23. September 2010 · Comments Off on And Away He Goes · Categories: Conductors, News

Barry Jekowsky, the founder and music director of Walnut Creek’s esteemed California Symphony, will not be at the podium for the 24th-season opener at the Lesher Center on Oct. 3.

The symphony and Jekowsky “are going their separate ways,” according to symphony board President Mike Soza, who confirmed Wednesday to the Contra Costa Times that the symphony had decided to terminate Jekowsky’s contract.

Read that and more here.

23. September 2010 · Comments Off on Thank you, Richard Strauss · Categories: Conductors, Quotes, Videos

Ten Golden Rules For the Album of a Young Conductor

1. Remember that you are making music not to amuse yourself, but to delight your audience.
2. You should not perspire when conducting: only the audience should get warm.
3. Conduct Salome and Elektra as if they wer ebe Mendelssohn: Fairy Music.
4. Never look encouragingly at the brass, except with a brief glance to give an important cue.
5. But never let the horns and woodwinds out of your sight. If you can hear them at all they are still too strong.
6. If you think that the brass is now blowing hard enough, tone it down another shade or two.
7. It is not enough that you yourself should hear every word the soloist sings. You should know it by heard anyway. The audience must be able to follow without effort. If they do not understand the words they will go to sleep.
8. Always accompany the singer in such a way that he can sing without effort.
9. When you think you have reached the limits of prestissimo, double the pace.*
10. If you follow these rules carefully you will, with your fine gifts and your great accomplishments, always be the darling of your listeners.

From “The Golden Rules for the Album of a Young Conductor” (1925)

* Amended in 1948: Today I should like to amend this: take the tempo half as fast. (Mozart conductors, please note!)

… and here he is, excitedly conducting a work he wrote:

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

My daughter had her first concert of the year tonight. She played oboe and trombone (no, not at the same time) 😉 I’m a very proud mommy!

(Interesting combo … I had one student who did this ….)

“If there is anything else in your life other than music that you enjoy, that is what you should pursue as a career.”

Imagine my surprise when my high school oboe teacher (then Principal Oboist of the Baltimore Symphony) said that to me when I told him my plans to pursue music as a career. How could he say that? I had been Principal oboe of my youth orchestra for years, I had been making All-State since the ninth grade, I was a real hotshot in my high school, and knew that I wanted to play the oboe as a career since I was 12…surely he didn’t mean to say such a thing to ME, right? While it hurt to hear those words at that time of my life, years later I realized the depth of his statement (and I also realized the gift that it really was). As time went on, I saw that he had issued a challenge; an inspiration. I sent him a letter thanking him for caring enough about me to prepare me for the road ahead with his honesty.

These words are from Erin Hannigan. She is a successful professional oboist, playing principal oboist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. RTWT

23. September 2010 · Comments Off on Asked Online · Categories: Asked Online

Is there a specific name for classical music that has been remixed in a techno fashion?

I’m looking to add to my music library and I have always enjoyed classical music that has been remixed in a techno fashion. My old favorite was a mix of Greensleeves that I lost years ago. If anyone has some suggestions on albums or artists that work in that style, I’d be thrilled to hear them 😀
Thank you!

23. September 2010 · Comments Off on Reviewing · Categories: Books, Reviews, San Francisco Opera

Most readers know by now that I don’t like to actually do serious reviews; as much as I can be quite critical, I hesitate being open about it. But recently I’ve been given* recordings of a few things and some books, and I think that the companies who provided these are expecting me to review them. So I guess I’ll have to hop to it!

Here are the things I’ve started to listen to and read so far (yes, I have more):

  • Elina Garanca: Habanera
  • Boulez/Vienna Philharmonic/Tetzlaff: Song of the Night
  • Measha Brueggergosman: Night & Dreams
  • Nico Muhly: A Good Understanding
  • Nico Muhly: I Drink The Air Before Me
  • Hahn/Higdon/Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerti
    … and one book (although several have been sent)

  • Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey

I suppose these are the perks of running a blog. Truth is, though, that reviewing takes a lot of time, and it’s also a responsibility one shouldn’t take lightly. I can’t just say, “Don’t like it,” and feel good about things … or can I? Or perhaps, since I sign nothing saying I’m obligated and must review, I should only comment on the things I like. I do like to try and be kind and all that jazz.

It does make me admire the real reviewers out there. The amount of time it takes to truly listen and read — assuming they really do that! — is tremendous. I understand why one that I’ve read on occasion said, “I will not read things if you send them to me. Period.” He’s a big enough name that I’m sure it’s completely his choice about what he chooses to bash review.

At the moment I have Garanca on. But am I truly listening? No. I’m blogging! All I can say at the moment is I hear her and immediately think, “Why did you bag SF Opera for something else?” as we read all about last March. (Not that I was at ALL sorry with her wonderful replacement, Alice Coote!) And I think about the crazy video she has out promoting the recording, which made me not really want to hear it. Watch and see if you agree:

I don’t think I’m their target audience for that one!

I much prefer this video:

As to the Lotfi Mansouri book … heh … while we were at Marriage of Figaro on Tuesday night I wondered (but didn’t check) jokingly if we’d find his autobiography there. I would guess not. At the same time, everyone knows it’s out, and most know he dissed Runnicles, Willie Brown, Pamela Rosenberg, and so many more. So maybe it’s just better to go ahead and put it out there. Dunno. Maybe I’ll look when we attend the next opera. It won’t be this Friday, though; that’s the Opera in the Ballpark event. Oh … but maybe they’ll bring their store to the ballpark too? I’ll probably not get there, though; we’ll be searching for the garlic fries! (I’m guessing it’s more about the experience than the music …?

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

Great, oboe today, I haven’t even played it for 2 and a half months.

23. September 2010 · Comments Off on Beginnings · Categories: Oboe, Videos

… and that’s how it begins (even in this the young oboist is so promising, yes?) … and then it continues …

and continues …

If I’m reading things correctly she is now 14.

It will be so interesting to see where this fine young player winds up!