Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm sorry, I had intended to have another post before my recital, but unfortunately I had a family emergency which took up at least all of my spare emotional time.

In short, both of my dress rehearsals went really well, and I had a reed break-through. We're each allotted 3 hours of dress rehearsal time in our performance space, and I split mine up so that I had one rehearsal a week before, and one a few days later. This was nice because it meant not only that both my professor and one of the symphony guys could come hear me play, but that I had time to process and alter anything specific to the space.

My reed breakthrough was a bit embarrassing, actually. It turns out that I've spent my whole life tying on my reeds backwards. I've always tied reeds "overhand," though with the typical overlap, which means that my tying did not push against the overlap, but rather slid it further to the right. Having fixed this, I'm surprised at the immediate difference. I haven't yet made very many reeds since, but every one I've made has had a distinct low crow, and I can tell that the opening is more stable. I'm very excited; I think this will really make a difference in my consistency.

I was lucky enough, also, in the time leading up to my recital, to have time to work not only with my professor and two of the symphony oboists, but with Petrea Warneck, who has come up for several weeks to give lessons and teach masterclass. I found that working on reeds with her was particularly helpful, as her reed is built a little more similarly to mine than my professor's. For example, both hers and mine are on the longer side. I was hoping to play my recital on reeds which I had made independently, but it turned out that both of the reeds I played on were ones which I had made and Ms. Warneck had polished up. And in the end, I couldn't refuse to play on the best reeds in my box because on (hazy) principal.

I haven't recieved the fair copy of my recital recording yet, but I asked one of the oboists in the studio to record it on my tiny digital camera. Overall, I'm quite happy with how I played, and I thought that I maintained good tone and phrasing even when I was pretty tired, though of course I can nit-pick it to death (tempos, bizarre missed notes, fatigue, tuning slips, etc.). Once I figure out how best to do so, and once I have a chance to listen to a good recording, I will upload a few of the videos (along with more thoughts on them) for anyone who's curious. I'll also post my program notes, which are much less extensive than last year's.

I'm incredibly relieved that my recital is over, but I can't fully relax quite yet; I have an excerpt board on Monday, for which I have to learn excerpts from The Top Ten, plus the exposition of the Mozart Concerto. Luckily, I've played the majority of the excerpts before. I do have to learn the opening of Don Juan, though. I love playing it, but I need to get my tonguing up from 72 to 84.


Patty said...

Congratulations on your recital! I'd love to hear it. :-)

I think it's "safer" for me to read this blog, you know? I'm too old for the other one. ;-)

Rachel said...


Is that picture of you? It's lovely.