Sunday, December 10

IDRS 2017: changing impressions–how to choose?

Chers lecteurs francophones: je vise toujours le bilinguisme mais le temps et l'envergure de cet article sont tout simplement trop des facteurs limitatifs, étant donné que la très grande majorité de mes lecteurs sont anglophones. J'en suis désolé et je vous remercie de votre compréhension. Entretemps, copier-coller l’adresse dans le traducteur Google donnera une traduction … enfin, je ne sais pas à quel point ça marche, mais ce sera traduit!

Wow, I've had my Bulgheroni Musa (Cecilia) now for over 5 months ... but I have hardly blogged about her yet, no You-Tubes either. It would be perfectly reasonable for someone to believe that this proves disappointment or buyers remorse .... sorry to disappoint you, but no, this is not the case: I am really happy with Cecilia! I’ll explain when I post my first recording with Cecilia how this year has just been very odd – fatigue and timelines just played against me. First week of December, I played the Marcello concerto with reeds I made last spring … not even time to take a good picture with Cecilia yet!

I am now taking her for granted ("Of course this is how I sound!") and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to play Ol' Faithful (1985 Lorée) much anymore. Oddly, this Bulgheroni has the same effect as Smiley (an old Marigaux SML I had borrowed for 4 months): playing it makes me sound much better on Ol' Faithful, despite the mismatch. But returning to Cecilia immediately reminds me why I bought her. My Lorée does have its charms and SOME reeds actually sound better on Ol' Faithful, but I always find it easier to play my Bulgheroni.

Choosing a new instrument?????

With Christmas time upon us, parents of oboe students will be looking for a potential instrument they could buy for their budding musical artist. This brings the nervous question "What is the best oboe?", because the price of this instrument can be prohibitive, so parents with tighter means (or students preparing for college) will want to be sure they don't make a mistake and need to buy something else in a year or 6 months!

Please note that everything in this post are my own opinions. I encourage people to test-compare instruments for themselves and form their own opinions: if we disagree, all the better! By discussing our differing views, we promote more variety and open doors.

The first thing I can say is that, today's serious market (avoid the cheap copy makers) rarely has outright bad instruments (with real design or construction flaws) and even the used instrument market (if you stick to well-established makers) will yield instruments that will play really well - assuming you purchase from a reputable reseller or have it repaired by a well appreciated oboe specialist.

It doesn't matter if you the parent of a high-schooler, an adult enthusiast or even a professional, there are 3 factors involved in choosing an instrument:

  1. Which instruments are available?
  2. What can you afford?
  3. How does the instrument fulfil your physical needs and artistic goals?

For me, available instruments boil-down to whatever is at IDRS conferences, but for most people, it will be the closest big-city music shop, and in the USA or Europe, that is usually quite good. You really want instruments that you can try yourself, or at least have tried by a respected teacher or performer. Even if one maker's characteristics can be predicted at 85%, the remaining 15% is enough to cause serious annoyance OR to find an absolute treasure! No two instruments from the same maker play the same and selecting used or even new by internet descriptions is risky because there is just no way to know in what state of repair and adjustment the instrument will be.

Concerning affordability, even with professional or passionate amateurs, it would be incredibly naïve to think that instrument characteristics alone will motivate the final purchase. Unless a buyer is wealthy, price will always factor-in to the decision. Don't be fooled by people being doctors or lawyers or engineers or any well paid profession: there is the phenomena of "double-income bankruptcy" that any responsible adult will seek to avoid! Luckily, regardless of the characteristics you favour (sound, phrasing, mechanics) there are always different makers with enough overlap in them to give you some choice, and different vendors will list competitive prices.

And finally, instrument characteristics, this is where experience is everything. For most students, you really should not worry too much about blogs like mine and other reviews that describe what instruments do: there really is very much to develop in terms of controlling tuning and sound and technique that most reputable instruments will serve the purpose quite well. It takes years to build physical technique and find your artistic goals, both of which will end-up determining the instrument you will ultimately want.

