Sunday, April 5, 2009

Well...hello again.

Spring quarter began last Monday, and with it I'm back to writing, reading and commenting. Winter quarter was stressful and a little overwhelming, and I just needed to take that little bit more time for myself. I'm sorry for disappearing for so long without any warning. My last quarter in brief: my academic classes were history, which was unfortunately simplistic, and theory, whose professor was unfortunately difficult to please. I rotated into band, and also into chamber winds. Chamber winds was really enjoyable, and I got to play second in Mozart's Gran Partita, but band was, well, less enjoyable. I did play in the Strauss competition, though I didn't make it to the second round, and unfortunately I didn't get to sub into Also Sprach. But such is life.

My teacher was very distracted all quarter, as a result of planning a "Loree Fest," featuring guest Alain de Gourdon, the head of Loree, and the oboists in the symphony. We had masterclasses, an oboe petting zoo, a couple store booths, and a concert. It was really a lot of fun and quite a success. I played the Sarabande from the unaccompanied Bach suite in the Vade Mecum, and was unusually happy with my performance.

I spent the first month or so of the quarter furiously practicing the exposition of the Mozart concerto, Don Juan, and La Scala for my audition for the Lucca Opera Festival, which is a CCM summer program, though it's open to the wider public. I was incredibly excited at the program and anxious that nothing would go wrong in my audition, playing in masterclass, etc. I was very proud to work up La Scala to 120; I seem to have finally cracked, or at least put a big dent in, my very longstanding tonguing issues. But out of the blue Lucca was cancelled, which left me scrambling to find other summer programs to apply to and other audition material to work up. I ended up applying to Brevard, Chatauqua, Sewanee, and Eastern. I was waitlisted at Brevard and, oddly, Sewanee, but I found out last week that I was accepted to Eastern. I've applied twice in the past to Eastern and gotten waitlisted, so it's fantastic to get it. I'm really looking forward to going.

This quarter, my professor is on sabbatical, so we're being taught by three of the four oboists in the symphony. I end up having 7 lessons with the principal oboist, Dwight, and 3 lessons collectively with the other two. I'm really looking forward to it. I had my first lesson last Monday, which was a little nerve-wracking simply because I'd been out of the country and away from the oboe all of the preceeding week, leaving my out of shape and playing very old reeds. But while I didn't play to the best of my abilities, I didn't outright embarrass myself, which counts for something. I played most of the
unaccompanied Bach sonata we stole from the flutes. Now, the thing about this Bach is that it tends to be very polarizing in terms of interpretations. I've played parts of it for four different teachers now, and they have alternated between interpreting it very Romantically, with a lot of rubato and such, and very straight. I had been working on it with my professor last quarter, and he'd shared my opinion, the former. However, Dwight decidedly does not see the piece that way. I'm having a lot of trouble deciding how I ultimately am going to play the piece, but I'm trying very hard to be able to play it both ways. There are a few things I absolutely refuse to give up, and in one mvt I actually really agree with Dwight, but the rest of it...well, we'll see. I'm grown up enough now to realize that perhaps my teacher does know better than I do, even if I have strong opinions, but I also know that it's all about making your own interpretation, and if you can't convince yourself, you can't convince anyone. I do recognize that his is a musical and valid interpretation. I'm just not sure that mine isn't also. We shall see. It's at least a good exercise for me to play it in what frankly is a much more period appropriate style.

This past week I worked on that, as well as modifying the articulation of the first movement and writing ornamentation for the fourth movement, which has been very difficult. I find it very hard to write ornaments for any music, and Bach (fast Bach, too) is no exception. I have another lesson tomorrow, so I'll see what input he has for me. (My recital is in just over a month, and I'm playing the Bach, Madeleine Dring's Three Piece Suite, and the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Concerto da Camera. I'm nervous, because May 7 seems very, very soon indeed, but I'm really excited about all of the pieces.)

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