23. August 2010 · Comments Off on Spotted In the Mercury News · Categories: Announcements, Opera

Early alert

Catch a premiere

Opera San Jose soon opens its 27th season with “Anna Karenina,” American composer David Carlson’s setting of the 19th-century novel by Leo Tolstoy. This will be the West Coast premiere of “Anna Karenina,” which opens for eight performances at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose on Sept. 11. It’s the most ambitious production ever attempted by Opera San Jose, with 46 characters
and 19 scenes flowing one to the next, cinematically. Not an easy one to pull off! The opening night cast for this spectacle includes sopranos Jasmina Halimic (one of the company’s new resident singers) as Anna, and Khori Dastoor (no longer a resident, but already back for this important guest spot) as Kitty. Tickets to the $1 million-plus production, which runs through Sept. 26, are on sale now: $51-$101; www.opera sj.org or 408-437-4450.

— Richard Scheinin, Mercury News

Found here.

23. August 2010 · Comments Off on My Apologies! · Categories: Ramble, Symphony

I just realized I had no Sunday @ Noon or Sunday Evening Music yesterday. I’m going to blame it on jet lag combine with a huge does of OldBoeBrain. I hope you will too. 🙂

I have a lot of catching up to do. Normally I have posts ready to go days in advance, but I’ve fallen behind. We’ll see if I can manage to get things together and put up anything of interest.

What? What’s that you say? I frequently post things that wouldn’t be considered “of interest”?

Well, yes, there’s that. Oh well!

Yesterday I spent the majority of the day at Montalvo for the Symphony Silicon Valley concert that featured Lisa Vroman, with doses of Strauss (as in the waltz composer) and Sondheim. I get the feeling Ms. Vroman can sing a variety of styles. She sang opera in the first half (the “Jewel Song” from Faust), and she sang “I Feel Pretty”, “The Glamorous Life” (a song cut from “A Little Night Music”), “Send in the Clowns” and finally, as an encore, sung to her husband of exactly one year (yes, she was singing to him on their anniversary) “A Wonderful Guy”. We played “Die Fledermaus Overture”, “Roses from the South Waltz”, “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka”, “An Der Schönen”, “Blauen Donau”, “Emperor Waltz, the waltz from “The Sleeping Beauty Suite”, “Unter Donner Und Blitz – Polka, and encored with “Radetzky March”.

Yeah … tons ‘o waltzes. But no one danced.

23. August 2010 · Comments Off on Confusing Bocconcini for … maybe Bottesini? Boccherini? · Categories: Read Online

Bocconcini cheese balls mistaken for classical composer

75 per cent did not know that Elgar wrote Pomp and Circumstance, the music for Land of Hope and Glory Photo: GETTY

One in three (33 per cent) have never listened to classical music and three out of four (75 per cent) did not know that Elgar wrote Pomp and Circumstance, the music for Land of Hope and Glory.

More than one in four (27 per cent) did not even know he was a composer.

A small number, four per cent, wrongly identified Bocconcini as a composer.

Well, I wouldn’t have identified Bocconcini as a composer, but I had never heard of it before!


23. August 2010 · Comments Off on Recital Encore · Categories: English horn, Recital Encore, Videos

I received a lovely note (you can read a portion below) from Bryan Walker asking if I’d post his video. I’m more than happy to do this. There are some I might opt to not post, but I think this is worth a listen! Again, I do encourage readers (and reeders) to fill me in on their videos in case I miss some. I can’t always keep up with new videos online.

Here’s what Bryan wrote:

I am frequent reader of your blog and I keenly remember you encouraged your followers to send you links to recital performances. Well earlier this month I attended Tom Stacy’s seminar and I had a friend record my recital performance. I played the 3rd of the Drei Stucke by Jan Koetsier, which was transcribed by Lou Rosenblatt. I put my performance on youtube for 2 reasons, to get feedback on my playing and to get some exposure for this great piece! I would be honored to grace the “wall” of your blog, but if you decided against posting my video I won’t be offended!