Do not fall into the trap of listening to your favourite oboist and thinking "if I get her/his oboe, I can sound like that too" - this is not true! For example, at IDRS 2017, the featured Mönnig player had essentially the opposite sound from Albrecht Mayer, though they both played the same model instrument! It is not necessary to have all the bells and whistles when starting, so give it time and enjoy the journey to get there!

Oboes at IDRS 2017

With that in mind, I want to say more about how my preferences had changed at IDRS last summer. My thoughts on general comparison between instruments remain reasonably the same, but which instruments I prefer have shifted: this surprized me and I think it is significant: it emphasizes that  the instrument that is right for a person right now (even as a very skilled and experienced musician) might very well not be the preferred one in a few years, as the body changes with age and as habits (and goals) change with focus repertoire and aesthetic preference.

I really don't think the instruments (of the same model) have changed very much, so this leads me to believe that a musician may favour different qualities in the instrument as personal abilities and conditions evolve over time. For this reason, I will not mention makers where my impressions remain the same (e.g. Laubin, Püchner, Rigoutat, Dupin, Ludwig Frank, Covey, Yamaha, Lorée, Patricola); you can see my previous posts for that (click here). Instead, I want to focus on brands where my tastes have changed.

First example: Fossati.

This one struck me. At IDRS 2013 and 2014, I clearly preferred the A model, even though it is their least expensive from the professional Fossati line. At the time, their representative explained to me that the A model is their "entry-level" professional instrument: the S and MB models are better suited to professionals who naturally "work the sound harder". At the IDRS this year, I clearly preferred the S model: I really preferred the way it handled breathing and the flexibility of its tone.

They had a violetwood S model that completely stole my heart. The one and ONLY reason it did not make the list of my 3 favourites is because the altissimo (above 3rd octave G) was more difficult than the other 3 makers. Otherwise, I completely fell in love with it and nearly bought it on the 1st day! Compared to the black granadilla S, the violetwood allowed me to relax my entire embouchure (the actual jaw) that much more to get the sound that I was aiming for. It is very difficult to explain: it is entirely a matter of how it interacts with the body for sound production.

Fossati has innovated an oboe with interchangeable crowns and bell bottoms ("swells"?). Obvious question: does changing the parts really change the sound? Short answer: yes it does. Long answer: the white plastic crown and bell swell does give a more mellow sound, very appropriate for baroque repertoire. The black crown and swell provide a proper modern orchestral tone. I did not notice a difference between the black and black + metal ring, but it was not possible for me to do so: the purpose is to increase projection in concert halls.

fx3     tetesBagues

Second example: Buffet Crampon.

I have always loved the sound of the Orfeo, but Buffet in general used to leave me uncomfortable in the airways while blowing, especially the "standard" Prestige model. This time, every single Buffet they had on the table pleased me completely. I would have been fully happy to bring home any one of the Buffets on display.

The Orfeo is still my favourite because of its rich, deep and enveloping tone, but the Prestige was also pleasant to play. At the Gala concert, one artist played the Orfeo with the usual American reed and delivered a performance with as much verve, spirit and lively contrast as I would expect from European oboists!

bcVirtuoseFull

Buffet Crampon's new Virtuose is really the talk of the town, featuring a bell cut below the last holes, so they can be easily changed to different woods. Yes, changing the bell does change the sound. With a variety of woods and composite materials, you really have a rainbow of sounds at your fingertips: without changing reeds! They were showcasing a neon-green bell that was actually 3D printed: this one essentially made it sound like a Lorée AK (when I tried it). The mechanics are really different: same fingerings, but MUCH more work on ergonomics and click prevention. This is something you really can only appreciate over time: more than a few days at a conference. It just feels a little bit too much like a Lorée to my taste: many people will like this, but this is something I am trying to move away from.

