11. August 2010 · 5 comments · Categories: Videos

… and I’ve always used my fingernail. But still, this is news you might be able to use:

And of course we all know they are the most intellectual musicians in an orchestra … um … right? 😉

In keeping with their appearance, bassoonists are among the most intellectual members of the modern symphony orchestra. The bassoon’s origins are shrouded in mystery, and they are often used to comical effect in music from Haydn to Hitchcock. Bassoonists always know what’s going on in an orchestra, and they are often fond of gourmet mushrooms.

… well, now I know what to buy my bassoonist friends when I need to get them a gift. Mushrooms!

And then there’s this:

Those of us interested in theater read the articles in the paper and the program notes to find out about director Achim Freyer’s take on the Ring. Those of us who can see the stage watched to take in the production and the acting, and of course that helps us to know better what to do musically. It’s very strange that in an endeavor supposedly melding different art forms, the orchestra usually knows very little about the dramatic approach. And I would guess that the lighting people know very little about our concerns.

On the other hand, James Conlon, like many conductors, does speak to the orchestra about the characters and the story, and he connects them to the music we’re rehearsing. He might pause to tell us part of the story in order to explain why he wants a certain expressive character or a certain sound in a passage.

… hmmm. I’ve never had a conductor talk to us about the characters. I would love it if they would!

Do read the whole thing!

11. August 2010 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

[name here] is frustrated with the sluggishness of my internet. My oboe reeds soak faster than my internet loads- they had a race and the reeds won!

I worked at a bookstore (Books Inc., to be exact) in the 70s. I loved that job! I read lots of books, had fun, and I certainly met some interesting people. There was one guy who came in to purchase what I think of as “fancy books” — the leather bound, gold leaf page things. He didn’t even seem to care what the book was, so we were fairly sure it was all for show. There were a couple of fantasy lovers who wore rather bizarre outfits. We had signings (I have a book signed by Ray Bradbury. I never took advantage of that again, as I wasn’t really into all the science fiction writers that filed through.) And I remember another worker there warned me about the parents. She said, “They will come in and their child will either be incredibly and uniquely smart, reading FAR beyond level, or be incredibly, uniquely slow, not reading all all.” She was right; there were no average or un-unique (I know, I know, that’s not a word!) children in our area.

But the best ones were the folks who came in and said, “I am looking for a book and I don’t know the title, but it was green.” Yes. Really. Or “I heard about a book on the radio today. Do you have it?” And “It’s about a woman who falls in love with a man” or some such thing. Believe it or not, we could come up with the book much of the time. We were just that good! 😉

So when I read the following it reminded me of my bookstore days. You’ll see why, I’m sure:

What Is This Piece Of Exotic Classical Music?

I’m trying to find the name of this famous piece of music which is often played on television against a luxury setting such as holidays in the south of France etc. The airliner BMI even played it when we landed in Nice, France. I would also associate it with the 1960’s although I might be wrong there!
I’d describe it as a relaxing piece of music. A flute is playing and there are strings in the background.

So figure THAT one out, will you?

11. August 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

[name here] *plays F on oboe* otis whines and makes a groaning sound then barks

11. August 2010 · Comments Off on Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey · Categories: Ramble

I had heard about Lotfi Mansouri’s new book, but I’ve yet to pick up a copy. I do plan on reading it (it would be great plane material if it was already in paperback, but I am fairly certain it’s not. Joshua Kosman interviewed him … here’s a snippet:

Q: In the book you speak quite frankly about some of the people you’ve crossed paths with over the years. Did you have any trepidation about burning bridges?

A: Before I began this, I read a lot of autobiographies to get the hang of it. Some that really impressed me were from the theater, by people like Arthur Laurents or Elia Kazan. I found them to be honest, not vicious.

Then read a lot from the opera world, and they were very superficial – going to the cast parties and kissie kissie huggie huggie. I didn’t want that. Just one time in my life I didn’t want to be hypocrite; I didn’t want to hurt anybody, but just to tell the truth.

Q: In a way, what’s interesting is not so much what you say about people like Runnicles – because the bad relations between the two of you were never a secret – but the more ambivalent subjects, like your disappointment over André Previn’s score for “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

A: Well, rather than being a pollyanna, I tried to find the right balance between honesty and extolling the good qualities. And about “Streetcar,” I knew I had to tell the truth, which is that it was not 100 percent what I had hoped for.


… is in The New Yorker!

Read it here

Gotta love Così! The overture is quite fun to play. It’s interesting to hear the different takes on YouTube. The tempi can vary greatly. I prefer the first part sort of slower, but not death-like, and then the second tempo is fun to play when it flies! All my opinion, of course, and I can’t say what Jennifer Peterson will be doing … but I’ll certainly do whatever she asks! I’m quite excited about this.

I do know we won’t play it like this first clip 😉