It sounds as if Bryan is up for critique. Please, though, be kind if you opt to make criticisms. Me? I am just enjoying it! 🙂

Drei Stucke by Jan Koetsier
Mov. 3: Böhmische Serenade
Transcribed by Louis Rosenblatt
Bryan M. Walker: English Horn
Dr. Teddy Neidermaier: Piano

You can find a few videos on YouTube of ‘Così fan tutte: Some Assembly Required’ … but I’ll post just a couple here for you to view.

This first gives you an example of what was done during the first half of the evening; this is a sample of what the recitative would sound like if the singers were to sing in perfect rhythm what is written rather than the way they are normally done, in the more believable, conversational, flowing way. Note the huge difference!:

I missed this lovely portion of the opera … but you can hear Cory Tiffin on first clarinet, whom I met a year ago when he came to San Francisco

clarinets – Cory Tiffin, Boris Shpitalnik
bassoons – Daniel Liao and Berke Hi
Ferrando – tenor John Carlo Pierce
Guglielmo – baritone Gregory Gerbrandt

I would love to see “Some Assembly Required” become an annual event, doing a different opera each year (I wonder if it might be easier to assemble one that uses a smaller orchestra?) I would love it, too, if Jennifer would have me back. And of course I would love it if it worked with my schedule. (Psst, Jennifer … I rarely have anything in August!) I think this could really grow into something great.

I’ll end with my two faves from Act 1
from Part 1 of ‘Così fan tutte: Some Assembly Required’
at the Gershwin Hotel, Aug 17-22, 2010:

Act I, No. 9 Quintet “Di scrivermi… ogni giorno!”

JAMES BOBICK – Guglielmo

Fiordiligi – soprano Caroline Worra
Dorabella – mezzo-soprano Jennifer Berkebile
Don Alfonso – baritone Dennis Blackwell

Figures there would be no oboes in my faves, eh?

If Dan gets some more pictures to me I might just post them later today or this week at some point.

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

[name here] Cut his finger making oboe reeds. Fail

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

So [name here] already knows this, but I swear everywhere I go in Disney world I hear oboe in the music. *Every where*. Disney loves its oboe.

23. August 2010 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

Psalm 75

In answer to “how do I sharpen a hollow ground oboe knife?”:

I know what you’re talking about and used to study with a symphony player. He was really into making his own reeds, so of course insisted that I do so. I think I purchased a kit through him and perhaps it is around here somewhere, though I’m not sure. I haven’t played much oboe lately.

Anyhow, I studied with him for several years and I don’t ever recall having to sharpen the knife or anything else during that period. The imported bamboo seems as if it would be so much less sharp than a blade, I wonder how much wear there really is.


Yes. You. Must. Sharpen. Your. Knife. A. Lot.


We did “Send in the Clowns” yesterday with Lisa Vroman.

Well, okay … really we are doing it today, but by the time you read this it will be tomorrow, since I only post Sunday music clips on Sunday. So I can’t tell you how Lisa Vroman did it, nor can I tell you what I think will be the case … but several have indicated it’ll be great fun for me to play the English horn solo.


First off, I have been told by management that I am playing second oboe rather than English horn. And I’ve been told that the English horn only plays one number: Sleeping Beauty Waltz. So even IF Send in the Clowns used EH I wouldn’t be playing.

But …

The solo in Send in the Clowns was not originally written for English horn!

How crazy is that? It became popular via the Judy Collins rendition, which switched the solo from clarinet to EH, but I’ll bet you a good amount of money that it will be on clarinet today (yesterday to you!). That’s the way Stephen Sondheim’s arranger wrote it. Trust me; I’ve played the show.

Here’s the version I’m guessing many of you know:

Barbra must have decided it should be on English horn too:

And here is the way it was originally written:

Here’s Mr. Sondheim (no clarinet OR English horn) coaching a student on the song:

And then … this is wonderful! … you get a variety of interpretations, all done by one singer (actress/impersonator Carly Sakolove)!: