… but not only do I not live in New York, but I’m small potatoes — aw heck, I’m a potato chip — compared to names I’m reading:

Oligarchs of the oboe world gathered on Monday for a private dinner, buffet style, in a quiet corner of Greenwich Village. The event drew players from the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Soloists, prominent teachers and hotshot up-and-comers came too.

… all to meet with Albrecht Mayer. Not a bad crowd, I’m sure. I would have gone to steal reeds (as if anyone would bring them there, eh?).

Oboists are a peculiar lot: they give the tuning A before performances and often have the most prominent solos in a piece. Their instrument can sound like a singing human voice or squawk like a duck. Half their lives are spent hewing bits of cane to make the double reeds that can produce those gorgeous sounds but also prove cruelly disloyal.

The precarious nature of the double-reed existence creates a bond, several of the oboists said.

“We all know how difficult it is to play the instrument,” said Livio Caroli, who plays the English horn and is second oboist at New York City Opera. “We are dealing with nature, a tree. The tree changes in terms of the weather.” You may be the greatest oboist in the world, he said, but if you can’t express yourself, “you are dead.”

“We all know this,” Mr. Caroli added, an awareness that puts Mr. Mayer and his colleagues on the same playing field. (It was beginning to sound like Oboists Anonymous.)


I’m going to guess that any oboist in New York who wasn’t invited now has hurt feelings. Ah well. It’ll make ’em play even whinier … right?

03. December 2009 · Comments Off on Fifth Day of Advent · Categories: Advent

Boris Ord: Adam Lay Ybounden

(I’m counting days of Advent not from December 1, but from the first Sunday in Advent … in case you haven’t figured that out. I’m not sure how it’s supposed to be done, but hey, this way you get a bit more music!)

03. December 2009 · Comments Off on Saved By Singing · Categories: Links

An impatient patient who got trapped in a hospital toilet raised the alarm by raising his voice – belting out a prayerful Christmas chorus.

Tenor George Hudson sang Handel’s Hallelujah after the emergency cord failed to elicit a response, despite three tugs.

The 80-year-old chorister, who was staying at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells for a hip replacement, said: ‘I pulled the red cord and I got no response. When I started to get a bit chilly, I wondered what else I could do.

‘I thought, “Oh well, it’s coming up to Christmas,” so I gave them the opening of the Hallelujah chorus.

‘The doors then opened very quickly.’