Sunday, January 27, 2008

At least the narrator didn't actually say "mournful" or "melancholy oboe"

Today I played Peter and the Wolf with the city high school orchestra, who got to play in the Paramount Theater (aka a real theater which has concerts, and theatre, and dance, etc.) in a fundraising/ children's concert, and I had a lot of fun. The orchestra was quite good for high school, the theater was good acoustically and also gorgeous, the winds, all of whom were hired from around town, were great, and I played well on top of it all. (I actually got two compliments about my playing: one from a French horn who complimented me on my dark sound, and one from the conductor, who said I played the part best of anyone she'd had in their five years of doing this concert.) The best part, however, was that after the concert they had an "instrument petting zoo." It was actually the first time I'd done something like that, and it was great. The kids were so cute and small and adoring. It was a little awkward when they wanted to touch all over my oboe, or play it, or when the parents told them the wrong name, but that was all made up for in the kids' utter enthrallment with all of the instruments. Here's to building the future of classical music!

In other news, the duduk is coming to UVA! An Armenian group is coming in February and doing a concert, a dance workshop, and an instrument demonstration. I'm quite excited; I plan on missing class to go to the demonstration (because of course they're holding it in the middle of the morning).

My music classes, Post-Tonal Analysis and Orchestration, are both shaping up nicely. Analysis makes my brain hurt a little bit, but it's interesting and an area I don't know very much about. Also, my oboe teacher is in the class, as it seems he needs one more 400 level class in order to get his doctorate. Orchestration is pretty awesome, especially the instrument demonstration parts- we had our principal second violin come in and talk/show some string instrument specific effects and techniques. The book for that class is pretty great, because while it is indeed informative and easy to understand, it's also given to statements of blatant obviousness (did you know that it's possible to write out a score and parts in either pencil OR pen? and that people also now sometimes use computers and can even input the notes into a computer themselves instead of hiring someone to do it? This book was written in 2002.) and bias (it describes oboes in a passage which reads "In addition to being an uncommonly taxing instrument, the oboe is a sensitive and somewhat unpredictable one as well. Notes must be humored and cajoled; the reed is delicate and must be "just so"; temperature and atmostpheric conditions can produce unexpected and disastrous results. In short, the oboe is something of a temperamental
prima donna."). I have in fact already deeply annoyed my roommates with the number of things I've just had to read to them out of the book.

Oboe-wise, I have another audition (Temple) a week from Monday, for which I'm playing two Ferlings, the first mvt of Mozart and the first mvt of Poulenc, and excerpts. I've also started working on my recital program, specifically the second mvt of Poulenc and the Bax. I'm quite excited to start working with my strings. That is, once we figure out a time when we can all five be in the same place.

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