I have no children at home. We have one in college, and two are college graduates. But I’m a stay at home mom … at least for yesterday and today. Or I guess I’m a stay at home reed maker. Yes. that’s more like it, eh? The more I decide to stay at home the less gas I buy for the car (although we are getting over 50 miles per gallon at this point in our Prius!). More importantly, the more I stay home, I spend the more I work on reeds. I spent much of the day on reeds.

The first thing I do, when I’m planning on shaping cane, is to put the stuff in water (duh). While those pieces were soaking I worked on some oboe blanks I had wound earlier. So far only two actually seem to have potential, but frequently these little guys fool me. So maybe the good guys’ll turn bad and that bad guys’ll be fabulous. We’ll see. I also looked at some more of my “will they or won’t they?” oboe reeds. They all continue to stay in that category. Sigh.

When the cane had soaked a bit I shaped oboe cane, and wound three English horn reeds (using some previously shaped cane). I carved them a bit. I’m fairly certain, though, that the shape of my English horn cane is simply too wide. I’ve struggled with this shape for a while now, but I’m tired of it. I want something a narrower. Does anyone else have a shaper tip to recommend? I had two shaper tips at one point, one of which I purchased from a friend. I sold that one back to her (if I’m remembering things correctly), thinking it was the one I didn’t care for, but I’m fairly certain I blew it there. I think I need a narrower shape because my G above the staff sags and a narrower shape (I have some cane I purchased already shaped) seems to help that issue. I’d love to hear from you EH players out there!

After working on reeds I taught. That’s always a good way to check up on reeds, since I play duets with students. Oboe Reeds? Forget it! They were just not right. But one EH reed feels pretty good (one of the narrower shaped pieces of cane, of course). I just have to get the low note response to be a bit better. But I’m at least feeling a bit ‘o hope here. Since I’m doing La Mer next week English horn reeds are first on my “get ’em done” list.

Moving along …
I’m also wondering if anyone has tried the Jende knife. I’d love to hear what folks think about it. Just curious!

08. October 2008 · Comments Off on Opera Thief? · Categories: News

… or maybe he just wanted the computer, eh?

A Madison burglary that began with opera music playing on a laptop computer ended with a police officer being assaulted and a citizen using a wrestling hold to pin the suspect for police.

The Madison man, 34, was arrested on Monday on possible charges of residential burglary, battery to a law enforcement officer, resisting a law enforcement officer and a parole hold, according to police.

The victim, a 26-year-old man, told police he had been listening to opera music on his laptop computer which was on top of a table near a window. He heard some rustling at the window and stood up in time to see a man reach through the freshly cut window screen and grab his computer.

I read it here.

Okay, maybe you don’t get the title of this blog entry. Anyone know that old song? … and there was no hanging, either. Just a dark stage and pit.

The opera is about a search for the secret formula for long life.

But the Sydney opera theatre’s aging lighting desk could use a drop of that formula after a malfunction during the opening night last night of The Makropulos Secret, which plunged the stage and orchestra pit into darkness.

Conductor Richard Hickox was forced to stop the show for several minutes until the stage lights returned.

Full article

I’ve been at two performances when the lights have gone out. Once, with San Jose Symphony, Richard Stoltzman played —in the dark and by memory!— Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo, while my husband, who was stage manager at the time, quickly set up stand lights so we could continue the full concert. (I guess we had a generator that provided enough power for stand lights.) Another time the power went out completely while we were playing The Nutcracker. I felt horrible for all that little kids who were so excited to be there. We were sent home and that was that. I can’t even remember if we did a show to replace that one.

I’ve also been at two performances where we had earthquakes. Those were fun. And twice I’ve heard, “Is there a doctor in the house?”

08. October 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: BQOD

I’m firmly convinced that most of the people in my generation and younger have far too little experience attending classy performances. This was confirmed by the loud whispering going on behind me throughout the performance, as well as the clapping between movements instead of waiting until the entire song was completed.

I don’t completely grasp it all, of course, being who I am. (“I’m an oboe player, Jim, not an intellectual.” Oh … and ONE of my woodwind quintet members got my “I’m a … Jim, not an …” thing. Everyone else was just puzzled. Sigh. I guess the good news only one knows I’m a Star Trek nerd.) But I just read something I’ll have to read again to try to wrap my brain around. (HAH! I first typed “warp my brain”. Too late, too late.) Here’s a snippet (warning; if you click on the link it’s white type on black. I have to hit option-control-apple thingie-8 to make sure it’s reversed so my eyes don’t go buggy):

Out of this muddle-headed striving one idea emerged clearly: I needed to be supremely rational and brilliant to cope with the challenges ahead, and the way to do that was to create an environment that encouraged the furthest flights of intellect. Rather than getting stuck in the emotional, instinctual thrashings of pop music, I needed to climb up to the Olympian heights of classical purism: Mozart, Bach, some Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Scarlatti, and then other acceptable works by Dvorak et al. In Steppenwolf, hadn’t Hesse praised Mozart for his golden serenity, and Scarlatti likewise in The Glass Bead Game? At times, I sincerely believed that this would become most or all I would listen to, and I would even go surfing around on the Internet to find essays where the authors expounded helpfully on the “simplicity” of rock compared to the compositional virtuosity of the old masters. Of course, it was easy to find just these sorts of essays.

After about a month of this, though, I started to feel there was a problem. First of all, what was I going to do about Mozart’s Requiem? It was written by the master, and it was absolutely thrilling music, but I knew that a piece like the famous “Dies Irae” wasn’t really leading me towards enlightened calm, but rather leaving me abject and shattered. This paled, however, next to The Problem of Stravinsky (who will have to stand in for all his fellows, like Bartok or Shostakovich, notwithstanding the great differences between them). Right there, alongside all my wonderfully smooth quartets and concertos, was The Rite of Spring in its horrible, tempestuous majesty, sounding mostly unlike the other (especially the earlier) compositions I had, yet indisputably classical music by somebody familiar with his predecessors. It was even a classic, one of classical music’s greatest hits.

You can read it all here.

And I found the link to the above reading this: Can Art Create Order?

Okay. I’ll stop now.