There is nothing like not knowing if a note is going to come out. There is nothing like having the note come out for a while and then stop. There is nothing like I am dealing with right now. Unless you’ve had oboe woes.

My colleague (thanks, Pam!) worked on the oboe while I played my other one during part of the opera. She played it during an intermission and said she could really understand why I was going crazy. It works. Then it doesn’t work. And the screws seem “wobbly” … not fitting quite like they should. It makes early retirement seem like the only option. Sigh.

Well, it all worked at home when I adjusted it. The only thing we can figure is that the darn cold air in the pit causes things to go awry. And I am very unhappy and now entirely freaked.

But I have a day and a half to work more on it. No time to drive to Napa, of course, but I’ll call tomorrow and see if I can do an emergency run some time next week. We’ll see.

Playing the other oboe wasn’t pleasant; the reeds that work so well on the misbehaving oboe don’t work the same in the other. (This isn’t all that uncommon. Yes, we really do have to fit our reeds to our oboes!)

Part of me wonders if my oboe is just fried and if it’s time to bite the bullet and look for a new one. Sigh and double sigh. (I really should always double sigh, shouldn’t I? Fitting of an oboe player?)

In any case, I two people came up to me to compliment my playing, one saying, “This music is meant for you!” So I guess what I did was okay out in the hall. Just scary as can be. And I don’t like scary.

It could be that it was more than the oboe — I’m quite willing to admit that my reeds aren’t always often stellar — but how in the world did the screw that holds the Ab key down (is that what that’s called … the thing that is on the middle joint that hangs over the small vent key right at the bottom of the top joint? It’s the screw this guy calls screw #5. *See below for another question about his page.) get turned about a half turn too tight? I do believe that was much of the issue from last night.

At least I’m hoping it was. Because that I can fix. And did.

*On Mr. Seaton’s pdf he calls what I think of as the low C key (you hit it for low C) the D key. Anyone know why this would be? I find it puzzling. Maybe it’s just mislabeled.

04. September 2008 · Comments Off on Huff Puff? · Categories: Links, Oboe Recital

Anyone in Clarion, Pennsylvania? I just found this announcement:

It’s always a pleasure to have a faculty recital presented on campus. The students, who see the faculty principally in the classroom or directing an ensemble, get a chance to hear them perform (I don’t think they count the number of mistakes made their teachers make, but you can never be sure!)

This Sunday, September 7 at 3:15 p.m. in the Marwick-Boyd Auditorium, Dr. Brent Register, professor of music and Assistant Director of the Clarion University Honors Program, will be presenting an oboe recital titled “Favorite (Huff) Oboe (Puff Puff) Concerti.” The premise or the recital is the recreation of a treasured oboe recording (on LP) that Dr. Register listened to frequently as while he was as a young oboist in middle and high school. Register states

“In my quest to discover more about the oboe, I went to a local department store and, lo and behold, there was an album…of oboe music. I can distinctly the cover. It was a cartoon figure of someone playig the oboe, with puffed cheeks, and had the title “Favorite (Huff) Oboe (Puff Puff) Concerti.”I have since learned the true sense of the huffing and puffing.”

The album – and this recital – includes the Concerto for Oboe in D. minor, Op. 9, No. 2 by Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751), the Concerto for Oboe in C minor by Alessandro Marcello (1684-1750), the Concerto for Oboe in G minor by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), and the Concerto for Oboe in C minor by Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801).

Assisting Dr. Register will be Brian Dunn, organ, Paula Amrod, piano, and Trina Gallup, bassoon.

The concert is free and open to the public. Contact the Department of Music at 814-393-2287 for more information.

I never feel as if I’m huffing and puffing, do you? But I do believe I have this same record somewhere in my stack of oboe records.

And I DO think students count their teacher’s mistakes. I think they love do hear us make mistakes. And I even had one student (many years ago, and a not-terribly-good oboist) come up to me and critique my playing, comparing it to what he did. Really. But he’s no longer playing. I am. So there.

I’m the average philistine at the opera who by the third act of Wagner’s ‘Siegfried’ is asleep. I’m not the greatest choice in the world for this, but I’m doing my best, and hopefully nobody will get hurt.

-Woody Allen