The lower joint is cut just below the D key instead of between the hands. Normally, this intends to improve the tuning of Ab down to F. I did not notice any difference in tuning between the Virtuose and the Orfeo, but these are things you normally notice at home or in the concert hall: in other words, it is intended as insurance against Murphy's Law!

betweenHands     rightHandCut     rightHandPalmCut

Alain Vlamynk did a couple of excellent posts on the Virtuose on his blog. Click here. It’s in French only, but you can always copy-paste the URL to his website in Google Translate!

Fox Sayen & Fox-Laubin

To my personal taste, Fox still shows resistance to my air flow, but that's a personal thing because WOW, what a nice instrument! Talk about perfect tuning and stability combined with a glorious sound: that's the Sayen! Almost all the Foxes with 3rd octave key allowed me to play up to the Bb with just as much ease as the Bulgheroni I finally bought! So for most American players of any skill level that prefer a more reserved air stream, the Fox Sayen is a really interesting candidate!

sayen2017        Fox-Laubin-zoomed

The new Fox-Laubin is essentially the same (to my taste) as the Sayen, but with more free-blowing allure, as we'd expect from a Laubin. It is not a Laubin and it is not a Sayen: this is a case where you really have to try it and decide for yourself.

Differing views on Howarth:

They did not have any XM models with them: too bad because I really did love those the best in New-York. I used to say every XL played the same, but this time I felt the sound (for the XL an LXV) was more vibrant (shaky) than before, thus requiring a more focused and restrained reed. This is excellent for American-scrape reed players or "better behaved" European scrape reeds. I really like my reeds to be wild in order to get the dynamics and articulation contrast I seek. When I tried to play above altissimo G - no luck at all - I was recommended to try their 21st Century model (they had none there on site) which is apparently designed for a better 3rd octave range.

Old heart-throbs: Mönnig & Marigaux

I was really, truly hoping to love the Mönnig Albrecht Mayer model. I was really hoping to find a used one and buy it. Problem is, I confirmed my very first impressions from the very first time I tried it in New York it is a remarkable instrument, but requires a more solid professional player than me. I found the 2nd octave key range sounded crystalline and thin; but I have been told by professionals who play it that this becomes full and rich as one develops the strength to play it properly. Similarly with the altissimo, I could not break the G barrier: this was the deciding factor telling me I could just not buy this instrument. Too bad, because the sound from 1st octave key notes all the way to the bottom is downright mythical!

In particular, one individual Mönnig, straight off the airplane from Berlin, had very special pads. Cork pads were covered with silicone: I found it vibrated and tickled the fingers when playing. Some people do not like this but I loved it! The vibrations/tickling in the fingers makes it feel like I'm that much more a part of the music I'm playing.

Similarly I was really, truly hoping to fall in love with the Marigaux M2. But I can't shake it, the body and bore of the 901/2000 models are just much better suited to my habits and my goals at this time. It is believed (remains to be proven) that many Lorée players (like me) or similar instruments eagerly adopt the 901 whereas the M2 is preferred by people who already play Marigaux, or another instrument with the qualities to the 901. .... This raises an interesting question: if changing preferences is a trend that will continue over the next 5-10 years, now that my Cecilia is very different from Ol' Faithful, could it be possible that I too will migrate to the M2 in the future?

My opinion has not changed: Marigaux has proven it's worth in Ottawa and Montreal in every kind of weather I can think of, even over 4 months comparing. So for me, to buy a Marigaux 901 or 2001 would have been the safest choice.

Playing safe or adventurous risk?

csMusaBut safety was not my main objective: a specific direction on sound quality and the ease of the altissimo register are my focus. For many months before the IDRS conference, I had been annoying MANY professional oboists on Facebook with questions about the altissimo, especially above G and at least up to Bb!

In comparison, for me, choosing a Bulgheroni was taking a risk because I could only try Bulgheroni at IDRS conferences. Even though Bulgheroni was not time-tested at home, its rich warm and large sound qualities answer what I have been aiming for as long as I can remember. Furthermore, every single Bulgheroni I tried, Musa, Opera, even their student models played up to the altissimo Bb without any effort at all, using my favourite reeds!

