Friday, August 29, 2008

Oboe 2

I opened my mailbox, and there sat folded (grrr) my parts for the next CRSO concert. Tim and the administration worked tirelessly to find new performance and rehearsal venues, and this season is continuing with very few changes. A second performance has been added to most of the concert sets, as the new venues are much smaller than the Paramount Theater. One more concert, one less rehearsal. As a commuting musician with a baby, I'm not thrilled about the extra concert. There will be some weekends where we'll have double rehearsals on Friday (back-to-back 2.5-3 hour rehearsals), a concert Saturday evening and a concert Sunday afternoon. With a 2.5 hour drive, I could go home on the Friday night (and I'll have to if I can't bring Harry to CR with me), but it's much easier to just stay there...and that means an entire weekend away. If it was just me, no problem. Add a little one to the mix, and we're talking an extra suitcase of diapers, clothes, food, etc., plus a babysitter if Dave can't make the trip with me. If it wasn't for the drive and logistics, I would be more than happy to play an extra concert per set. I digress.

For our opening concert on September 20, I will be playing Oboe 2. The one piece with English horn was replaced, but I had already been asked to fill our second oboist's place for this concert, as her daughter is expecting a baby right around that time. A first grandchild superceded second oboe...can you blame her? On the program is Berlioz "Corsaire Overture" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, as well as some concert arias to feature the Beethoven's soloists. Yummy, yummy. I can't wait! I've never actually played this symphony before!! I've only ever played some of the first oboe excerpts on auditions and in masterclasses.

Looking through the part, I felt a wave of anxiety. My rational self brushed that aside, but really, playing second oboe can be very tricky! And although I won my job playing both English horn and oboe (including a one-octave C major scale starting on pianissimo low C--we were playing Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 which includes this in the third oboe part), I still feel like I want to prove myself to my orchestra colleagues. Of course, if I do my job right, they won't even notice me! How funny is the life of a second oboist. Here I've been basking in the light of English hornist superstardom! :)

Of course, my anxiety couldn't have anything to do with the fact that I haven't touched my oboe in...gulp...wait, I played for 15 minutes about 4 weeks ago... And reeds? What reeds? When's the first rehearsal again? I know what I'll be doing during Harry's naps for the next few weeks!


Doug P. Baker said...

Hey Jillian,

I was skimming the blurbs about sites that mention "Children of Heaven" when I saw your picture. I thought, "That can't really be an English Horn?!?" I thought it must be an out of focus oboe. Nobody plays English Horns.

I absolutely love the sound of the English Horn; I'm probably the only non-musician in the world to be passionately attached to that particular instrument. It must be the most thoughtful and introspective of all instruments.

Blessings, and I appologize for this interuption that has nothing to do with what you were saying about your long commute, etc. said...

Ah, Jillian, you are bringing back a ton of memories. I went back to work when our older son was only 3 weeks old. I can't tell you what a strain it was, and how difficult when I was gone ALL day, getting home around midnight. (I did a lot of pumping back then.) I never brought the baby with me except when we had to go up to a winery and play. Then my husband came along and I could nurse Brandon between rehearsal and concert. I feel for you.

As to playing and reeds and all that ... hang in there! All the work that you've done in the past can usually carry you through this crazy time you're in. At least it did for me. (Although I was EH only ... not on second oboe.)

And second oboe? HARDEST job! EH and principal oboe have solos so we play out. Oboe 2 is in trouble if we're heard, trouble if we're not. Or so it feels.

We did Beethoven 9th last year and I played assistant principal (it's a chop buster) until our principal got ill. Then I moved to second. I'm not remembering much difficulty with that work on second. But them I'm old and forgetful! :-)

Be strong!

Jillian said...

Thanks for stopping by, Doug! And I agree! English horn is gorgeous! Come again!

Jillian said...

Thanks, Patty! Throw me back into the fire, eh?

Patty said...

Ah, but you'll be great, I'm sure! :-)

Enjoy the fabulous music!