Well over 8000 visitors: BRAVISSIMO! 65 countries: AUSGESEICHNET! To honour all you visitors, I will keep the list of countries in another tab. Eventually, I will put your flags next to your country’s name.
Blog: over 6 months
I started this blog for 2 reasons:
- to track my progress as I attempt to regain my former skills on the oboe, now that I am a software engineer living with chronic pain;
- to communicate with people of all descriptions and, hopefully, encourage others in similar situations to mine.
- oboe reed cases (the single most popular post by far),
- MIDI accompaniment and sound recording techniques,
- general oboe playing topics,
- IMS and physiotherapy concerns,
- playing with an extracted tooth!
I wish to express my gratitude to all of you for taking the time and making the effort to visit here. I really enjoy when people leave comments or send e-mails. All contact with people from several continents and from home is a real treat and I hope the favour is returned!
Apart from a few sagging notes, undecided phrasing here and there and a bit of hasty rhythm (all predicted in this previous post), pretty good improvement in 4 months, if I may say so myself! If this trend continues, in a year, I should be a decent player again. My apologies for the bad picture quality: I have a lot to learn about lighting… nah, I’d rather spend my time practicing oboe! On the other hand, I really should have spent more time on the MIDI accompaniment…
A cute thing about making recordings at home is that I have to contend with my dogs not understanding that silence is more important than the cat running on the other side of the street! But, how can I get angry at such a cute little thing? ( Dogs are great! I truly love them! ) I could have just cut-out my interjection “Popcorn Down!”, but you see my mouth moving in the video….. and because the opening recitativo is never played at the same speed, it’s really hard to use the video from one take with the sound-track of another!
One thing that really amazes me is how much the choice of speakers and/or head-phones (ear-buds) change the quality of my oboe sound. On my real sound system, it sounds like I hear it when playing, also true on my desktop computer and an old head-set that came with a waterproof Sony Walkman tape-cassette player! But the high-quality new Sony ear-buds I just got or my lap-top speakers…. much brighter and a little buzzier.
MIDI accompaniment AND multi-tracking.
This is not the first time I use MIDI as accompaniment for a recording, but I’m glad to have found a file ready-made with dynamic expression already included. I’ll add links to MIDI sources and free sheet music to my page on great places as I come across them. I did use software to add some orchestration a little bit, but thankfully, most of the work was already done for me (thank you Aria-Database!). For this recording, I had to “clean up” the MIDI file before it could play well with instrumentation other than the piano. The only dynamics are done by adding or removing instruments and there is no rubato apart from the opening recitativo. I found it curious that playing the file without rubato or dynamics at all still conveyed an inspiring quality. I guess this is the evidence of an extraordinary composition.
Music is faith… in my point of view!
I must have already mentioned that I consider music to be more than an art form, more than a mathematical equation; in fact, I consider it a full-fledged expression of the living soul. I consider music to be the closest direct language of Divinity that humans are capable of understanding. Some songs, a small handful, seem to speak to my soul very directly and stir something that I cannot describe in terms of emotion or psychology. In fact, I don’t even understand what effect they produce, only that I can’t sing them because my throat gets a lump! “Ô Souverain” is one of these.
Music, greater than song!
I believe that songs are music with a handicap; that is, because words convey a clear meaning, they severely limit the potential panorama that we can experience from a melody is restricted to the meaning of the words. Some melodies, however, seem taylor-made for the words. These songs usually loose much when they are translated. In the case of O Souverain, the link between French words and the melody is so strong that I would play it with one pattern of dynamic phrasing and articulation, but would be disappointed when playing back the recording. When putting the words back on the notes, it became clear why my phrasing was wrong.
I’m really not a fan of opera, but I have to admit, Jules Massenet wrote an powerful song as part of his opera Le Cid. It might be an overstatement, but Radio hosts have said that the Metropolitan Opera would not have been able, at the time, to perform Wagner without Ben Heppner. So it is a privilege for me to include a You-Tube of this amazing Canadian Tenor. The performance I give does not follow his style. Apart from the fact that I play the oboe in my study rather than singing at the Met, one of the the miracles of music is that it speaks differently to everyone with a Cartesian product of different messages from each performer and at each performance.
|Ah! tout est bien fini. Mon beau rêve de gloire, mes rêves de bonheur s'envolent à jamais! Tu m'as pris mon amour, tu me prends la victoire, Seigneur, je me soumets!||Ah! It's all over now. My wondrous plans of glory, my beautiful dreams of happiness are all now dust in the wind! You have taken my love, You now take my victory, O Lord, I do submit.|
|Ô souverain, ô juge, ô père, toujours voilé, présent toujours, je t'adorais au temps prospère, et te bénis aux sombres jours. Je vais où ta loi me réclame, libre de tous regrets humains.||O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father always veiled, always present, I adored you in prosperous times and bless you still in troubled days. I go where your law commands, free from all human regrets.|
|Ô souverain, ô juge, ô père, ta seule image est dans mon âme que je remets entre tes mains.||O Sovereign, O Judge O Father, Your image alone fills my soul which I commend into your hands.|
|Ô firmament azur, lumière, esprits d'en haut, penchés sur moi, c'est le soldat que désespère, mais le chrétien garde sa foi. Tu peux venir, tu peux paraître, aurore du jour éternel.||O Firmament, azure blue light, Spirits on High leaning over me, it is the soldier that despairs but the Christian keeps his faith. You can come, you can appear dawn of the eternal day.|
|Ô souverain, ô juge, ô père! Le serviteur d'un juste maître répond sans crainte à ton appel, ô souverain, ô juge, ô père!||O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father! The servant of a just Master answers your call without fear. O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father!|