Bulgheroni has a decent market for student models in the USA, but mostly in Europe. Their professional models (Opera and Musa) are not new, but they are not marketed with as much intensity as Lorée or Marigux or Bufet or Yamaha, and they don’t have any big-name promoter-artists, so they are nowhere near as well known. But since this summer, Christian Schmitt (very well known in Europe and also known as a Rigoutat artist) has taken on the mantle. At IDRS 2017, after I bought Cecilia, I quickly met him and he told me he had tried her and liked it quite a lot. It was a few months later that I learned he too now plays the Bulgheroni Musa (like Cecilia).

I don’t know of any videos of Christian Schmitt playing Bulgheroni yet, but here is a video of him on Righoutat: this will show the requirements he puts on performance, and should help glean some idea of what should be expected when he finally records with Bulgheroni (I hope).

Compared to my Ol’ Faithful Lorée or even Marigaux, Bulgheroni is a very different instrument.I’ll discuss that when I record my first You-Tube with Cecilia, but here I want mention that Bulgheroni's student model is also striking. Since the first time I tried Bulgheroni at IDRS 2013 in Redlands, I kept telling the Bulgheroni family their student models "develop good habits". This could sound facetious, but it's honest: I find they develop proper expectations four sound (rich, broad and versatile) as well as a proper feeling of freedom when blowing.

A special note on "Chinese oboes"

It is very unfortunate that such a great country (in size, population, production and history) as China should be equated in the average western mind with cheap (less than 1/10 the normal price), throw-away products that defy repair and sometimes are even missing a few parts. This is VERY unfortunate for at least one Chinese producer of really good instruments: K-Ge. I have tried his instruments at 3 IDRS conferences: seriously, it's hard to see them as anything less than professional calibre instruments. There are new producers of oboes from China that appear to steal the designs and looks from the great makers (like Marigaux, Ludwig Frank, Josef and Dupin), but I have not tried them and I don't know anyone who has. I have read some comments on Facebook of people happy with their internet purchase of "Chinese oboes" and others were really very angry. So my conclusion is: buyer beware. However if you are considering K-Ge: go for it, I really think you'll be happy.

Monday, July 10

Oboes/Hautbois IDRS 2017 : Journey’s end / La quête achevée

musaCecilia
This blog has been tracking my return to musical life, in defiance of fibromyalgia (chronic pain and fatigue) and in parallel with the time constraints earning a living as a computer software developer. An important part of this has been my quest to prove that the wrong instrument (for "you") can inhibit one's musical expression, thereby launching a quest to find "the ideal" instrument for me. This year, the IDRS conference has been particularly revealing and during the 2 weeks after my return, I have suffered flare-ups of pain (I needed to take medication every day - not normal), but this served to prove the choice I made at the IDRS conference: after 4 years of searching, I finally chose an oboe! Ce blogue chronique mon retour à la vie musicale, défiant la fibromyalgie (douleur et fatigue chroniques) et dans les contraintes de temps en gagnant ma vie en tant que développeur informatique. Une part importante de cette chronique, qui a cherché à démontrer qu'un instrument mal choisi peut nuire à son expression musical, a lancé la quête à trouver l'instrument idéal (pour moi). Cette année, la conférence de l'IDRS s'est montrée particulièrement révélatrice et les 2 semaines après mon retour m'ont affligé de douleurs (à en prendre des médicaments à tous les jours - pas normal). Mais ceci a servi à prouver mon choix à la conférence: après 4 ans à chercher, j'ai enfin choisi un hautbois!

Quest for the ultimate oboe

Choosing "the best oboe" (for "you") is a process based on criteria that the instrument must answer. My criteria will be different than your criteria because we have different experience, different physical qualities (including strength and health) and different musical goals. I hope following will inspire people, not to copy the journey I took, but rather to find their own ways in identifying the instrument that will help them most reach for their musical ideals.

