to count in your head, fine, but you look pretty darn goofy.

David Soul doing Bizet’s “Carmen” (No, not the whole thing. Whew!) Starting is always difficult, isn’t it? Tee hee. “It didn’t seem to me that you were doing much more than you would do in front of your hi-fi at your drawing room,” says Mr. Norrington.

Alex James conducting “The most rock and roll Carmen…”

Katie Derham again with that “Blue Danube” thing. The orchestra sure helped her out near the beginning. “You conduct with three parts of your body — your head, your hands and your hips.” “You’re too sexy for your orchestra.” “A little bit school mistressy.” Hmmm. Mixed messages?

Sue Perkins in “The Blue Danube” certainly looks like she’s enjoying herself. Those circular gestures would start to drive me bonkers, I think. “I thought you were conducting with your knees.” “A bit of the whirlpool going on, actually, here.” Yes.

Peter Snow in a very slow although not completely tempo-constant Romeo & Juliet (Prokofiev)

Bradley Walsh again with the R&J work. Much better tempo at first. Then everything slowed down. “I lost the pattern quite a few times and my mentor told me to just keep pumping away.” Yes. Right. “I found it very charming somehow.” “You did as good as you could possibly do.” (I’m going to remember this last one. Handy!)

Jane Asher in a stiff rendition Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King” (but then I’m not that thrilled with that work anyway). And what to do with that unnecessary extra arm/hand? (And “Orchestral musicians don’t get beautiful ladies very often” … or something like that.)

Goldie (not Hawn) in another “Hall of the Mountain King” with a bit more life, and no baton. He uses both arms. Lots of finger movements too. I think the crowd liked him best, and Norrington seemed to like him a lot. Even if he allowed vibrato. (“The worst technique and it works but I don’t know why.” … I’ve seen that with some conductors I’ve worked with. I swear, it’s magic or something!)

It would be interesting to see (and hear) what these “maestros” would get from an orchestra if the orchestra was also seeing a work for the first time. Then less rescuing could go on, but I suspect it would be in shambles.

I wonder.

Anyway, long post. Maybe I should let this be the last blog entry for the day entry, eh? (Fat chance!)

14. August 2008 · Comments Off on Sweet Story · Categories: Links, Opera

I’m not an autograph fan sort of person. I’ve been blessed to be in a job where I get to see (and sometimes meet, but only rarely) some real fabulous and famous stars. But I’ve never asked for an autograph. Part of it is that I’m rather awkward and shy in front of people I don’t know. Part of it is that I don’t want to bother them. And I’m just not sure what I’d do with an autograph, either.

But I found this story to be quite sweet. (Oh how funny … I spelled “sweet” like “suite” at first. I’m not sure where that came from!) The story even includes our own Irene Dalis. Nice!

If you click on the link you’ll even see the autographs.

14. August 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Elgar without vibrato is the musical equivalent of dead roses

-Stephen Pollard