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Showing posts from January, 2017

A Christmas Miracle

Right at the end of last year, right as I was sailing into the last Holiday Pops concert of a long season, I made a reed.  It was a good reed - one of those reeds that is good right away, so I didn't have to wonder or waste time fussing.  I liked it as soon as I made it.  It had a perfect balance of resistance and response, the sound was rich and vibrant, and it did what I wanted without having to be forced.  It was even colored just right for a holiday pops concert.







I played four services on that reed - one right after another, for three days - and it never required an ounce of maintenance.  No cleaning, no polishing, no refine-the-corners-again-and-clip, no worries at all.  Just soak it up and play all the music.  I called it my Christmas Miracle.

Subsequently I took a couple of weeks off, and when I came back in January it was STILL a great reed.  I recorded an audition CD on it.  Played it on a Mozart concert.  Put it away for another few weeks and then used it for our excit…

CD Release Event

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has bought and heard my new CD, and who has called or emailed or "facebooked" to let me know about it.  I'm so grateful and so pleased to hear from you - THANK YOU!  I'm sharing a few comments here...

My friend Dimitri put a great big long comment and review on my previous post about this- and I thought I might share it more widely here because I loved it so:

Finally I received the recording of the oboe pieces performed by my peerless friend Jennet Ingle. These pieces, a delight in themselves in any concert, had been written for other instruments, but Jennet, in a moment, (actually many moments) of creative enthusiasm rearranged them for the oboe. Her own oboe. And she performed them in various venues, and I was fortunate enough to follow their creative evolution from the first performance to the completed CD.
After I listened to the recording a couple of times I started, as I had intended, to listen to the music on their origin…

Upcoming Concert - MLK Day Celebration!

The South Bend Symphony's MLK Day concert will be tomorrow night.  As always, my favorite thing about this event is the new music we get to perform.

This year we are featuring a 1991 work by Michael Abels, Global Warming.  I had presumed from the title that the work was about climate change, and I was on board with that message.  But as I worked on my part, it just seemed too chipper and cheery, too folksy and happy for that.  So I did my research.  

Abels is quoted as saying:

"Global Warming was written around the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, when the Cold War was ending. Living in Los Angeles, I've been able to learn about music from around the world simply by opening the window; among my neighbors are immigrants from every corner of the world. I was intrigued by the similarities between folk music of divergent cultures, and decided to write a piece that celebrates these common threads as well as the sudden improvement in international relations that was oc…

Upcoming Concert

The South Bend Symphony has a concert this afternoon. We're playing Mozart, which of course is always great stuff. Don Giovanni Overture and Symphony no. 40. I have no complaints.

But the star of the show is Scott Metlicka, our piccolo player, featured in the Liebermann Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra. It's a beautiful piece - romantic and flowing. It sounds like pastoral movie music one minute, and in the very next it becomes a virtuoso flourish for the piccolo. I'm really enjoying hearing and playing it.

The great thing about Scott's playing is that he really makes the piccolo sound like an instrument.  Far too many people play this tiny flute like an unpleasant toy, but the Liebermann Concerto is a real piece of music, and Scott gives the picc a real range of color, and a range of dynamic. He phrases on the thing. The piece is virtuosic but also rhapsodic and beautiful, and for me it's the highlight of the concert.

Come on out and see for yourself!  Sunday at…

New Tool!

Happy New Year, everyone! I know I fell off this blog at the end of the year - the schedule got overwhelming and getting my CD released took up a lot of my time.  But I'm back now.  I love the oboe, I love writing, and I love you all.

Over the holiday Steve and I visited the Smoky Mountain Knife Works.  It's on that giant, congested strip of attractions in Sevierville, TN, and it's a very... outdoorsy store, so I didn't have high expectations of finding anything for me.  But ooooh we had a great time.  I've never seen so many knives and tools and the staff were super knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and we were there for hours learning and shopping.

The inexpensive folding pocket reed knife I purchased didn't end up working out for me.  It had the right shape, and I loved the size, and I felt like a real bada$$ whipping it out of my pocket to scrape a reed - but once I started really working I couldn't keep an edge on it and fell out of love pretty …