En quête du hautbois ultime

Choisir "le meilleur hautbois" (pour soi) est un processus basé sur des critères auxquels l'instrument doit répondre. Mes critères seront différents des vôtres parce que notre expérience, nos qualités physiques (y compris la force et la santé) et nos objectifs sont différents. J'espère que ce qui suit inspirera les gens, non pas à copier mon cheminement, mais plutôt à identifier vos propres buts à viser.
Last time I tried all the instruments was 3 years ago at IDRS 2014 in New-York. At that time, I decided not to buy anything because of an epiphany brought on by the recitals of Jacques Tys. This inspired me to ignore characteristics of the instrument and concentrate instead on finding the soul-expression of music in my own playing. Mon dernier essai de tous les instruments date d'il y a 3 ans à IDRS 2014 à New-York. À l'occasion, j'ai décidé de ne rien acheter en raison d'une épiphanie reçue aux récitals de Jacques Tys qui m'a inspirée à ignorer les charactéristiques de l'instrument pour chercher à la place l'âme expressive musicale dans mon jeu.
This is nearly impossible to explain in written text: listening to Jacques Tys in person, I seemed to hear and feel the very life of music. In my opinion, when a person witnesses something so wonderful, it should become a life-quest to seek that wonder in her/his own playing ... it might not be possible to achieve it, but at least one should aim for the same ideals, as much as one is capable of hearing/feeling them in someone else's performance ... otherwise, what is the point of practicing and playing? Presqu'impossible à expliquer textuellement, entendre Jacques Tys en personne, il me semblait entendre et ressentir l'âme-même de la musique. À mon avis, lorsqu'une personne témoigne de quoi de si merveilleux, ça devrait devenir une quête personnelle à trouver cette merveille dans son propre jeu ... je n'y arriverai peut-être jamais, mais il faut au moins toujours viser ces idéaux, autant qu'on est capable de l'entendre/ressentir dans le jeu d'autrui ... autrement, pourquoi travailler et jouer?

Changing preferences

Today, 3 years later, I am certainly neither Jacques Tys nor Nora Cismondi nor Antonio Jose Masmano, but I think I have traveled very far on the quest for that soulful playing. I have now come to a point where the choice of the instrument I play will either help or harm the expression of that soulfulness. Ironically, this year at IDRS 2017 in Appleton, my preferences concerning the instruments have changed: either the instrument makers have changed their instruments, or else my physical/aural relation to them has changed ... somehow, I think the second option is the more likely.

I really think the 3 years of seeking that integration of musical soul into my playing has increased my musical abilities, and therefore I physically require different things than I used to. This implies that perhaps a musician might need to change instruments at various points in her/his life, requiring different characteristics as the musical and physical personas change.



puchner_733_big

Les préférences sont donc changés

Aujourd'hui, 3 ans plus tard, je ne suis certes aucunement Jacques Tys ni Nora Cismondi ni Antonio Jose Masmano, mais je crois avoir parcouru assez loin la quête de cette âme dans le jeu. J'arrive maintenant au point où le choix de l'instrument soit m'aidera ou soit me nuira dans l'expression de cette âme. Ironiquement, cette année à IDRS 2017 à Appleton, mes préférences concernant les instruments ont changés: soit les fabricants ont changé les instruments ou soit mes attributs physiques et buts sonores ont changé ... la seconde option semble plus probable.

Je pense vraiment que 3 ans à chercher l'intégration de l'âme musicale dans mon jeu a fait croître mes habiletés musicales, ce qui change mes besoins physiques comparativement à auparavant. Ceci implique qu'un musicien puisse avoir besoin de changer d'instrument au fil de sa carrière, ayant besoin de caractéristiques physiques et sonores variantes avec le changement de sa personne.

