20. July 2010 · Comments Off on Another Merola Review · Categories: Merola, Opera, Reviews

Janos Gereben from San Francisco Classical Voice.

20. July 2010 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

school tomorrow… oboe lesson during maths. i have two words. oh. and yeah!

20. July 2010 · Comments Off on Yes. · Categories: Other People's Words

Honestly, if I had to choose to listen to only one genre of music for the rest of my life, I’d pick classical. It embraces multitudes and goes places no other genre does. But I don’t have to pick, and so I get to love go-go, hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul, and any other music that grabs my little heart. No one else in this modern world has to pick either, and they’re not going to listen to anyone who tells them that they have to.

So can we get off this? Please? Forever? Instead, I pledge to tell people what I find so exciting about classical music, hopefully in novel and vivid ways, and celebrate performances that generate just that kind of excitement. That’s what it’s all about!


(Thanks to a tweet from “mlaffs” for alerting me to the blog entry.)

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. I’m tired of the “This is better than that” thing. I don’t mind “This is different than that”, because that’s just true. But comparing classical music to pop music to determine which is “better” just seems silly and unproductive to me. (It does go both ways; I’ve heard pop music lovers do the same thing, so don’t think it’s just us classical music slobs snobs who do this!)

What a goofy way to spend one’s time. It’s not like, say, comparing milk chocolate to dark and knowing full well milk is waaaay better. 😉

But really now, if we could get off the comparison thing, and if we could get off the “it’s dying” or even, “it’s already dead” thing, and if we could just enjoy what we like and maybe even get others to listen a bit, well, wouldn’t that be a bit more enjoyable? Some will like what I like. Some won’t. My kids play “their” music for me. Some I like. Some I don’t. I can live with that.

Tom Service writes about a concert that featured the iPad in an encore. The pianist is reading the music from the machine. I’m okay with that, but I do think that perhaps the soloist just wanted to use it for fun. It hardly seems as if he wouldn’t know that piece already!

That being said, of course people have already been using some sort of computer devices for reading music. The iPad is new, but using some sort of gizmo (yeah, I just used “gizmo” … I kind of wanted to, okay?) for reading music isn’t. Hugh Sung has been blogging about this for a long time now (Hmmm. The blog I used to visit is awfully out of date. I’ll have to look for another!). I seem to recall some jazz singer uses some sort of tablet for his entire band.

Me? I still love sheet music. Mostly because it doesn’t crash.

The pianist playing his encore:

Hugh Sung talks about what he uses:

Of course nothing beats this:

20. July 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

I’m so happy that I play the oboe… #OBOE

I sometimes talk to my students about the different way musicians play. We talk about different reeds, different embouchures, and we also talk about movement. It seems that we in the US tend to move less than musicians from other countries. In some US orchestras the oboists don’t even seem to budge. I’ve seen videos of orchestras from Europe and all the musicians are moving, and not in any uniform sort of way sometimes. When I explain the differences to my students I show them how stilted we can sometimes look, and how wildly other players move. They laugh at both. Being completely still can look rather odd, especially when we are playing something extremely expressive. Moving around can be a bit crazy too. I suspect they don’t quite believe me when I attempt to demonstrate just how much someone might move around (probably because I don’t sound very good when I do that). I’m a bit of a mover — I’m certainly not completely still. I used to move even more, but I think I’ve toned it down. It could be because I do so much second oboe playing in symphony; I don’t care to move as much or more than the principal, as that seems inappropriate.

I’ve just located an enjoyable video with an oboist who moves quite a lot. Maybe now my students will believe me! (And he sounds great, if you ask me.)

20. July 2010 · Comments Off on That’s A Big Orchestra · Categories: Read Online

It might be called The Street Orchestra, but it’s got nothing to do with hobos banging out Shostakovich on trashcans. Nope, it’s a cute little iPhone app produced at the behest of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. It’s basically Tap Tap Revolution or Guitar Hero, except it’s free, the focus is strictly classical and, amazingly, you can sync the game with up to 200,000 other players to create some kind of hellish wireless orchestra.

I’m not sure how many years of study are required. I suspect … um … none.


20. July 2010 · Comments Off on Here’s A Review Headline For You · Categories: Reviews

REVIEW: Sting’s newest album, ‘Symphoniticies’ not as awful as expected

I didn’t even read the review … but ouch!