Thursday, December 23

Christmas: an oboe is (re)born.

The Yuletide season has always been special to me. My parents and I would always make a big fuss over decorating the tree (which we used to fell straight out of the woods, a 15 minute walk outside our front door) and making cookies while listening to high calibre Christmas music including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (unsurpassed recordings of the 1970s) and now with very special Polish Choirs (Stefan Stuligrosz) and Soloists. But 1985 made the season really special: on Dec 14th, I got my Lorée oboe, the one that would bring me to the Conservatoire de Montréal and follow me faithfully through the ups and downs of life.

The first thing I did was to play it with my father’s choir at a Christmas concert. The choir never had another instrument with it before and no parts were given to me: I elected to improvise counter-melodies and flourishes around the song. “Improvising” is used loosely, I had pretty well practiced what I would do and it never budged from the simplest arpeggios mirrored licks. The experience was a resounding success: never the same again.

Birth and rebirth

That was the birth of my oboe. A week ago marked our 25th anniversary together and we gave each other presents for the occasion. I gave it its present during the summer: had it revoiced by Laubin’s finisher! The present it gave me was a renewed passion, far greater then ever before, for both the instrument and playing it.
My wife and I actually got our Christmas presents during the summer and fall: for her, its photography. But it is during the holiday season that I will be able to use them to produce something. My revoiced Lorée plays like a dream, especially when using reeds shaped with my Kunibert Michel 7.25 shaper. My job allows me to take the week off between Christmas and New-Year’s day, so guess what?
I realized, a little while ago, that although I can play in tune and with decent dynamics alone (as testified by recordings), there is a big difference when playing with recorded accompaniment such as Music Minus One and MIDI files. So I’ll be working on a recording of myself playing with MMO and MIDI. If its not too embarrassing, I’ll make some You-Tube postings of it.
In the meantime, I wish you all a Very Happy Yule and all the best for the New-Year. May playing music (oboe, singing, anything) bring cheer and memories to share for years to come!


Mrs. Webfoot said...

Robin! Thank you for linking to your blog. You have some great resources here. This last Christmas season I got to play in a local Messiah production. It was a lot of fun.

My oboe history has some similarities to yours. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and love of the oboe.

RobinDesHautbois said...

Ah, well in that case, I'll start following your blog too! I just hope that people our persuasion (oboe nuts) can encourage each other!