08. March 2010 · 3 comments · Categories: Tools

Today I received a package from Robert Morgan, of Chicago Reed Company. I had landed at his site and seen his video about the W.R.I.S.T here, and asked him about the price. I thought perhaps it was a bit costly, since I really have no issues with my hands or arms when I play, but he graciously offered to send one for me on trial, and I readily accepted that. (Thanks, Bob!)

Sooo … I hooked it up (it’s pretty easy to figure out!) and I’ll be taking it to Symphony Silicon Valley rehearsals next week to use and to show to my colleagues. I have a feeling I’m gonna really like the device! I’d put the video up here, but I can’t see the code for that. Oh well. You’ll just have to visit his site!

08. March 2010 · Comments Off on Strauss Oboe Concerto · Categories: Oboe, Videos

I hadn’t heard of Pauline Oostenrijk before. I plugged her name in at emusic.com and, sure enough, there are two CDs there. Oboesession and another that includes a concerto for two oboes (Hans Roerade is the other oboist: another new name to me) and orchestra by Voormolen. I’m not quite sure how I missed those, since I search on “oboe” quite a lot at emusic.

So below is all of the Strauss Oboe Concerto (broken into three videos). A killer, to be sure!

Notice how that reed immediately comes out of the oboe before the bow is taken?! 🙂

Ms. Oostenrijk has a website, which includes a few fun blog-like posts (look for “columns”). Unfortunately it’s white type on black background, and my eyes can’t handle that (on a Mac you just hit the command-option-control keys plus the 8 key and it reverses everything, but it’s still not easy on my eyes for some reason.)

I just listened to her recording of the Saint Saens. First two movements are the fastest I’ve ever heard. I like her take on them. I might reconsider what I think are the best tempi. Hmmm. Last movement is fast, but I’ve heard it taken like that before.

08. March 2010 · Comments Off on Memorization · Categories: Links

I’m extremely nervous about doing things by memory. Truth be told, I haven’t had to do anything by memory since I was in college. That is not to say I don’t have things by memory. Of course I have solos from major works by memory because I’ve learned them and learning them means they are in my fingers. BUT … I like my music on my stand. It’s just comfortable that way. I can play every English horn solo in the Nutcracker by heart, but I’ve never had the nerve to close my book and play. Some of my colleagues have done that. And some folks who do musical theater shows don’t even open their book any more, they’ve done the show so much.

I was reading about a Meredith Monk concert, and memorization comes up:

Classically trained instrumentalists typically react with horror when asked to memorize a part, at least as members of an ensemble.

“Instrumentalists really like to have it on the page,” Monk agrees.

For one of her pieces, players had to memorize an hour and a half of music. They found it difficult, she says.

The singers in the Meredith Monk Ensemble, on the other hand, have a “much more kinetic way of learning music. From my way of thinking about things, it cuts out one step, because the music is in the bones,” she says.

“For me, memorizing from the printed page is so hard. It’s a visual kind of memory. If you learn it as you go along, it’s a muscle memory.”

The last time I played a solo for church I had a basic plan and played and improvised, so no music — no music stand in fact — was used. It’s true: the music was in the bones, so to speak. And I like it when it feels that way.

I still want my music on the stand for symphony, opera and ballet though. I’m too chicken to go without!

08. March 2010 · Comments Off on That’s the Night When The Lights Went Out · Categories: Links, Videos

… in the Pantheon.

I thought, from what I read on the info at the YouTube page, that perhaps the lights were turned off while they were playing. But no, the person who announced that they were closing did wait until a movement was finished. And boy was the audience angry. Here’s what you can read if you go over to YouTube:

The employees turned off the lights and started to drive the public out cause they work till 18.00. The concert would have be finished at 18.15 by the way. Hundreds of people didn’t want to leave, they were crying to musicians “Suonate, suonate” and “Vergognatevi” to the Pantheons employees.

Hmmm. While I think it’s rotten that the concert had to be stopped, I do wonder why no one checked about the time issue. Musicians in the U.S. are sticklers when it comes to time. We follow a strict clock. (We’ve also been screamed at due to that strict clock.) If we go overtime, it’s overtime, and it costs money. I’m sure the attendants of the Pantheon might also follow a strict clock. (Gee, the other night our lights went out before we were done rehearsing Romeo & Juliet. I wonder if the stage folk were on their own strict clock. Hmm.)

I found this first over at Chris Foley’s blog. He links to this article which contains my favorite line:one man simply remarked of the young attendant with the noisy heels: “I want have not this woman as wife.”

08. March 2010 · Comments Off on Recital Encore · Categories: Recital Encore

It’s always exciting to hear a young student’s first recital performance. I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for this young player! (And it’s fun, too, to recognize the people at the piano.)

Some of my students will recognize this piece, I’m sure.

I’m hoping that whoever put this video up will put another up in an year … let’s see how this brand new oboist changes and grows!

08. March 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

should be praticing oboe, then going for a run, but neither sound very fun!

And these guys sure do!

08. March 2010 · Comments Off on MQOD & More · Categories: Ballet, Links, Quotes, Ramble, Symphony

Listen as if it were the last time your ears could hear. Savor it.

-Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe

This is from a “music listening manifesto” I found here.

As I was playing Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet yesterday it hit me, “I don’t know if I’ll do this ballet again in my lifetime.” This season has been one of thoughts like those. Now we did just do R&J in 2004, so it is possible that I will do it again in another 6 years, but who knows for sure? At the final Marriage of Figaro performance a dear friend sitting next to me sadly said, “I don’t know if I’ll do this again. It makes me sad.”

So I’d like to suggest to performers that we play as if we may never play something again. I want to remember to relish each wonderful work. I want to attempt to always play my best. I don’t want to take anything for granted. I get sad — and yes, I get frustrated too — when it appears that musicians are playing as if it doesn’t matter. I get angry at myself when I catch myself doing that.

Romeo and Juliet was rather enjoyable for me this run. I had reeds that really cooperated. (I used one — orange thread — for the first two acts and another — dark blue thread — for the final act. The low C that has, in past runs, given me such grief and fear worked every single time!! And yes, it really is just that italicized sort of exciting! The balcony scene with a little English horn solo I love makes me happy to be an English horn player. The end of the entire ballet has what feels like a pretty darn important English horn solo (I’ll have to pull out my recording to see if I agree when I’m listening rather than playing) and I really enjoyed doing that as well, waiting just that extra snippet of time to land on the final C (G on EH of course). Man, Prokofiev knew how to write some fine, fine stuff. 🙂

And speaking of Prokofiev, after this week of no playing work I move on to Prokofiev’s fifth symphony. I know I’ve played it before, as I see my writing on the English horn part, but I do need to start working on it again; I can’t even remember doing it!