Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hello again...

It wasn't until late last night that I realized I hadn't talked about my Temple audition last Monday in here. The audition was better than the one at CCM, but not as good as that at Northwestern. I auditioned in a recital hall, the acoustics of which, while gorgeous, made it very difficult to tell how I actually sounded in the hall, with the four auditioners sitting in the audience. That was a little intimidating. I did my two Ferling etudes, the first page of the Mozart, about half of Poulenc, Bach and Tombeau excerpts. It was hot on stage, or I got nervous and picked a tempo too slowly for my rather long slow etude, so I got out of breath near the beginning and ran out of breath very rapidly the rest of the audition. Also, my reed decided that it couldn't play louder than a mezzo-forte, which was obviously unfortunate for the Poulenc's dynamic range. But I think my tone was very good, and my fingers and tongue were behaving, so I was pleased. If I had been able to actually have dynamic range I would have been very happy indeed with my performance.

I didn't like the school as much as I liked either CCM or Northwestern. It felt very sterile, although that was in part because the building was deserted and in part because they didn't really seem to care about the auditions. There weren't any sort of informational meetings, or even helpful flyers, and the only people there to help were one lady at the desk and one runner. However, I didn't get to go over to what is apparently the main music building, so perhaps I got a skewed view of it all. I also thought that the general impression that Temple is in a bad part of town is exaggerated. I mean, the area wasn't midtown, like, say, Penn, but it was fine.

This morning I had an audition at GMU, which I was quite nervous about. In part that was because I know the teacher (have known her since I was in high school), and I very deeply respect her opinion. It was also in part because GMU is my "safety school," and it would have been very unfortunate for me to screw up that audition. However, I was quite happy with how I played. I didn't get to play very much at all, just the slow etude and about 3/4 of the Paladilhe, and I had a couple finger blurps and at one point my reed got bizarrely spitty, but the auditioners (Lorrie and two others) were quite complimentary in a way that makes me cross my fingers very optimistically. But I in no way want to jinx it, so I'll move on.

On Tuesday I demonstrated oboe and English horn for my Orchestration class, which was quite fun, despite the fact that my presentation was fairly unplanned. (I got back from Temple at about 8:30 at night on Monday.) The professor was helpful about making sure I covered all the necessary things, and I got to show off a tiny bit and rant about all of the misconceptions about the oboe, especially those in our textbook.

I had the first rehearsal of the Bax quintet on Wednesday, and despite the fact that we were all having a lot of trouble counting (it was the first rehearsal, and it's a difficult piece to put together), it was brilliant.
There are things that you can do with strings that you just can't with winds, and in my opinion they're pretty much all of the best things, really. My quartet makes me incredibly happy, because I have all of these really great players! And they're playing in my recital and making me sound good! In a beautiful piece! It makes me grin like mad and sometimes make odd squeaking noises.

I've not been having very good reed luck at all lately; all of my cane seems to split easily, or be very spongy or very hard, and so I'm getting a lot of slightly bizarre reeds. However, thus far I've managed to have a reed that was not only playable but which sounded nice for my audition Monday, class Tuesday, rehearsal Wednesday, lesson Thursday, orchestra Wed-Fri, and audition today. So I figure I can't complain too much. And again, I don't want to jinx my luck. (Now, if I could have more than two working reeds at all times, I would truly be happy.)

Speaking of orchestra, we have our concerts this weekend. I'm playing in Firebird, which I love so much that I have to watch my facial expressions. Players should look happy and enthusiastic, but insane grins are a bit much. Last night I showed up at rehearsal to find that the second oboist for the Brahms piano concerto was sick with a fever, so I subbed in. (Sight-reading the whole thing. Take that, Northwestern. Also, I didn't have to sight-read at my audition, but Lorrie said something along the lines of "And she can sight-read like crazy.") I have yet to find out which of us will be playing it at the concert tonight. It's a gorgeous piece, and has a really good second oboe part.

Oh, I nearly forgot. I opened up the paper on Friday and looked at the crossword puzzle and found this:

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