A MUSICIAN whose rare £4,500 oboe was stolen after burglars crawled through a dog flap at her home has been reunited with her beloved instrument.

Rachel Kilby’s prized oboe was stolen from her home in Roath, Cardiff, on Pancake Day, along with two laptops and a Wii games console.

Detectives believed a child may have climbed through the small kitchen dog flap – measuring about 40cm by 40cm – before letting others into the property from the inside.

But police have managed to recover the rosewood oboe after carrying out enquiries over the weekend.

The instrument was found at a shop in the City Road area, where unsuspecting staff bought it for £100 – just 2% of its actual value.

Ms Kilby, head of the music service in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly councils, said she was delighted her oboe had been found.

The 41-year-old said: “I was absolutely elated. I guess I had been fairly hopeful because it’s quite a distinctive instrument that it would turn up, but you never know.”

I’m very happy for the oboist, but mostly what I have to say is PANCAKE DAY?! I want a pancake day here in the USA!


05. March 2012 · Comments Off on Um … Okay Then … · Categories: Read Online

I just read this on Answers dot com (whatever that is … I’m guessing some sort of spammy page so no link here):

How often should you clean an English horn?

About 3 hours every day and 5 times a week

What are the differences between an oboe and a clarinet?

The oboe is a completely unique instrument and is in the woodwind family of musical instruments.

I read that first line and cracked up. So the clarinet is not a completely unique instrument and isn’t in the woodwind family? Hmmm?

It goes on …

It is classified as a double reed instrument, and is a descendent of the shawm. The shawm was an instrument which was popular prior to the appearance of the first baroque oboe, which was called a ‘haut bois’ or ‘high wood’ instrument.

Oboes are made of wood and, as such, produce a much stronger sound than that produced by brass wind instruments, the sound being produced by the musician blowing air through a thin double reed which is located at the upper end of the instrument.

The sound which is produced from an oboe is softer than a clarinet. The sound emanating from a clarinet is more in the high register range and, if it was to be compared with any instrument, may well easily be compared to a trumpet.

The article is longer, but I’ll leave you with that.

I hope you feel smarter now.

05. March 2012 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Today I experienced nirvana when I made my own functioning oboe reed. I then came crashing down when I decided to tweak it and made it sound like a gagging duck.

05. March 2012 · Comments Off on The Cyber Conductor · Categories: Havin' Fun

Fun and clever …

(March 5, 1887 – November 17, 1959)

05. March 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I will not link to it, but if you’ve read this blog long enough perhaps you’ll recall my very (very very very) pathetic post about blowing it when I last played Mahler 4 a few years back. No, not blowing it as a reed player must blow through her horn, but blowing it as in my “FingerBrains™” went haywire on the second to last entrance of the last movement while playing English horn. It was only seconds of misery, but I was devastated. The second performance went fine, and I at least had that to hang on to, but when I walked off stage after that second performance I told several friends, “I will never play this work again.”

I had had it.

I’d played the work twice before that catastrophic set. (Yeah, I know, it’s not all about me … except that in my own little world it actually is!) The first time I played it I was extremely young, and I had no idea it was a tough part for English horn. When the Maestro signalled for me to stand and take a bow after we had finished I didn’t even realize he was pointing to me! (I wish conductors would mouth our instrument names — sometimes it’s tough to see who they are pointing to and I’m the sort who assumes it’s someone else being acknowledged.) The second time I struggled and I was well aware that it was a scary and tricky part, due to the ppp marking and being nearly alone at the end. At that point I thought, “I don’t think I want to play this again,” but I went ahead and did it that third time.

And that third time was most definitely not the charm. That was when I vowed never to play it again. That was when I thought there was a curse on me regarding that work.

Okay, maybe not exactly a curse. But I was haunted by the darn thing. It scared me far too much. I was done with it. Until I got the call from Barbara Day Turner.

Perhaps it was because I was on vacation when she sent me the email. Perhaps it was because I adore playing with San Jose Chamber Orchestra and I love the smaller venue. But I said yes. Perhaps it’s because I do love Mahler’s fourth, even while I have been so haunted by it. No matter the why of it, I’m just extremely glad I did say yes.

I didn’t fall flat on my face. I think I played well. I am not going to tell you what I didn’t like about my playing for once; I’m attempting to only focus on the positive. (How surprising is that? How long will this last, I wonder?!) I absolutely loved playing the slow movement. During that movement I’m on oboe (if you recall this is a very reduced orchestra and we only have one of each of the woodwinds) and I do love the oboe part! It’s what Dan might call “PattyMusic” as it’s expressive and I get to shape things and take my time. The switch to English horn, with all of four measures to move to the ppp grace note G# to F# passage went fine. (And no, I opted NOT to play the passage right before that on EH. I just braved the quick switch and trusted that my EH reed would cooperate!)

So it was a fun concert. It was challenging. I was tired after, and my hands certainly felt clammy, but I made it. I am thinking I might be able to put that last Mahler debacle a bit further back in my brain. (I can never fully get over those. Some people only remember the good moments. My memory works better with the negative stuff. Go figure.) I feel as if the curse has been broken!

I’m not sure I’ll play it again, though. Maybe I should leave it at this, eh?

05. March 2012 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

I have two days to learn and memorize the B-flat Chromatic Scale on my oboe. Pray for me!

05. March 2012 · Comments Off on This is Wonderful! · Categories: Opera

The Progression of Recitative