Monday, May 07, 2007

With spring streaming through every window, indoor pursuits seem so out of season.

Today was a rare day with no services—musician argot for professional engagements, each concert or rehearsal is called a "service"—yet I spent it entirely inside. I've been trying to get my gouge right for spring/summer reed making.

(Gouge? An oboist makes his own reeds. The gouge is the foundational process whereby what will be the inside of the reed is given its dimensions. It requires a tedious trial and error adjustment of manual machines which slice out the interior of French bamboo creating the oboe reed's basic raw material. It's not necessary for civilians to know more than that.)

I finally got something that gave me consistently promising reeds, so at 10 this morning I began cranking out the little buggers. By late afternoon, I had about twelve reeds drying in a rack. This is no mean achievement. I grabbed a quick bite for dinner and headed to the State Theater to practice in the basement the rest of the evening. (I try to be a good citizen, and not practice in my apartment after 6:00 p.m. when people might be coming home from a long day at work, fixing dinner, and wishing the guy in 4C would turn off his metronome and read a book.)

When I walked out, it was 10:30 p.m. I realized I had been playing the oboe, either practicing or making reeds, for the better part of 12 hours. Well, today was really my only chance to get some of this work done. My schedule (chock-a-block with "services") for the next few weeks is grueling, but exciting.

Here's what's coming up:

10-1 American Composers Orchestra "Readings of New Works" 1st oboe
2-6 Recording session with Issa (aka Jane Siberry) on ten new songs: very exciting!
7:30 NYCB Romeo & Juliet

10-1 American Composers Orchestra "Readings of New Works" 1st oboe
Afternoon, prepare for Helicon concert and Board meeting
7:30 NYCB Romeo & Juliet

Morning: practice
2-6 Helicon rehearsal for Sunday's Symposium
8 NYCB R & J

10-1 Zephyros Winds rehearsal with Pedaj Muzijevic Mozart and Beethoven Quintets for Movado Hour
Afternoon, prepare for Helicon concert and Board meeting, practice a little
8 NYCB R & J

2 NYCB R & J
8 NYCB R & J 1st oboe

3 NYCB R & J 1st oboe (last performance)
6 Helicon Symposium 82

10-1 Zephyros Winds rehearsal with Pedaj Muzijevic Mozart and Beethoven Quintets for Movado Hour
Afternoon, finish Board Meeting preparations
6 Helicon Annual Board Meeting

11-2 NYCB Reh
7:30 NYCB Performance

10:30-1:30 NYCB Reh
Practice time!!!
7:30 NYCB

Dress rehearsal Zephyros Winds and Pedja Movado Hour
7:00 Movado Hour Performance

11-2 NYCB Reh
8 NYCB Performance

2 NYCB Performance 1st oboe on Bizet Symphony in C
8 NYCB Performance

3 NYCB Performance

9 Orchestra of St. Luke's Gala 1st oboe

Then things lighten up a touch. Zephyros gets ready for the Tannery Pond concert with Pedja on May 26. That week, I rehearse the Poulenc Oboe Sonata with Pedja (which should be very fun), and the quintet works on the late-Romantic sextet by Ludwig Thuille. The program also includes the Beethoven Quintet for Piano and Winds which we will have just played at the Movado Hour, and Barber's evocoative Summer Music, which we have performed many many times.

We'll also take up Janacek's Mladi with Rick Faria, bass clarinet, and our old friend the Harbison Quintet, for a couple performances in June.

Oh, and if you wondered, those 12 reeds from this morning will be depleted and replaced by then . . .

1 comment:

Paul Welch said...

May is the 5th month Jim, not the 4th.