11. June 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Opera, Videos

Of course this doesn’t happen for a year yet, but I think it’s extremely important to prepare one’s self for the Ring. It’s a huge event (and a HUGE expense!), and it would seem such a shame to go into it unprepared. So here I go …

11. June 2010 · Comments Off on Tonight! · Categories: Opera

Back to San Francisco Opera we go!

I have read a few reviews in the local papers. That doesn’t influence my hearing, but I find it interesting to compare what those writers (many of whom have never been performers) hear compared to what I hear, as a performing musician. They tend to be more critical than I of certain things, but in other areas (singers being out of tune, for one) they seem to be much more forgiving.

As always Opera Tattler has her report. I love reading what she has to say, and especially get a kick out of the tattling. Lots of times I have similar tattling I could do. (Sometimes I will do it, sometimes I am too lazy.)

I see OT also has a report on Fanciulla. While I know Faust, having performed it, I know nothing about Fanciulla (but according to Chloe Veltman’s write up I’ll recognize the music, having played Phantom for a couple of shows (subbing, eons ago).

And OT got press seats! Obviously, and deservedly, she is on San Francisco Opera‘s list, managing to get press seats and all. Hmmm. I have made it on to San Francisco Symphony‘s radar, but to San Francisco Opera I’m a great big zero. My feelings are hurt. (Well, okay, not really. I just want to be on that list!)

C’mon SF Opera, dont’cha like me? I love the opera orchestra. I’m always positive about the productions. I really want you to like me, too. 😉

Okay. Maybe it’s that she’s a better writer. There is that!

11. June 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: FBQD

my saxophone is mad at me bc im cheating on it with the oboe

Mr. Taylor is retiring this year. There’s a nice article to read here. My favorite quote (you just know it has to be about reeds, right?):

“I’ve been trying to master the art of reed making for over forty years, and the truth is, you just never master it. You get your reed as good as you can get it, and you make it sound like you want it to sound by sheer willpower. It is a constant struggle, knowing you can only sound as good as your reed is.”

There’s also a video with the article. I think it’s a good one for everyone to hear. Notice how different we sound depending upon how it’s recorded and where we are playing? (The first version of Gabriel’s oboe is a recording done with oboe alone, without any wonderful acoustics. The second is in a church, with organ, and the acoustics are quite different.)

“Music helps us celebrate life, and, as far as I’m concerned, it is the most wonderful form of communication. It’s communicating the same emotions we experience in life, and it takes years to learn to express those things. Young musicians perhaps have not yet gone through life’s worst trials yet—tragedy, love, hate—the full spectrum of emotions. The longer you’re playing, while all along growing older and wiser, the better you get at conveying those emotions. I always feel like I can express myself a lot better with an oboe than I can with words.”


11. June 2010 · 5 comments · Categories: TQOD

No other instrument captures the mood of midnight better than an Oboe. ? But it dismays me that an oboist blew out his brain cells for me

11. June 2010 · Comments Off on Musicians’ Parents · Categories: Links, Other People's Words

My mother is always with me,” Lang confirms. “She packs my bag, makes sure I eat properly. Sometimes in the morning I can’t get up and she buys me some breakfast and in the evening she sometimes gives me a massage. It’s great.” He giggles. Earlier today, he says, he was going through U.K. customs and, after asking him the purpose of his visit, they asked him what his mother did. “I said: “She does what mums do.”?

Does he pay her? “No,” he says. “She just does it for the love of mother.”

Heh. Sounds like he thinks this is her role, eh? Probably because it’s all he knows. I love my kids, but one of the exciting and rewarding things about parenting is watching a child grow up and learn to live and manage things on his or her own. I can’t imagine them wanting me to manage their lives still.

Yeah … well, then there’s the dad and the story most of us have heard at this point, from Lang Lang’s younger days (he was only 9 or 10 at the time, from how the full story is told):

“You’re a liar and you’re lazy! You are horrible. And you have no reason to live. No reason at all.”

“What are you talking about?” Lang screamed.

“You can’t go back to Shenyang in shame! Everyone will know you were not admitted to the conservatory! Everyone will know this teacher has fired you. Dying is the only way out.”

Lang Guoren picked up a bottle of antibiotic pills and thrust them towards his son. “Take these pills! Swallow all 30 pills right now! Everything will be over and you will be dead!”

When Lang Lang fought back, his father ordered him to jump off the 11th-floor balcony. The boy only brought him to his senses by hammering his fists against the wall until they bled, shouting: “I hate my hands!” Suddenly the red mist lifted and Lang Guoren rushed over to his son to stop him doing any more damage. But for months Lang Lang wouldn’t talk to his father or play the piano; his rebellion only ending when he was 10 and he was finally accepted at the Beijing conservatory.

And then there’s this:

“Yo Yo Ma had a string tied to his leg at 5 a.m.,” Pellegrini says. “His father would go back to bed and if he heard him stop playing he would tug at the string. And today Yo Yo Ma doesn’t speak to his father.”

I ask the parents of my students to be the encouragers, and let me be the bad guy. Some follow that request. Others don’t. If I see a parent hounding the child a lot I tend to back off on my hounding. Granted, I don’t have a Yo-Yo Ma or Lang Lang … at this point anyway … but I just don’t think music should be that way.