Having free time is pretty wild and crazy, and I'm taking advantage of it by being very bad about practicing and making reeds.
Orchestra is finished for the season, we had our last concert on the 13th and then two additional rehearsals, one with the youth orchestra and one reading new compositions from composers at the school. The concerts went brilliantly. Despite the fact that Golijov's Night of the Flying Horses is pretty poorly organized and so not much fun for the orchestra to play, the audience enjoyed it. The cello solo, Schelomo, was gorgeous, and the orchestra part much fuller than is typical for a concerto, so they had fun with that. And the Berlioz. Oh, it was lovely. I thought it went really well at the time, and after listening to the recording I definitely think it was a top performance by us. AS for my solo, on Saturday I got water in my G key, and so on the loudest of the solo, the high A, I burbled. On Sunday, though, there was no water and everything went smoothly. I was really pleased with my playing at the time, and I got cheered by the audience, which was a wonderful surprise, but I have to say, having listened to the Sunday performance on recording, that my vibrato was pretty weak. Still, aside from that I was quite happy with my playing.
At the rehearsal with the youth orchestra we read The Planets. I'd never played the piece before, so I was really excited. We had probably 120 people on the stage- we had to play at the high school in order to have enough room. Of course it was pretty rough, but it was still a lot of fun, and I hope that the high schoolers enjoyed it and maybe even got something out of it. I felt really bad for the girl sitting next to me, who was playing the third oboe part (I was on E horn), because her part was over half bass oboe, which we obviously didn't have for only a rehearsal, and her oboe was having severe and strange water problems the whole night, mostly in the low octave which was of course where bass oboe and third oboe fall. She basically couldn't play anything.
The next Wednesday, which was the final orchestra rehearsal, after which I got a little teary, we read new compositions. It's always hard to do that; we don't get the pieces before hand to look at, and frequently the pieces are quite complicated or unusual. The results can be pretty funny, and I feel bad for the composers, who really want to hear their pieces performed. We do try, but a lot of the time things go wrong, and people get frustrated. I try very hard not to laugh, funny results regardless, because it's so hard for the composers sitting in the audience to know that the orchestra is laughing at the antics of our concertmaster, or because the flutes got very confused, or what have you, and not actually at their piece. We also read through the orchestrations from the class I took this semester, which was interesting. Despite many pre-cautions, a good number of the parts had impossible notes, or were lacking key pieces of information and such. Playing these was made even harder by the fact that my orchestration professor conducted them. He was having a lot of trouble getting enough information across to the orchestra, and he was hard to follow as well. So those pieces didn't go very smoothly, though it was still nice that we were able to play them. It was a little unfortunate that the close of our season was so awkward, though.
Since then, I've been writing very long papers, and otherwise finishing up the year, including fighting with the music department over getting the recording of my recital. Well, less fighting and more being bemused over how long it seems to be taking them to get the recording moved from the office to the music library a whopping two floors down. I was told on Friday that the librarian would come and get it that afternoon, but it's still not there. I want to hear it, and there are a lot of other people asking me for it as well.
I have also, of course, been starting to figure next year out. I have now been officially accepted, and given an 85% scholarship, which means that my tuition costs for a year are around $3350 and makes me very happy. I've started looking for an apartment, and resolved to start actually practicing again, rather than the rather weak imitation I've been doing this last week.
I learned from my friend, who sent me a science magazine in the mail in order to inform me of this, that a certain species of hummingbird makes noise with its tail, which vibrates much in the manner of the reed of a musical instrument. More.
It was my 21st birthday yesterday, and I got a lovely little collection of oboe related things, as well as a couple books and some earrings. I now have sheet music for the Paladilhe Solo and Saint-Saens Sonata, two Moleskine staff paper notebooks, and three new colors of purple thread for reed-making (I may have mentioned before that I can only make reeds with purple thread).