24. August 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Quotes

The Met Opera comes to the movies with a series of films starting with the release of Hansel and Gretel. The opera opened with a solo from the oboist- lips pursed, eyes bulging, sinewy neck, rivalling the most highly of strung turkeys. I was captivated from the outset.

-Catherine Pittams (read here)


  1. I think I’ve mentioned the time I was watching the oboist play a solo (I had rests) during, I think, the overture of something or other (don’t want to get too specific). I was mesmerized – the playing was wonderful, but I was half-afraid something was going to burst (I could see veins popping out and it seemed that every muscle was tensed). And yet, even hearing about the back-pressure (and how it makes oboists crazy) I have still pursued it…of course, now I realize that it’s the #%&!*$@)*(! reeds that make oboe players crazy. And maybe the back pressure as well…on horn it’s “where can I suck in a breath?”, on oboe it’s “where can I let all this air out?”.

  2. Some people look more that way than others. I’m not sure if it’s the way we approach the instrument, or if it’s just the way some are made. I’ve seen oboists turn bright red, while others don’t.

    I certainly don’t like people taking pictures of me while I’m playing!

    But yes, reeds are the big issue, the problem, the curse, the pain … although I realize some of the greats say that they shouldn’t be at all. Riiiiiight.