Thursday, December 10, 2015

11 years!!

Yesterday was the 11th year anniversary of the first time I ever played oboe.  Though my total playing time is less than that because I basically took 4 years off during the whole baby stage, that day is always special to me as it was the beginning of the rest of my life.

I will never forget how humbly I approached the instrument and how very low my expectations were.  It seemed like such a daunting task that I thought I would never get out of my basement and would be playing along with music minus one CDs for at least two decades.  I wonder how 2004 me would have reacted if I could go back and tell her that within the same week I'd play in three different orchestras, a wind ensemble, AND a woodwind quintet?  I think she would have never believe it.  Hopefully she would take my advice to get the embouchure right from the get go.

I just wrote a super long email to my teacher recapping my two concerts from this past weekend.  Since I keep wanting to come back to chronicling my journey on here I figured I can just paste it as a post:

Sooooo I made it through my crazy musical weekend mostly unscathed.  For MV saving myself and only playing out during my exposed parts at the pre-concert rehearsal worked.  I didn't tire my embouchure for the concert itself like I did back in May.  We played at the chapel instead of the castle as we usually do.  The chapel has strange acoustics.  The sound disappears out in front of you and you can't hear the strings at all.  Our wind sounds felt dead and didn't seem to resonant, but there was a piece with singers in it and they sounded great.  

Anyway so the Moldau went fine, without any hiccups.  Though I think that now that there are two second oboes they ate me up.  In general when hearing back the crappy phone recording my brother made my oboe playing sounded tentative the entire time.  I didn't make mistakes with the notes but my sound was somewhat "anemic". 

Karelia went ok!!  I managed to play those A's and B's in the second movement quietly and in tune.  In the section that follows where I play with clarinet the second oboists were again a bit loud so it didn't really have the ephemeral quality I was going after.  

My solo that starts with that long G was fair.  My initial attack on the G was too forceful and a bit late but then the rest of the long G grew well.  The long pretty section after that where I am with the strings went well.  When I put my oboe down and went to pick up the English Horn the horn caught the string of my swab, which I had stupidly hung from the stand.  I tried to get it to come out but it was tangled inside whatever the lowest key is.  I had a second to decide what to do and I decided to just try to play it because I was pretty sure that key never gets activated and I needed to start.  Thankfully it didn't affect anything but the look on the first flutists' face was pretty priceless haha.  Anyway, the solo, for what it's worth, was well received as it resulted in some applause in between movements haha.

1812 was mostly fine too.  The piangento solo in the beginning came out better in rehearsal a couple of weeks ago when I had a better reed, and when the ornaments came out clean.  The folk song duet with flute (which I played on oboe after having transposed it by hand) came out ok.  Sometimes I had trouble transitioning into it but was able to come in with the flute.

SO overall the concert went better for me than last time so I am not dwelling on negativity but that being said I am already creating a list of the things that I need to work on next.  Top on my list is that I really want to develop a true spectrum of dynamic range, instead of just mp to mf.  Vibrato and a more robust tone are next on the list.  
Wind ensemble concert was mostly really fun.  The audience was loud and appreciative, which is a nice change of pace from the typical staid Classical concerts. Again, I think I played kind of shyly and was barely audible.   Wind ensemble has exposed my technical deficits.  There are many things I have not been spending enough time on and I can get by w/o them in orchestra for the most part, but not at wind ensemble.  So I need to make more time for scale studies, especially in keys with a lot of flats and chromatic.  I also need to work on cleaning up arpeggios and on articulation.  

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