My favourite 3

My favourites have changed over the years because my criteria have changed along with my abilities. A few years ago, someone in a forum thread said something like "this instrument has too much freedom for me" and I was quick to ask "how is it possible to have too much freedom?" Well, now I do know ...
puchnerBell

Mes 3 favoris

Mes favoris ont aussi changé au fil des années parce que mes critères ont aussi changé pour répondre à l'évolution de mes habiletés. Il y a quelques années, quelqu'un sur un groupe de discussion a dit : "cet instrument joue trop librement pour moi" auquel j'ai rétorqué "comment peut-on avoir trop de liberté?". Et bien, je comprends maintenant ...
It has become clear that I just don't have time in a week to make several reeds and be really picky about them. It is now clear that I will rarely have time to practice enough to develop the strength (mouth and gut) for reeds that produce warm/velvety tones --- besides, for me, super-soft pianissimos and extra loud fortissimos are important, and a couple of world-class players told me this means softer reeds are what I need --- so I need an instrument that will essentially "dictate" the sound (and I need to love it!!!). I also need an instrument with flawlessly dependable tuning, but mostly, the repertoire I wish to pursue requires an instrument that will make the altissimo register (up to at least Bb above G in the 3rd octave key range) dependable and easy. marigaux901

Il devient clair qu'une semaine ne me laisse simplement pas le temps de fabriquer plusieurs anches et me montrer capricieux vis-à-vis elles. Je n'aurai rarement le temps de travailler l'endurance (bouche et souffle) pour des anches qui produisent un timbre velouté --- de plus, les pianissimi ultra-doux et les fortissimi extra forts me sont importants et quleques solistes de calibre mondial m'ont dit que cela implique des anches faciles --- par conséquent, j'ai besoin d'un instrument "dictateur du timbre" (au timbre qui me plait!!!). J'ai aussi besoin d'un instrument à justesse fiable, mais avant tout, le répertoire que je poursuis exige un sur-aigü (au moins le si-bémol au dessus du sol à 3e clef d'octave) facile et fiable.
For this reasons, 3 instruments really stand out:
  • Marigaux 901/2001
  • Püchner
  • Bulgheroni
altissimo Pour ces raisons, les 3 instruments qui se distinguent sont:
  • Marigaux 901/2001
  • Püchner
  • Bulgheroni

What? Robin des Hautbois finally decided to buy?

Please allow me to introduce ... (ta-rra-tata, ta-rra-tata) ... CECILIA, my new Bulgheroni Musa!
musaCecilia

Comment? Robin des Hautbois s'est enfin décidé?

Permettez-moi de vous présenter ... (ta-rra-tata, ta-rra-tata) ... CÉCILE, mon nouveau Bulgheroni Musa. (Muse est féminin, d'où le nom d'une femme.)
Now that the suspense is over, I can explain that the choice was NOT easy. On day 2, I was torn:
  • Marigaux has been a favourite of mine for quite some time, strongly cemented through repeated experience on instruments of different ages in Ottawa and Montréal and in various weather conditions. It is really Marigaux oboes that gave me the confidence to solve my problems via a change of instrument instead of endlessly complaining about reeds or doubting my competence.
  • On the first day at the conference, I tried the new Püchner oboes and I was frankly blown away at how great they sound, their dynamic range and how easy the altissimo register speaks. That night, Jose Antonio Masmano played a Püchner for the Legacy concerto by Oscar Navarro with indescribable power AND delicacy ... just plain out of this world! Of course, that does not mean I can play like him on the same instrument (!!!) but I had totally loved the instrument before hearing him.




