Since I was writing about Nutcracker, and Cooper joined in the conversation, mentioning the low Bs and the sliding as well, I thought I’d show some of you what we are talking about … AND the different order in which some of our music appears here in San Jose.

Let’s start with the first low D# to B (& back again) slide, which you see on the bottom staff of this page:

(And yes, I really don’t play the first three notes of the solo, as they are cut. You’ll noticed, too, that we are coming from a different part of the work … we have lots of re-ordered parts in our Nutcracker.)


As you can see, too, I have 2 1/2 measures to get back to oboe, and even then I’m leaving out a few notes that should happen before what you see in the 2nd oboe, since it’s impossible to get them in. Here is the very next page:

More oboe2/EH parts for Nuts

Another big solo in our first act is preceded by a second oboe part that I play instead on English horn:


But the first act really isn’t a huge deal. It’s the beginning of the second act that is the killer. Here’s the first page (and see all those repeated F#s? I always have fun playing it all in one breath … it’s just a bit of a game for me). Look at the measure prior to the crossed out first ending … more of the low B to D# and then C# back to B. Try it … it’s sort of a bit of fun, really. (I switch from regular D# to left D# as I hold the note, so I free up my right pinkie for the C#.)


But that page is just a big blow and not a killer. Check out this next part though … on the very next page. I have an English horn solo that ends on a low B, and I have to switch from that to an oboe duet (this is from Cappricio Italien) in fewer than 8 beats. I always have to remember to have the oboe ready to go before we begin the act. If not, I’m dead.


But wait! I’m not done yet. After playing the remaining bit of the page above (not completely in the photo), I move on to this:

Nutcracker oboe2/EH part

Yes. I switch from oboe 2 back to English horn, playing the final oboe 2 parts on English horn (thus the hand written portion on that page), and we go directly from Capriccio Italien to “Le Café” (often called the Arabian Dance). And yes, we really do repeat the oboe 1 and English horn solos toward the end.

So maybe now you’ll know what I’m talking about with my crazy whining about low Bs and funny switches and all, eh?

But I’m never bored. I can promise you that! And while I whine I’m actually okay with all of this.

I just like to whine. 😉


  1. Dear Lord,
    For Christmas, please give Patty two more measures to switch from. If she’s been good, you could even give her four.


  2. Oh Yeah. It is brutal to play the two parts together. I feel your pain – hang in there….

  3. Cooper, you are TOO funny!

    And yes, Ceci, it is brutal. Especially this version. But at least I’ve done it for a number of years now. We began “way back when” with three players, but of course budget cuts and all meant cutting a player. Sigh. Such is life!

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