05. January 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

One time at band camp…I threw a ninja star at an oboe player

05. January 2010 · Comments Off on iTunes U · Categories: Ramble

I don’t know if others have checked this out, but iTunes has this thing called “iTunes U” and I am currently watching and listening to a concert by the symphonic orchestra at Northwestern University. They are doing the Debussy Nocturnes, which begins with a good bit of English horn (in Nuages). You might want to check it out! And of course there’s some oboing later on to listen to. The camera work is nice; LOTS of English horn close ups for the first movement. (I see the oboes hold their instruments a bit higher than I do … oh dear, now my students have ammunition to use against me!)

I have always found Debussy to be fun listening and awkward playing. For me he just doesn’t sit comfortably. I’m not sure what it is … and maybe it’s just my problem. I’ve not had issues in performance … it’s just not as fun as, say, Ravel.

I’m impressed by the Northwestern musicians. Pretty darn fine playing! Go to iTunes U and check ’em out. (Or you can click on this link to watch it.) Today I meet the UCSC oboists … perhaps we should spend some time watching and listening to the video. I think they’ll be pretty amazed.

Here’s the first movement of the Debussy with what appear to be an even younger group of musicians:

Gotta love the description of an oboist …

the only melody that’s been quite insistent for last little while is interestingly, k.361 mozart gran partita mvt. 3: adagio.

ooh that soaring oboe melody. thin silk, spun with no end in sight. absolutely beautiful and tortured. i have no clue where the torture aspect comes from- perhaps it is an ache of a sort. when something is too beautiful. too pure. also if you ever seen a live performance of it, i bet you couldnt take the eyes off of the oboist, who, in contrary to the graceful melody, looks like he/she is going to literally explode. all red and sweating. pulling that endless sound out. (in this youtube clip, it’s a proper peculiar high double reed man. what do i mean by that- well, just look at his glasses! i love the subspecies of double reeders…) and much work once in silence: reed making. hours and hours, days, years spent with boiling pots of water, sugar cane bits, dried fingertips, sharpen blades, looking more like wood workshop than.. a practice room.