15. June 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: News

… and same with English horns. No way would I ever trust those guys I’ve seen dealing with luggage. I remember watching through my plane window once and I could swear they were having a contest to see who could throw the luggage the hardest.

A New Brunswick music professor’s days of travelling the globe and playing his lute may have come to abrupt end after its instrument was snapped in half by Air Canada.

Michel Cardin, a music professor at the University of Moncton, said he is wondering whether he’ll be able to play his lute again after Air Canada broke his instrument on a recent trip.

When he opened up the case after returning to Moncton, the lute was snapped in two.

‘It’s as if the doctor told you [that] you can’t speak anymore for the rest of your life.’— Michel Cardin, music professor
“It was just like impossible to speak. It was a shock and I was depressed for at least a week,” Cardin said.

Cardin said the lute, which is a replica of an 18th century lute, is priceless to him. He said it’s the instrument’s sound that has led to his international career.


15. June 2010 · Comments Off on Thank you, Mr. Stabler · Categories: Other People's Words

Hearing and watching the “Resurrection” unfold in the presence of an enormous orchestra, a large choir, vocal soloists and seatmates all around me makes the listening experience immediate and communal. I am caught up in the music differently from how I get caught up with music on headphones. In the concert hall, I witness the physical unfolding of it, the effort to produce the notes, the rhythmic beat of the conductor, the tension of executing it well. Live listening is how Mahler intended his music to be received.

Not all music today is written for communal consumption (video games, for example), but most concert music is.

No matter how fine a recording, I am always aware that it is an artificial medium, a relay from the original “signal.” The effort of execution is absent, the tension of whether the trumpet will nail the solos is gone.

A few years ago, I watched the Oregon East Symphony in Pendleton (pop. 17,000) come back from a fire that destroyed its offices to play Mahler’s First Symphony, a work that was clearly beyond many of the players. But the performance was electrifying — the struggle, the failures, the fear, the exultation.

I read it here. Do read the whole thing! It is in response to Mr. Teachout’s article.

15. June 2010 · Comments Off on In Other Words, Nothing Is Guaranteed · Categories: News

It was, appropriately enough for this most turbulently aquatic opera, the perfect storm: a leading man too ill to perform, his understudy and leading lady laid low by the same bug. One of the highlights of English National Opera’s summer season, Penny Woolcock’s lavish new production of The Pearl Fishers, features stunning projections, billowing waves of silk and teeming crowd scenes. Window-dressing aside, the main attraction of Bizet’s relatively rarely performed score is the famous duet between the two male leads, Nadir and Zurga. And the main attraction at the London Coliseum, to the extent that he is the only cast member named in the brochure, is that Alfie Boe, the “Tony Award- winning tenor”, sings Nadir.

Except that, on Saturday night, he didn’t. As the lights dipped, John McMurray, head of casting at ENO, came on stage to inform the audience that Boe was suffering from a chest infection and would not be singing. As one who had bought four tickets on the strength of Boe’s name on the billboard, I joined in the groans. There was more to come. “Sometimes an illness takes a grip on an opera company”, said Mr McMurray. “And this is one of those times.” Boe’s understudy, Christopher Steele, was also suffering from a throat infection, as was lead soprano Hanan Alattar, singing the romantic heroine, Leila.

These last two, we were told, would battle through as best they could. Very good of them, but you might argue that, at £90 a ticket in the stalls, battling through wasn’t quite what you’d paid for. Still, we were a captive audience by that point, safely ensconced in our seats, away from the box-office staff. Only a few voted with their feet, heading straight back out of the Coliseum, just in time for Steven Gerrard’s goal.

As the first act wore on, it was plain that Steele, clutching a bottle of water, was struggling. He manfully roared out his duet with Quinn Kelsey’s Zurga but the “Je crois entendre encore” aria was painful. It was no surprise when, after the interval, McMurray appeared again to announce that Steele was retiring for the evening, lest he damage his voice permanently.

I read it here.

I just checked out San Francisco Opera’s “everything clause”. It states “Cast, program, prices and schedule are subject to change”.

So there ya go.

15. June 2010 · Comments Off on Just for Fun · Categories: Havin' Fun

… still, I’ll bet the darn squirrel can’t make an oboe reed to save his life.

But who can?

(Thanks to Bob Hubbard for sending this my way.)

15. June 2010 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

Most oboists–especially professionals in orchestras–make their own reeds from cane stalk, which is dried for several years before being used for playing. It takes years to master the trick of obtaining the right slenderness.

Man, I’ve been wishing I could obtain the right slenderness for nearly forever. But I’m not talkin’ oboe reeds. 😉

Drew McManus has posted a response to the Teachout article. It is well worth the read.

I really have enjoyed much of what Teachout writes. Yet I was only sorry, not at all surprised, by his article on regional orchestras. Teachout is a theatre critic. I can’t remember reading about a symphony concert he was dying to attend. I can remember his saying he never wanted to attend another concert that would include certain works. He loves art and loves to talk about the wonderful artwork on his walls. I know he reads, because he’ll share books with us on occasion, and certainly loves to share quotes.

I like to share quotes too.

The problem is that critics have a way of forgetting that many, perhaps most of the people who come to hear a performance of the “Eroica” or see a staging of “The Cherry Orchard” are experiencing it for the very first time.

-Terry Teachout

15. June 2010 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

It’s official. We’re buying Megan a new oboe. Please send your donations to “Dad Can NEVER Retire,” Elgin, SC, 29045. Thanks for your support.

Clarinet or oboe??????????????
Which one is better????????

I play the oboe im just wondering what everyone prefers. What sounds better??/ What looks better?? I love the oboe personally and have been playing it for two years( almost grade 4) 😉