I found this so lovely, so I’m sharing it … just because!

Victor C. Johnson: Stars I Shall Find
Text by Sarah Teasdale
The Singing Statesmen (University of Wisconsin); Dr. Christopher G. McKinley, Director

The text is here. (I’m not sure if it’s still under copyright or not, so I won’t print it here.)

James McCarthy: If ye love me
Sonoro; Neil Ferris, Conductor

Russell Hepplewhite: How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair
Sonoro: Neil Ferris, conductor

How lovely are thy dwellings fair, O Lord of Hosts.
My soul ever longeth yea fainteth for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
Blest are they that in thy house are dwelling.
They ever praise thee, ever more!

Thomas Tallis: If Ye Love Me
Sonoro; Neil Ferris, Conductor

This lovely video, featuring the tubist Chuck Daellenbach of the fabulous Canadian Brass, is a bit of a fantasy: no, he wouldn’t have checked his tuba (case-less!) and picked it up off the carousel. And no, I’m sure he doesn’t usually put it on an escalator either. But it’s a sweet video.

But it sort of made me teary, too. Because we are back to bad numbers. We are being told, yet again, to mask indoors, yet so many are refusing. Because of this I’m back to staying home from things I wish I could attend … and I had just started back up at my church: but there is no masking required and most people don’t mask. So home I stay. I’m sad.

I have a job in two weeks that is outdoors at a winery, so that should be fine, but we have a 3 hour wait between rehearsal and concert and they are putting us in a little “cottage” at the winery. Me? I’ll most likely end up in my car. They have no vaccination or testing requirements so I’m leery of being in a small room with people I don’t know.

And so it goes … on and on … and on.

I just miss the Before Times so very much.

I’ve had two experiences recently with recording my playing. I must say, hearing myself isn’t pleasant. I know it’s important — people say that over and over. But I just don’t like it. I hear every little mistake, everything I wish I’d done differently.

But it sure is eye opening! (Ear opening, really.) I have a list of things I need to now focus on. Air. Less vibrato. Carrying the phrase through better. And oh so much more.

I have always feared that I’m rather arrogant. (A close family member once told me I was a snob.) I suppose this is all good for me. Nothing to be arrogant about when I hear myself!

The first recording was for a wedding I had played: the microphone to record me hadn’t been switched on (all weddings have an “oops moment” and I think this was that moment for that wedding). For me it was a lesson in, “you thought it was all about you and no one watching the streaming ceremony could even hear you, you silly person! Fortunately the pianist, who is also a great sound guy (thanks Rick!), opted to have me come in and play to the recording so he could then make the recording “complete”. I didn’t care about it for myself, but I did think the wedding couple should have a nice recording! I was more nervous doing the recording than I was playing live. THAT is how recording works for me. Always.

The second, which was for an upcoming job, I had to do on my own and that was a challenge and more than a little unpleasant. I suspect that will be the first and last time I ever do that. My understanding was it was merely so singers could practice to the recording, although I’m not all together sure of that. I wasn’t flawless, but I did the best I could. And it’s done.

Now, though, I am just breathing a sigh of relief: both recordings are done. Over ‘n out. Whew!

This music … it touches me in ways some music can’t. And what a mystery it all is: while this reaches my soul, I know others won’t be moved by it in the least. I find that rather puzzling, but so it goes — I’m sure they have music that hits their gut and I’d scratch my head!

Cristobal de Morales (Valencia 1500 – Marchena 1553) – Missa pro defunctis a 5
Ensemble Biscantores – Luca Colombo, direttore – Milano, Basilica di San Calimero, 15 maggio 2022
00:09 Communio – Lux aeterna
02:29 Lamentationes Jeremiae prophetae – Sabbato Sancto. Ad Matutinum.
11:32 Circumdederunt me
14:06 Jerusalem convertere
16:30 (bis9 Lacrymosa – Pie Jesu
Daniela Beltraminelli, Carolina Intrieri, Chiara Rebaudo, Emma Brambilla soprani
Elena Carzaniga, Camilla Novielli, Edvige Brambilla, Monica Fumagalli alti
Roberto Rilievi, Maximiliano Banos, Gianluca Origgi, Davide Nicolussi, Davide Colnaghi, Niccolo Perego tenori
Marco Saccardin, Alessandro Marchesi bassi
Rosita Ippolito, Luciana Elizondo, Anais Lauwaert, Denise Mirra, viole da gamba

