Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New season, new reeds, new toys

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

In order, we started our new season of the Cedar Rapids Symphony tonight. On the program: Saint Saens Organ Symphony (No. 3) and Bernstein's "On the Town". (And Grieg's Piano Concerto...read more here.) This is the first orchestra gig in Iowa where Dave and I will be playing together! Of course, we're not playing at the same time. No sax in the Saint Saens, and we play in different movements in the Bernstein. Dave didn't play in the first 3/4 of tonight's rehearsal, but when it got close for his part, he came and sat next to me (in the "sax chair"). I must say, I was very aware of him while I played, and I was a little nervous as he followed along in my part of the Saint Saens. I kept having to tell myself to get it together and focus. I think he realized it, because at some point I didn't feel the reading-over/next-to-your-shoulder stare. The good news is...

I have a great English horn reed...and possibly even two! No, I did not make them. I bought them from Cheryl at Cascade Reeds in Eugene. But I do not feel bad about this. I got plenty of compliments (well, from my own section, but that's what counts the most, I think!) and the reed felt really good. Much better than in my practice room at home.

The Paganini is going really well. OK students, this is what happens when you practice every day: you can play your part! Not only that, but it gets better each time you pick up your instrument. Who'd have thunk it? I can play the whole piece up to performance tempo. In the next two days before the recital, I just need to keep up the pace to ensure that I can play it 150% perfectly. That way, when I get nervous and 50% goes out the window, I'll still have 100%. Hmmm...math...maybe I mean 200% perfectly for a total of...nevermind.

I'm working on sharpening my knives so I can actually make reeds again, and I have a new toy, suggested by Cooper, that I hope will help. It's Weber's steel to re-align the burr...Patty, you have this too! Let's learn how to use it together. I've got the instructions and pictures, but so far it hasn't made that much of a difference. Most likely this is not because of the steel, but because my knives are not sharp to begin with. The steel doesn't sharpen your knife, it helps KEEP it sharp. So maybe I'll need to reground these things. I have a Chudnow knife (beveled), an Ando (way overdue for a regrinding), and a couple of Landwells, one of which is my sharpest knife. I'll see if I can send the other one to Calgary for Daryl Caswell to help me.

Wow, I'm amazed I was able to type that much. Baby is keeping me up, but not keeping me awake. I just feel terrible. Read disclaimer below. I'm going to attempt going to bed now.

*Forgive any typos. It is way past my bedtime, and because of this baby, I can't sleep...or think.


Patty said...

Jillian ... let's see ... we've done the Saint Saens and I can't even remember the EH part. Is that pathetic or what?! I know if I put a recording on it would jog my memory immediately, but at this point all I remember is loud organ! Go figure.

Now the Bernstein ... isn't that the one with the EH solo that comes back a few times? Do you split the book so you play EH and someone else plays oboe, or is it even a doubling book? I can't remember. (

Oh dear ... is "I can't remember" becoming my mantra? Uh-oh!

Yes, I have the device you are talking about, and yes, we should figure it out together. Cooper used it when he was here (on my Landwell knife) and he made it work, so I know it's possible.

As to EH reeds ... I'll be doing Quiet City soon, and prior to that I'm playing EH on our first symphony set. Maybe I should give those reeds a go. I wonder! (I'm just not sure I want to bother making any EH reeds right now. I'm feeling so darn lazy.)

Have a great start of the season, and good for you on the Paganini. Wish I could be there .... :-(

Hope you get some rest. Ah, those were the days.

Karmen said...

I'm playing the Saint Saens right now too - it's on Civic's first concert in November :) LOVE IT!

Mary K Swaffield said...

how did the recital go?