Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Unrepentant oboe geek. :-)

When I last ordered something from amazon, back at the end of August, I also bought the Tabuteau lesson CD. It FINALLY came at the end of last week. I haven't actually listened to it yet, but I'm very excited to.

After last week's lesson, when I ran out of things to play, I was assigned a Gillet etude, the first movement of the Mozart Concerto, and Paladilhe's Solo de Concert as well as working on Le Api and the Berio Sequenza. (I'm kind of just humoring my teacher with that last one.) I really like the Paladilhe, although I'm having trouble with some of its phrasing, but the Mozart is pretty much just really hard. If there's one thing that's not my strong point, it's graceful fast tonguing. (Plus I'm just not a Mozart person in general.) But my lesson will be helpful with that.

Of course, I'm not particularly looking to my lesson. Not because I'm not prepared, though certainly not everything's really ready, but because all of my reeds spontaneously died today. They all became very spongy and unable to play above a mezzo-forte. This, plus I'm trying to get a really good reed together to send to my "reedpal" in Germany. I tied on more today, but they won't be ready to play on in my lesson tomorrow.

I did have an exciting musical experience this weekend, though. I went and saw a free simulcast of the Washington National Opera's La Boheme. I was really excited to see it, both because of my experience this summer and because I'd heard that it was a really edgy production.
My impressions of it:

First off, you could tell that the director was from Eastern Europe. The costumes!

Second, well, it was certainly edgy and unconventional. The cafe scene was staged with lots of cross-dressing and sequins and whips and two guys who had neon tennis balls glued all over their suits. And I think it's pretty cool that they put the opera on staged like that. But...I didn't really like it, at least during the second act. (I feel traitorous to liberal artists saying that, but it's still true.) Because the director was being shocking just for the sake of being shocking. The second half, though, I really enjoyed- I was actually kind of surprised, because of how the first act really rubbed me wrong, but sometimes it just takes me a bit to get over being shocked. Also, the second half was a lot less noticeably "modernized".

They did a really good job with the simulcast. I mean, I wished that they had had more comprehensive subtitles (an opera pet-peeve of mine), and sometimes the camera work was a little much, and it was unfortunate that the singers were overloading the mics, but still.

Plus, the singers were good. Rodolfo, Marcello, Musetta, Mimi (I liked her voice even though it wasn't quite as good as Musetta's and though I didn't really care for her acting.), everyone was very, very good.

And the ending always gets me. It's so sad.

All in all, I just love La Boheme. It's such a fun show, really, but it's emotional, too. All the benefits of both comedy and tragedy, in one. :-D

I also watched parts of Porgy and Bess, but the DVD was having problems, and wouldn't play after about halfway through. It was interesting to watch, because I'd never seen it, though I was familiar with some of the more well known music. However, my experience was disrupted by two girls in my class who snickered at everything.

Another very cool oboe book: The Oboe, by Geoffrey Burgess. It's full of the history of the actual instrument, performance practice, and the use of oboe in solo, chamber, and orchestral music. Plus, it has some pictures of old and experimental instruments.

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