14. May 2010 · Comments Off on They Didn’t Offer ME One! · Categories: Ramble

A top California based iPad developer has just announced plans to donate 1000 copies of their award winning iPad application. They plan to donate to conservatories, music schools and educators across the U.S. copies of their hit app “The Orchestra”.

The developer xhumans said they will give away the 1000 copies of the app with free updates to the organizations free of charge and restrictions. The company will also be providing free 24/7 support for the award winning app, making this one of the largest charitable app donation ever undertaken.

Xhumans has teamed up with music teachers, non-profit classical music groups, and several instrument makers for this initiative. The donation has been enthusiastically backed by the Note for Note training group, the Department of Musical Education, and the Classical Music World Center.

I read it here.

Of course I don’t own an iPad, so there’s that issue in any case! But I did go to xhumans to see what “The Orchestra” was about. That took me to iTunes and I could then see what they have there. I’d love to check it out. For the English horn sample they give us Dvorak’s New World Symphony. No surprise there, eh? For oboe? Well. What would YOU pick as a good example? They chose Malcolm Arnold’s Fantasy for Oboe. Okay then. Not exactly the first thing that pops into MY head. In fact — dare I admit this? — I don’t even know the work! I had to look the darn thing up!

And yeah, I do look at the iPad and think it would be an awful lotta fun to own. I don’t exactly need it, though. I go back & forth between that and an iPhone. Oh … and nothing at all. Since if I’m talking need truth be told I already have more than I need. Or even deserve. (As if I deserve anything, eh?)

14. May 2010 · Comments Off on What’s in a name? · Categories: English horn

Last night I was wandering the lobby during the first half of the concert, looking to pick up a program. An usher asked me what instrument I played, and I said, “Oboe and English horn, although tonight it’s just English horn.” She responded with, “Oh I LOVE French horn!”

Yeah, We get that a lot. I didn’t correct her. Not my job.

In looking at the program notes I see the writer of those refers to my instrument as cor anglais. (The “melancholy cor anglais”, in fact.) I wonder if he’s from the UK, or if he just prefers cor anglais. For the record, my parts do say “English horn” on them, but you can call it whatever you like. As long as you’re nice about it, that is. And never never never say, “It’s neither English nor a horn.” We are quite bored by that. 🙂

14. May 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Reviews

The Merc has a review of last night’s concert. I’m even mentioned! Sweet!

Last week I attended a production of a very wacky musical called “Very Warm for May”. It’s not done often. Heck, it’s not done at all. But a company called 42nd Street Moon puts on rarely performed, usually older musicals. And our son’s girlfriend, Megan Hopp, was in this production as the lead character, May. (Go here and check out the fabulous poster! That’s Megan. You can see more photos here.) Now we all know how preposterous opera plots are. Musicals can be that way too. (Besides, how many people burst into song every time the mood hits them?) But I’m a sucker for a musical, and as crazy as this one was, I still cried. Really. The song “All the Things You Are” is in the musical, and it just causes me to cry. I can’t help it. Something at the beginning of that song … the interval up, interval down … lack of resolution …. Then, at the end, when Megan came out to take her bow, I teared up again. This time it was just because I love seeing friends and family doing something they love and succeeding so well.

The funny thing is, I rarely cry in “real life”.

Isn’t that odd? I mean … horrible things might be happening and I hold it together. But i read a poem, hear a piece of music, or go to a show, and doggone it, tears start flowing.

The company that does these productions uses minimal props and, at least in this musical (but I’m guessing in all), a pianist rather than a full pit orchestra (there’s no pit in the lovely, intimate hall). I was impressed with it all … just great fun. But yeah, I laughed about the plot. I think I’m allowed that, yes? Especially since I cried too? So I truly can say, “I laughed … I cried …!”

I was really impressed with the singing voices in this production. Robbie Cowan has a super voice, to be sure, as do some of those women! And the guy who plays the crazy director, Bill Fahrner, is pretty darn hysterical. Megan, of course, was my fave! 🙂

14. May 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: News, Opera

“I’m not going to pull any punches here, and I want to tell it like it is. This entire production has been a trying and difficult time,” Treleaven said. “The character development that I bring to the part is almost expunged by this clown-like makeup,” he said, adding that he has sustained two minor injuries on the angled stage.

Some of the main singers in L.A. Opera’s Ring aren’t very happy, it seems.


“It takes years to be able to sing a ‘Ring,’ and to just toss this all away — he doesn’t say it in words, but his gestures speak louder than words,” she said. “To have that not be important to him is very insulting.

“I’m not against modern interpretations,” she added, citing her appearance in experimental director Robert Wilson’s “Ring” in Paris. “That production was difficult, but it wasn’t dangerous.”

Neither Treleaven nor Watson had previously worked with Freyer. They emphasized that their conflicts with him are not personal.

“We’re taught to be professionals. Our job is to work with the director,” said Watson. “The days when you could be a diva — those are over.”


Die Walküre:

14. May 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

There’s band tomorrow! Miss my oboe! 😀

14. May 2010 · Comments Off on Classical Jam, Madera Vox … Fun Groups! · Categories: Chamber Music, Videos

New and somewhat unusual group combinations are forming. I do yearn sometimes for something new and different. I can dream … yes?

First there is Classical Jam. I love the “450 pre-k?!” line in the video before. Very funny.

I was sent two very wonderful CDs by the group Madera Vox. Truly delightful! I especially loved the self-titled CD, as the other really is geared for children and mine are now fully grown. (Thank you so much for sending these my way, Nicole!)