bellsBulgheroni


Maintenant que le suspense est résolu, je peux expliquer que le choix n'était PAS facile. Le 2e jour, je m'arrachais le coeur:
  • Marigaux est mon favori depuis longtemps, fortement cimenté par expériences répétées avec instruments d'âges divers à Ottawa et Montréal et dans des conditions météorologiques variées. Ce sont vraiment les hautbois Marigaux qui m'ont donné la confiance à résoudre mes problêmes en changeant d'instrument plutôt que de me plaindre sans cesse des anches ou de me croire incompétent.
  • Le premier jour de la conférence, j'ai essayé les nouveaux hautbois Püchner et j'étais franchement émerveillé de leur timbre, leur vastes nuances et à quel point le sur-aigü s'exprime aisément. Ce soir-là, Jose Antoni Masmano a joué un Püchner pour interpréter le concerto Legacy d'Oscar Navarro avec puissance ET délicatesse indescriptibles ... tout simplement époustoufflant! Bien sûr, cela ne veut pas dire que le même instrument fera de moi le même artiste (!!!), maisje me suis amouraché de l'instrument même avant de l'entendre.
Marigaux tables had several 901 and 2001 models. Two of the 901s (out of maybe 8) and one 2001 (out of maybe 3) facilitated the altissimo. Marigaux offers a certain comfort and is uniquely friendly to reeds: a bad sounding reed still sounds relatively bad, but the tone is shaped to become very acceptable. I do prefer the left-hand pinky finger keywork of the M2, but the 901/2001 models "grow the sound" more comfortably for me.

All Püchners at the table just opened the altissimo with remarkable ease. It's power is unmatched and yet it still plays as gently as you like without effort. The sound is just plain wonderful, but a bad reed sounds bad. The keywork was next to perfect for my fingers, only Mönnig surpasses it.
Marigaux avait plusieurs 901 et 2001sur un nombre de tables. Deux des 901s (parmi peut-être 8) et un des 2001 (parmi peut-être 3) facilitaient le sur-aigü. Marigaux offre un certain confort et se montre uniquement tolérant des anches: une anche gazoue reste gazoue, mais le timbre se voit enveloppé et présentable. Je préfère franchement la palme des clefs de gauche du M2, mais le corps du 901/2001 fait "croître le son" d'une manière plus confortable pour moi.

Tous les Püchners à leur table m'ouvraient le sur-aigü avec un aisance remarquable. Sa puissance est sans pareil et pourtant joue aussi doucement qu'on puisse vouloir sans effort. Le timbre est merveilleux, mais une mauvainse anche sonne mal. Le clétage est presque parfait pour mes doigts, seul Mönnig le surpasse.

Dilemma on day 4

So, between Marigaux 901 and Püchner on day 2, to choose was gruelling because both are just plain amazing.

Dilemme du 4e jour

Alors le 2e jour m'a arraché entre Marigaux 901 et Püchner, parce que les deux sont simplement formidables.
It's on day 4, when I had a chance to try all the makers at least twice that it really struck me: Bulgheroni is the absolute easiest for the altissimo register (it actually rivals Dupin!) AND where others sound thin and crystalline from the 2nd octave key upwards, the Bulgheroni Musa still sounds full-bodied and rich, offering a singing character .... BOING! C'est le jour 4, lorsque j'ai eu le temps d'essayer toutes les marques au moins deux fois que ça m'a vraiment frappé: Bulgheroni est sans équivoque pour moi le plus facile dans le sur-aïgu (il rivalise même Dupin!) ET, où d'autres rendent un timbre cristallin et mince à partir de la 2e clef d'octave en montant, le Musa de Bulgheroni maintient le timbre riche et velouté avec un caractère qui chante .... BOING!
At this point, I favoured the Marigaux over Püchner for one reason only: Püchner seems to "put the sound out there" (its projection in the concert hall is legendary) whereas Marigaux gave me the feeling that my entire person was resonating the music. The Bulgheroni provides this impression half-way between Marigaux and Püchner, it dictates the sound even more than Marigaux and it's mechanics are slightly preferable (to my fingers - not necessarily yours) than the Püchner. Marigaux and (especially) Püchner encourage all dynamics, whereas the Bulgheroni encourages the softer dynamics, it does allow me to play as loudly as the reed will let me. À ce point, je favorisais le Marigaux (par rapport au Püchner) pour une raison seulement: Püchner semble "envoyer la musique au devant" (sa projection dans la salle est légendaire) alors que Marigaux me fait sentir que mon corps entier résonne la musique. Le Bulgheroni est à mi-chemin entre les 2 autres et il est encore plus "dictateur" du timbre que Marigaux, puis sa mécanique est légèrement préférable (pour mes doigts, pas nécessairement les vôtres) au Püchner.Marigaux et Püchner (surtout) encouragent toutes les nuances alors que Bulgheroni encourage la douceur, tout en me permettant toute la puissance offerte par l'anche.
So now, my dilemma was between 3 instruments. The choice was finally made on the basis of the altissimo and the quality of controlling the tone colour (timbre): I went with the Bulgheroni. On top of it all, I got a synthetic top joint (remember Canada's notorious weather for cracks) and a German-styled bell and keywork designed by Christoph Hartmann for the same price as the all wood / regular instruments. Alors le dilemme se trouve entre 3 instruments. Le choix final s'est fait en fonction du sur-aïgu et le contrôle du timbre: j'ai pris Bulgheroni. Pour cimenter le choix, j'ai eu un corps supérieur synthétique (rappelons-nous du climat canadien, affreux pour les fentes) avec un pavillon de style allemand et un clétage conçus par Christoph Hartmann pour le même prix qu'un instrument tout-bois/régulier.

