Thursday, March 20, 2008


Sorry to be absent so long- after getting back from spring break I had a very busy week and even busier weekend. (Papers, church gig, concerts, work, etc, you know.)

The orchestra started Berlioz rehearsals last night. It's amazing what a difference people's attitudes make in both the energy of a rehearsal and the quality of the music. Everybody's excited about Symphonie Fantastique, and you can tell. I'm playing EH, so I get the lovely solos in mvt 3, and we're doing the oboe not only off-stage but in the balcony. It's a very neat effect, but we'll have to do some placement fiddling because our hall is round and you get a "whispering wall" effect- the oboe sounded much louder than I did. Our conductor passed out Berlioz' exciting Programme, which, if you've never read it, you can find here. Ah, Berlioz.

(If you'd like to hear recordings from my camera under my chair (made at the request of my violist roommate for a sort of experiment) of the 5th mvt Dies Irae, I have two here. I will say that next week we will hopefully be actually playing in tune, and the trumpets will hit at least 3/4 of their notes.)

Speaking of orchestra, our Tchaikovsky concerts were last weekend. Neither were bad, but Saturday's just a little off in many ways. We weren't really prepared, having had spring break in the middle of our rehearsals, and nobody was thrilled with the music. That said, with the exception of one bit in the Tchaikovsky which, according to my string playing friends, nearly fell apart, Sunday's concert actually went quite well. The unfortunate thing about this concert was that while Tchaikovsky is an incredibly emotional composer, I was too concentrated on notes and playing in tune and not missing entrances or key signatures or dramatic dynamics to really get involved. The result was incredibly draining concerts (emotionally and physically) with little satisfaction in my playing. But, as I mentioned, the energy of the group is so much better with Berlioz, and so I think it will be a truly exciting concert.

In other news, I was rejected from Northwestern. As with Temple, I'm not surprised, but I'm more disappointed as I really loved the school and thought it was my best audition. I'm still waiting to hear from CCM and Mannes, which happen to be the two auditions I was least happy with.

I do sort of have exciting news, though. The school's gouger has finally returned! I got a short lesson from my teacher about splitting/pre-gouging/gouging, and I'm pretty proud of my reeds made from tube cane that have resulted. It's a very different gouge from the one I was ordering, which is Jeanne's .48-.60 gouge, and the cane I have seems to have a fairly large diameter, so my reeds have seemed unusually closed and thin, but I'm getting used to it, and I do think I'm going to get a successful reed or two even out of my experimental batch. Plus, it's just so much fun. (Actually the best part was the glee of my roommates
when I let them watch me split and pregouge cane (*bang* "Whoa!" *shove!* "Let me try?") and then let them do some as well.)

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