Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Knight on a white horse

Once upon a time, there was a princess trapped in the confines of her reed situation. One concert set, she had an enormous solo to play. It was one of the slowest, longest solos in all the repertoire, but it was also one of the most beautiful. There was a new king in the kingdom, or rather, he was there for one concert, and there was a committee deciding if he was the right king for this kingdom. He was a very young king who conducted famous orchestras, had a doctorate (Dr. King), and knew exactly how he wanted the kingdom to sound. However, the king was still young and inexperienced. He tended to micromanage the kingdom, taking the beauty out of much of the music. The princess played her heart out in each rehearsal, but the king only asked her to play louder and louder and louder. The king asked the princess to just play the entire solo at the loudest dynamic possible. The princess obliged, and it was loud, but it was unmusical. The breaths she had mapped out were now nearly impossible to make, and she had to breathe in more places. The king ended the dress rehearsal with a wave of his hand, not encouraging the princess in any way. It seemed there was no hope for the concert.

The princess had slaved for weeks, fighting the evil reed gods and battling the resistant cane. One reed out of ten worked, and it was an old, dying reed. No magic potion would bring it back to life, but the princess had no choice but to make it last until the concert. The other princesses and knights in the orchestra were supportive of the princess with the reed. They all said she played beautifully, and none of them liked the new king. There was one knight that would not give up hope. He phoned the princess on the morning of the concert, and he said the most encouraging things to her. He asked if he could do anything for her that day. The princess was just going to relax, meditate, pray to the reed gods, and play the best she could at the concert. There was nothing else she could do. The knight said he knew she would be absolutely wonderful at the concert. After hanging up, the princess knew she needed a miracle.

A couple hours later, the knight phoned again. He said he realized he had some old reeds from a year ago, before he'd sold his English horn. Would the princess like to give them a shot? She said that was very generous, and yes, she'd try them. The knight said she should wait for him at the bottom of her tower--he'd be there in 15 minutes. She descended the tower and waited inside at the bottom. She could see the knight fast-approaching on his white horse. He rounded a corner, came to a stop, jumped off the horse, and, cradling the precious cargo in his hands, he scaled the first few steps to meet the princess inside. She took the golden reeds up the tower and tried them out. The first was old and cranky. It spat and hissed at the princess. The second was old and weary. It moaned and resisted. It just wanted to be left alone. The third was the miracle the princess had been hoping for. It was clear, responsive, and loud enough to appease the king!

With the help of her knight, the princess was able to play the solo beautifully that night. She didn't have to worry about playing loud enough, and she was able to put all her energy into playing musically. The king conducted the piece slower than any rehearsal. The princess still took out two breaths, shocking the knight, who sat immediately to her right, cheering her on the entire time. The king, though he may not be the king for this kingdom, did notice, and as she rose to her feet, the princesses and knights of the orchestra gave a great cheer! The concert was saved, all thanks to her knight in shining armor.

The End


Pattyoboe said...

Wonderful Story!

I landed at your site because at some point you must have mentioned my oboe site. If you don't mind I'd include you in my blogroll, but I won't do so without your permission. Just say the word.

Pattyoboe said...

Oops ... should have mentioned my oboe site isn't this "pattyoboe" one ... that's merely so I could drop you a line. I'm actually http://www.oboeinsight.com .


(I've played the Ravel several times -- back when I was English hornist of a symphony that has since died a painful death -- and I absolutely love it, but a conductor can certainly make what should be a wonderful time a very difficult time, can't he/she?)

Jillian said...

Thanks! Please go ahead and include me in your blogroll (is that a link on your site?). I found your website--I can't remember how I'd found it before! Funny how that goes. Keep in touch.

Pattyoboe said...

You are on the site now. It's great to have another oboist on!

By the way, there is a piece a good friend of mine wrote that is for soprano sax, English horn and strings. It's called Tango Barroco and it is really a gas to play. You might want to give it a go sometime. :-)