Our first rehearsals for this weekend’s concerts begin today. Up until I few days ago I was especially apprehensive about the set. Now I’m only moderately apprehensive.

Prior to getting the roster, I had assumed I was doubling. The only English horn in the concert is in the first work, Dohnanyi’s Szimfonikus percek (Symphonic Minutes), Op. 36. It’s a five movement work. The English horn begins movements 2 and 4 … with solos, of course! As is so darn typical, the part is in the second oboe book, and the player is expected to play second oboe for the other three movements. In both movements one and three the oboe plays to the end of the movement. I suppose Dohnanyi had great faith in musicians, as he writes these major solos for the EH then, with no warm up possible. He’s not the only composer to do this, of course … and it drives me nuts when composers think this is a reasonable thing to ask. But what can you do? It’s there, so we deal.

BUT … the roster showed three of us! How ’bout that? They hired a second oboist, so now, rather than stressing over the switch, I only have to stress about coming in pretty cold after the preceding movements. I don’t believe the first solo will be that difficult. The entrance isn’t on any sort of a tricky note:

Do you see the problem, though? Do you see the low A♯? I don’t have a low A♯ on my horn. (Does anyone? I don’t know if that exists!) I have a low B♭/A♯ extension, but when that’s set to play the low A♯ the B isn’t available. Notice there is a low B a few measures later? That’s a problem. The Maestro said to just leave out the A♯, so we’ll give that a go today and see what he thinks. In my recording the player simply doesn’t enter until the next middle of the next measure (bass clarinet plays the first measure). I’m wondering, though — if the Maestro really does want me on the bar with low A♯s ‐ if it might be better to play the low A♯s and leave off the low B, which only appears once and more people have entered the line by then. We’ll see! (Of course sliding from the low D♯ to the low A♯ isn’t exactly fun, but it is doable.)

The second solo begins on a written low E. (English horn is in the key of F; if I finger a C it will sound the F below that. A low E will sound like a lower A.) Low E is just not a fabulous note on the EH. At least not for me. You can see the solo on the lower half of the page:

So yes, I will probably worry. I hope, though, that I’ll be feeling confident and comfortable. (I can dream, can’t I?)

Of course if things don’t feel great, I just read my little fortune I have taped to my folder. (This fortune applies to all seasons but winter.):

13. October 2010 · Comments Off on Yikes! · Categories: Oboe, Read Online

The oboist was forced to prove his ability, though he had been doing his job for three decades, by taking a “capability test”.

Goodness, this story isn’t a pleasant one.

I thought I would turn to the blogsphere to see what people would be most interested in. So please, send me comments and votes and I’ll let you know which proposal I end up sending. Here are the ideas:
A) Strategies to Combat Performance Anxiety
B) Creating an Effective Warm-up
C) Injury Prevention

Since I know she’s just started her blog and might not get the readership I sometimes get (and by the way, thanks so much for reading!), I figured I’d post part of the blog entry so you can then click on the link and answer her! (Hope you don’t mind, Karen!)

Me? I’d probably go with A … but that’s because I don’t worry too much about warming up (yeah, I’m naughty that way) and I haven’t experienced much injury in my many years of playing. The only injury I really had to deal with was caused by … wait for it … can you guess …

using the computer too much!

Surprise, surprise. Or not.

13. October 2010 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Playing my oboe.. and attempting to make a reed.. wow haven’t made one in years we will see how this works out.. (yeah I’m a nerd)

13. October 2010 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

I really can’t even comment after reading this. I’m trying to stop laughing:

For too long, classical music has been regarded as the domain of instrumentalists, composers, academic musicologists and, typically, anyone over 40 years old. But while the majority of today’s youth would rather listen to Britney Spears’ greatest hits or watch My Chemical Romance on MTV, the view that young people are completely uninterested in classical music is not just erroneous – it’s simply not grounded in historical reality.

Mozart, widely regarded as one of the greatest classical composers of all time, wrote his first symphony at age eight and was dead by the age of 35. Schubert also died when he was 31, while Chopin famously didn’t live past the age of 39. Moreover, the phenomenon of the castrato in classical music in the 1700s shows that young people haven’t just been interested in classical music throughout the years – they’ve practically been canonised as part of a classical music tradition that, although lost, is not forgotten.

13. October 2010 · Comments Off on They’re Doin’ It Again · Categories: YTSO

MTT, Mason Bates … and yes, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra … II. This time? “There are two ways you can audition: submit your video audition for the orchestra or submit a solo improvisation to a piece composed specifically for the orchestra by American composer Mason Bates.”

If I had the energy (nope!), and if I thought I would be accepted (no way), I’d be going to Syndey. Oh well.

Even Joyce DiDonato (one of my absolutely faves!) hopped in to the fun:

Anne-Sophie Mutter is into it as well:

13. October 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Working on a Hip Hop arrangement for Acoustic Bass, Requinto Guitar, Strings, and Oboe in D