03. April 2009 · Comments Off on Most Unpleasant · Categories: Ballet, Ramble

We had another ballet performance tonight. After getting to the pit and setting up I played a few notes.


My ears were plugged more than I knew. Everything felt absolutely rotten. At first I thought it was my oboe I was so unable to tell what was coming out. I had to try and forget worrying about pitch and volume and trust my instincts. NOT fun, and not always accurate. So it was a most unpleasant night of work. I honestly had no idea how loud the oboe was, or if I was in tune or not.

And then, to top it off, my cough started. You just never know when that’ll hit, right? So I’d have a tiny cough and all the sudden the PattySpasmCough—. Totally not fun.

If I could call in a sub I would. Really. But I can’t imagine calling someone in to play this show. The book isn’t put together well; the print is small and unclear. I really don’t want to put someone through reading the darn thing.

I actually did quickly go over my part to mark a few things more clearly, in case I get so sick I can’t make it to the next performance. But I know that’ll never happen.

Why is it that I have never called in sick to a performance? Really. Not ever, as far as I can remember. Most of my colleagues have. I do know no one is indispensable. I know I’m easily replaced. I know I wouldn’t be missed.

Hmmm. Maybe those are actually the reasons. Double hmmm.

03. April 2009 · Comments Off on Review? Well, sort of … · Categories: Ramble, Reviews

People who read this know I don’t like to write reviews. I’m not a great writer (duh!), and I’m not sure it’s a wise thing for me to do in any case. I also fear being seen as an idiot.

Oops. Too late for that, eh?

BUT … I’ve been sent a CD and have agreed to write about it. So I will. Soon. Hmmm. Maybe now …?

What is it, you might ask? Well, it’s Journey to the New World. Sharon Isbin is the guitarist. She actually played with San Jose Symphony (RIP) back in the late 90’s, shortly before we crashed and burned. I can’t recall what she played … I’m guessing it wasn’t the Rodrigo or I would have that in my head. How lame is it that 1) I can’t remember things like this and 2) I didn’t save a single program? Sigh.

Anyway, I’ve been playing the CD on my drives to and from Santa Cruz, but does that really count? I get road noise along with the music. Does a write up after listening that way count? Still, I’m enjoying it. It’s a mix of the old (Dowland … you know, that guy that Sting decided to latch on to) to the less old. It also includes performers Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor (he performed with Symphony Silicon Valley a while back). There are songs (yes, I do mean songs) that I recognize from my younger days, like Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and House of the Rising Sun. I suppose it’s a bit of a “cross over” album. Whatever. I really don’t care what musician does what as long as it’s done well. And I think she does this well. I really like the CD, and I’m impressed with the recording’s clarity. Yeah, even in my car. 🙂

Oh, and Wayfaring Stranger just hits me. So there you go.

I know nothing about guitar. Really. But she does something in certain spots that produces these incredibly beautiful bell-like tones. And everything sounds so … hmmm, how to describe it? … “clean” but also musical. (Sometimes “clean” can be boring.)

Gee, watching Ms. Isbin and Mr. O’Connor play and really swingin’ it they aren’t grinning. We classical folk often get told that we need to smile more. Hmmm. Could it be that even this fun, swingin’ stuff is hard work? I wonder! (I’m confused, though. The video says it’s from a live performance, but they show the two performers in different clothing, depending upon the camera. Surely this must be from two sessions?! It’s really difficult to change clothes while playing an instrument. I’m fairly sure of this.)

Anyway, I’m giving the CD four crows*. I’ve listened to it at least three times now, and I’m not weary of it. That’s always a good sign.

*No double reed means you just can’t get five crows. So sorry. 😉

03. April 2009 · Comments Off on Frasier @ the Opera · Categories: TV

Martin: Is she here yet?
Frasier: No, not yet. That’s her box over there, the empty one.
Martin: Well, I’m not going to sit through a whole opera for some woman who’s not even here.
Frasier: Oh, for God’s sake, Dad, give it a chance. You might actually learn to like it if you’d listen to one.
Martin: Hey, your mother dragged to me a lot of these things when we were dating and they were all stupid. These stories make no sense whatsoever.
Frasier: Oh, that is not true!
Martin: Oh, all right, what’s this one about?
Frasier: Well, it’s about Rigoletto, the hunchbacked jester in the court of the Duke. He has a daughter, Gilda, who’s secretly living with him. But everyone thinks that she’s his mistress. In this opening scene, Rigoletto mocks the Duke’s enemy, who puts a curse on him.
Martin: A cursed hunchback dating his daughter – well, nothing screwy so far!
Frasier: He is not dating his daughter! Gilda is being courted by the Duke, who is disguised as a humble student.
Martin: You see, that’s what I mean. The whole thing’s so unrealistic. Everybody’s in love, pretending to be somebody they’re not.

03. April 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

My son described playing the oboe like wrapping your lips around the bill of a duck.

03. April 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Links

I’m not sure why any double reed player would want “Vibrass”, but the site suggests we can use it too, for lip massage.

You can see the device here. Maybe you can explain why we would need it.

When I saw the word “vibrass” I thought the device was going to be some kind of strange contraption that added vibrato to the sound. Heh. Silly me.

(Totally unrelated note: I’ve gotten tons of hits off from “final episode of ER”. Bizarre. I’m sure those folks don’t stick around for more than a second. Oh … and the episode was just so-so in my eyes, but I’m not an addict, so what do I know?)

03. April 2009 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Single malt scotch is in, and so is classical music. You don’t have to dumb it down. Even though it’s a scary time in terms of the economy, this is also a really exciting time to be in the classical music world.

-James Gaffigan

You can read much more at SF Mike’s blog, right here.

03. April 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Ramble

There was a lack of posts yesterday, as my few readers noticed. I was away from the computer for a good bad (because I miss it) long time.

Today may be no different. Time will tell. I am off to UCSC to teach, and it’s possible I teach a bit extra, as I volunteered to help coach a quintet there (gratis, but sometimes things are worth doing for free, yes?). I don’t know if they are planning on seeing me today or not.

I’ve been fighting this silly cold, and I think I’m going to recover much quicker than my husband and a friend did. I’m mostly just thankful I didn’t get this thing last week; I’m not sure how I would have done on the solos, since I do sometimes have coughing fits. I am guessing the reason my back is now thrown out is due to the coughing. Or maybe it’s just that I was trying to copy someone I love whose back was thrown out earlier this week (you know who you are … and I hope you are recovering!).

Opening night for ballet was last night and I think it went well. I don’t have anything to fear in the thing; I am playing second oboe and I have nearly nothing of importance. Good timing for that kind of week, don’t you think?

And now to my regularly scheduled latté.