26. December 2009 · Comments Off on I Wonder As I Wander · Categories: Christmas

26. December 2009 · Comments Off on Who Knew? · Categories: Ramble

Brian Epstein was getting worried about The Beatles’ lack of commercial success in America—their earlier singles had flopped there—and so he encouraged Lennon and McCartney to write a song that would appeal to American listeners. McCartney had recently moved into 57 Wimpole Street, London W1, where he was living as a guest of Dr. Richard and Margaret Asher, whose daughter, actress Jane Asher, had become McCartneys steady girlfriend after meeting him earlier in the year. This location briefly became Lennon and McCartneys new writing base, taking over from McCartneys Forthlin Road home in Liverpool. Margaret Asher taught the oboe in a “small, rather stuffy music room” in the basement and it was here that Lennon and McCartney sat at the piano and composed ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’.

So now we know why they were so successful! They wrote their music in an oboe studio.

But of course.

Music is an important part of my life and my fingers had become so bent that I feared I would never be able to play the oboe again. And I didn’t want to entertain that thought.

-David McCallum

To my age group, he was the cute guy in Man from U.N.C.L.E and to folks who didn’t grow up with that he is, perhaps Ducky (how appropriate!) in NCIS. The article is about his dealing with Dupuytren’s contracture.

David took great delight, a few weeks ago, in putting on the DVD of the Mozart symphony he had been playing when he first realised his partially clawed hands could no longer reach the keys – and this time playing the oboe solo without a hitch. ‘It was a wonderful feeling and a wonderful experience,’ he says.

Hmm. Wonder what symphony he played. And don’t you think he should play oboe on NCIS sometime? That would be just … wait for it … you know it’s coming … c’mon … here we go …


26. December 2009 · Comments Off on Late, but Here at Last · Categories: Bassoon, Christmas

“Black Santa” (as he calls himself):

26. December 2009 · Comments Off on & Now He’s Alfie · Categories: Links, Opera, San Francisco Symphony

When Alfie Boe sang in Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme he was introduced as “Alf Boe”. Some people giggled, remembering the TV show (one I missed — it must have been when we didn’t own a TV). And then some melted, because they really fell for the guy. And then we find out that not only is “Alf” one handsome guy, but the handsome guy can sing too.

And then La Boheme was bashed by so many in the opera world. I had been thinking, “This could be it! This could get the movie buffs into the opera world.” But it was bashed pretty hard by, especially, the New York crowd, and the next thing I knew, it was gone.

I had heard that some of the singers had gone on to do some interesting things, while others I’ve not heard a bit about since. Alf became Alfie and it appears has done quite well for himself. (My understanding, too, is that he found his future wife in San Francisco, during the run of Boheme. Nice, eh?)

Now he’s back; he’ll be singing in San Francisco Symphony’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. Part of me would love to attend. (Not that I’d try to talk to Boe at all; he didn’t have a clue who I was, and I wouldn’t want to bug him with “Hey, I played with you, dont’cha remember?” kind of stuff. That’s not in my comfort zone or my appropriate zone.) Another, stay-at-home part, prefers to stay home. The “money is tight” part of me is letting the “stay-at-home” part win.

And where are the other Boheme singers? One is with Il Divo (not my cuppa, but I’m betting he’s set for life, income-wise), one is on a grammy nominated opera CD, Volpone. So I guess while it might have been bashed, some of the singers are doing okay.

A $3,500 musical instrument was stolen by a burglar last weekend, according to police. A Gainesboro Grade resident told Cookeville Police Officer Ron Franklin that her oboe and some compact discs were stolen out of her car, possibly on Friday night. The Buffet oboe is all-wood and has silver keys. The thief also stole a box that contained three spare reeds for the instrument, the officer’s report says. Also stolen were 35 compact discs which the owner had burnt off the computer, the officer said.

How dare the thief steal the reeds too!

The headline read “Musical burglar takes oboe from car” … and I’m just wondering how the heck they knew the burglar was musical. Stealing an oboe and some reeds doesn’t make someone musical. Really.

I read it here.