John Stainer: God So Loved the World
TeDeum Chamber Choir; Matthew Christopher Shepard, Conductor

I am starting to teach reed making to a student today. I’ve not done this in a very long time, between Covid and the disinterest of so many students I finally gave up offering group classes. I’m not totally thrilled to teach the craft, as I just don’t find reed making tremendously enjoyable (some people actually do!), but if one is a serious oboe student it is something one must learn. There are many who don’t make their own reeds from scratch these days (sadly there is still a lot of stigma attached to that truth here in the good old USA), but the craft is still essential to learn, so the musician understands how reeds function and also so the player can adjust reeds that are purchased. I’ve never found a reed I’ve purchased something I could simply play without a few little adjustments!

So here I go … I’ve found my Reed Making Manual (I used to have it here for purchase but since no one ever showed any interest I took it down). Wish my student and I luck! Okay, okay, I don’t actually believe in luck, but it’s just something we say … right? ? Perhaps, instead, I should say “wish my student and I good skill!

Have you heard of the composer Freda Swain? I sure hadn’t. But William Wiegus has now introduced her to me. These are so sweet!

From the YouTube Page (and you might want to subscribe to his channel!):

Freda Swain (1902-1985)
Three Whimsies for unaccompanied Oboe (1969)
1. Jig-Jog (0:00-0:45)
2. Lament (0:46-2:11)
3. Reel (2:12-3:14)

William Wielgus, oboe
Home Recording, July 4, 2022

Illustrations of Paddington Bear by Peggy Fortnum

Freda Swain was born in Portsmouth, England on 31 October 1902, the daughter of Thomas and Gertrude (nee Allen) Swain. Her first piano lessons (from age 11) were at the Tobias Matthay Piano School in London, given by Matthay’s sister Dora.] Three years later she went to study composition with Charles Villiers Stanford and piano with Arthur Alexander (1891-1969) at the Royal College of Music] earning awards including the Sullivan Prize in 1921.

In 1924 Swain began teaching at the Royal College and in 1936 she founded the British Music Movement to help promote the efforts of young composers and artists. Swain married Arthur Alexander in 1921, and before World War II the couple toured South Africa and Australia, lecturing, broadcasting and performing recitals. They were both on the founding board of the Surrey College of Music from the mid-1940s. From 1942 they lived in a bungalow on Chinnor Hill in Oxfordshire. Freda Swain died on 29 January 1985.

Swain wrote some 450 pieces, piano and chamber music as well as many songs, but also opera and orchestral works, including two piano concertos and a clarinet concerto. Few were performed aside from a series featured in the NEMO Series of concerts that Swain herself founded after the wa Her first major success was The Harp of Aengus for violin and orchestra (after the Yeats poem), with soloist Achille Rivarde at the Queen’s Hall in January 1925. The solo Violin Sonata was premiered by May Harrison at the Wigmore Hall on 8 December, 1933. Her ‘Airmail’ Piano Concerto, mailed in instalments to her husband Arthur Alexander while he was stuck in South Africa during World War II, was performed by Alexander in Cape Town. She composed a one-act opera Second Chance, but left two other operas incomplete.

Piano compositions include three large scale piano sonatas and 40 or so other works for solo piano, including many educational pieces. There is also a substantial cello sonata, two violin sonatas (one with piano, the other unaccompanied), two string quartets, a piano quartet, a sextet with horn and clarinet, a Suite for Six Trumpets and many other chamber and instrumental pieces.

Swain’s surviving manuscripts were handed down to her pupil and friend David Stevens, founder of the Swain-Alexander Trust. In turn they were passed on to Swiss pianist Timon Altwegg in 2005, who has begun recording the piano works for Toccata Classics.

(Information from the Wikipedia article on Freda Swain)