28. February 2009 · Comments Off on TV QOD · Categories: Quotes, TV

It’s something losers put online so everyone can read.

-definition of “blog” by a character on NCIS

28. February 2009 · Comments Off on John Mack Oboe Camp in N.C. · Categories: Announcements

Just sent to me:

The 2009 John Mack Oboe Camp will take place June 6-12, 2009 at Wildacres Retreat in Little Switzerland, NC. Teaching this summer will be Frank Rosenwein, Principal Oboist of The Cleveland Orchestra and Martin Hebert, Principal Oboist of the Oregon Symphony. John Symer will also give a class on oboe repair and adjustments. The emphasis of camp is standard etudes and orchestral excerpts. Enrollment is open to advanced high school students, college students and professionals. A limited number of auditors are also taken each year. Please check our website here for more information and to apply online.

I should probably set up a page for oboe camps as I’ve done in the past … I haven’t kept up with this stuff for a long time. But for now this will have to do.

28. February 2009 · 3 comments · Categories: BQOD

This symphony [Schubert #9 “The Great”] provides further proof that unless you want your orchestra to sound naked, you must pay up for a good oboe player. A mediocre oboist would hinder the first movement and would utterly destroy the second movement of this symphony.

28. February 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Anyone have a really beautiful wooden oboe in excellent working order that they’d like to give away to a nice kid??…thought not….

28. February 2009 · Comments Off on Too Far Away for Me … · Categories: News, Symphony

The announcements in the trade journals looked almost too good to be true: high salaries, free furnished housing, no-cost education for your children, no taxes.

A new orchestra was forming from scratch. The catch was the location: Doha, Qatar, a place where few of the young professional musicians from Berlin and Vienna and Budapest and Moscow thought they would end up.

But some 2,400 musicians from around the world auditioned, 101 were accepted, and lo, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra came into being last summer.


The job has its benefits. The musicians say it is satisfying playing with such high-level colleagues. The pay is excellent: a minimum of about $4,000 a month.

I still wouldn’t be willing to make the move, but the pay isn’t bad.

… and who knew I’d have two “Finally!” posts in a row. How undarncreative of me. 🙁

I’m re-posting this because I had the link messed up so no one saw Dan’s picture. Oops. I did see the eye doctor yesterday and I’ve ordered new music/computer glasses. We’ll see if that makes my eyes (and head) happier.

Yesterday’s Post:

Today I finally see the eye doctor. And it’s about time. It’s either that or give up blogging. (Oh stop hoping I’ll do that … and can hear your thoughts from here!) I do hope there’s a good solution to this eye issue. It’s definitely not fun.

Meanwhile, check out this picture. Because I told you to. Is that great or what? I’d post the picture here but that would be like … well .. stealing. Unless I received permission. But for now this will have to do, so go there and enjoy. K?

Yeah, I kinda like the photographer, too. 🙂

… okay … whew! … it’s a busy day when I teach four hour lessons in a row. Okay, I DO have 15 minutes between the first and second students, but still ….

I’m now, at 2:46, enjoying my lunch & latté. And yes, I’m at “my” coffee shop again. (The Abbey in Santa Cruz.) I’m a person who likes the predictable, and this is it for me. Nice coffee, and good atmosphere. 🙂

So … just a wee bit about the San Francisco Symphony concert last night. As readers know, I don’t review things. I mostly just comment a wee bit about the performance.

I had never heard Prokofiev’s American Overture before. I, in fact, knew nothing about it. When I went to emusic I only saw a band arrangement of the work. When we got to the hall I didn’t read the program notes, so I was surprised to see so few people warming up on stage, not realizing there would be all of 18 players there when the concert began. And there were no violins for the entire first half. (Ah, a violinist’s dream, maybe?) I enjoyed the Prokofiev although I can’t say I was thrilled. I was fairly surprised at how loud the 18 musicians were from up on the heights of the second tier, and it did sound a bit muddy (oops, that’s sort of review-like, isn’t it?). Let’s see if I can remember who it was scored for: flute, pic, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, cello, string bass, 2 pianos, 1 celeste, percussion. Am I getting this correct, Dan? I’m sorry I can’t remember how many of each instrument, aside from knowing there was only 1 oboe, 2 string bass and the 2 pianists, each with their own instrument. Anyway, interesting piece, but I wasn’t exactly dying to run out and purchase it.

When I think about the Gubaidulina Violin Concerto I really must say two things come to mind, one of which is pretty darn silly but oh well: 1) Fabulous dress on Mutter! 2) I don’t quite get the piece. I think Dan said he couldn’t wrap his head around it (?) to which I would agree. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure why, aside from really loving the way she scores the winds at times. The four clarinets playing together sounded pretty cool. (No, “cool” isn’t a word a reviewer would use. See? I’m NOT a reviewer!) Anyway, maybe I’ll hear the work again sometime and understand it a bit more. Knowing my brain though, probably not.

After intermission the violins finally decided to show up. (Maybe they just wanted to watch American Idol during the first half?) We finally had the full orchestra, minus Bill Bennett, Steve Paulson, Carey Bell and a ladder (the percussionist used to reach the chimes). Well, the ladder was still there, but just leaned against the wall. (I was surprised they didn’t take it off stage. Yeah, I’m silly that way.) There may have been other members of SFS who left after the first half, but of course I mainly pay attention to the woodwinds. (Yeah, I’m silly that way, too.)

I love Ravel. I love how he sort of twists things. But for some reason I wasn’t as excited about the two works last night. I think it might have been the headache I had for several days (it’s finally gone today!). But still, they were well worth the listen.

Now while I’m not going to review the concert, I WILL review the audience. Geesh! The MINUTE La Valse was over people even — and it seemed especially ‐ in the front rows of the orchestra section got up and left. I mean … MTT is taking a bow and people are filing out. I’ve never seen such a rush to get out the door before. I have never seen anything quite like that in San Jose. Dan and I were astounded. I can see people sneaking out from the balcony or even the back of an orchestra section, but right in front? I thought it looked tacky and rude. I kind of thought maybe the front row of strings should just look out, shrug, and head on out too. And yet we were in “The City” with all those cultured people. Go figure.

27. February 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

babysitting later… then oboe after that… “what an exciting day this will b!” she said sarcastically…

A performance is not good, if there is no stage fright. One just has to select the right time for it – either just before or right after the performance, but preferably not during it! Getting the timing right is difficult, but one can learn it.

-Vilho Kekkonen (100 year old tenor)

And then there’s this (same article):

The border skirmish was of course a full-blown and rather bloody 105-day war between Finland and the Soviet Union, during which an incident happened that was to remain one of the strongest memories in Kekkonen’s life.
He had been ordered as a messenger between the front line and company headquarters, while Russian paratroopers who had been dropped in the area were lurking in ambush in the tree-tops.
His fellow-soldier was shot in his sleigh, and Kekkonen feared that he himself would encounter the same fate.
So he decided to put his faith in his best weapon – singing.
”I was riding on a horse-drawn sleigh in the moonlight and singing Lenski’s Aria from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, and I survived. It is the highest fee I have ever been paid for one song”, Kekkonen recalls.

26. February 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Listening to movies from the 50s makes me think there was a deadly disease killing all musicians but Oboe players