Sunday, July 22, 2007

I love playing in pit orchestras.

So it's convenient that on Tuesday I get to sub for Ashlawn Opera on principal oboe for a rehearsal of La Boheme. I''m so excited- Ashlawn is a real opera company, even though they only play during the summer, and outside. They have really good musicians, including several of the performance professors from UVA. Plus, it's La Boheme, which is a gorgeous and musically exciting show. Of which I now have a copy of the oboe part. (Also, since it's a professional group, they're paying me for the rehearsal.) So I'm taking off of work to drive down to C'ville and play the rehearsal, and then driving back up.

On Saturday morning, under Lorrie's supervision, I took all the keys off of my oboe, oiled them, and then put them back on. It was pretty cool, though it can be disconcerting: some of the keys look very mysterious out of context. But if I did it another time or two, I'd be pretty confident of my ability to do it by myself. Which is a plus, since my teacher is hopeless with oboe repair, and I don't trust the woodwind repair man down in C'ville.

(I gave my instruments to her on Tuesday, not expecting to be doing all this myself, and didn't get my oboe back until Saturday. Which means no practicing for THREE DAYS. I was so cranky by Friday night.)

Lorrie can be such a generous person: I was at her house for 4 and a half hours, had my oboe checked over, and got a reed (she tried to make me a second, but the other pieces of cane did not cooperate), all for free.

And the reed! It's amazing. Extremely free-blowing, in tune all the way up and down the scale. You hardly need an embouchure, just the appropriate placing of air. You could play for hours on a reed like that. However, she was using a new gouge, the middle became too thin and then the rest to balance it, so I'm not sure it'll hold up for a whole opera rehearsal.

But my reeds are behaving quite well also. (Knock on wood.) And I'm trying to incorporate some of her techniques into mine.

Here are some comparative photographs.

One of Lorrie's reeds (again, thinner and more extreme than is possibly usual, but a good idea of her technique):


























One of my reeds (perhaps with a slightly shorter heart than usual):














1 comment:

Patty said...

Ooh ... what a wonderful opera to get to play! It's one of my faves. Such fun principal oboe stuff. Enjoy!