Confirming Cecilia was the right choice

After the purchase, I had 2 days in Appleton's cool weather (sometimes sunny, often raining) to build my impression of it: I just fell in love! Back in Ottawa (mostly raining, sometimes hot), over 2 weeks of painful neck & shoulder stiffness, thumping arm muscles and severe cramps in the legs and feet meant, Cecilia (the new oboe) needs to prove friendly ... well it did! The weather has been causing my reeds to go simultaneously limp and hard just before they decide to split and yet Cecilia keeps the tuning and sound are just lovely --- not to mention dependable altissimo! Compared to Old Faithful, my wife says Cecilia sounds much more "alive" than any other instrument I ever brought home --- I say the sound "takes more space" whithout necessarily being louder.
stCecilia

Confirmer que Cécile fut le bon choix

Après l'achat, j'ai eu 2 jours à Appleton, au climat frais (parfois ensoleillé, souvent pluvieux) pour m'y faire une impression: j'en devint tout-à-fait amoureux! De retour à Ottawa (surtout pluvieux, parfois chaud), plus de 2 semaines de douleurs au cou, raideur aux épaules, muscles du bras fébriles et crampes sévères aux jambes et aux pieds ont fait que Cécile (le nouvel hautbois) doit vraiment se montrer facile à jouer ... voilà, c'est fait! La météo a rendu mes anches simultanément molles et résistantes au souffle juste avant de fendre; pourtant Cécile maintient la justesse et sonne d'une beauté --- sans parler du sur-aigü sans faille! À comparer à ma Vieille Branche, mon épouse dit que Cécile sonne plus "vivante" --- moi, je dis que le son"prend plus d'espace" sans être plus fort.

Why "Cecilia?"

Bulgheroni named this model the "Musa": Greek muses were spirits that inspired beautiful artistic creativity, so I wanted the name of a muse ... well, Saint-Cecilia is the patronness-saint of music, instrument makers and poetry! Then, considering the extraordinary voice of Cecilia Bartoly and one family secret, there was no better name for this new oboe who should really help my music soar!

I'm preparing for a very special You-Tube recording that will show this.

Pourquoi Cécile?

Bulgheroni a nommé ce modèle la "Musa": les muses grecques étaient des esprits qui inspirent la beauté dans la créativité artistique, alors je voulais le nom d'une muse ... or Sainte-Cécile est la patronne de la musique, des fabricants d'instruments et de la poésie! Tenant compte en plus de la voie phénoménale de Cécilia Bartoly et puis un secret de famille, il n'y avait donc vraiment pas de meilleur nom pour ce nouvel hautbois qui devrait vraiment aider l'envol de ma musique!

Je prépare une vidéo You-Tube bien spéciale qui devrait illustrer.
… the search is now over, let the adventure begin!|
… la quête est achevée, que l’aventure commence!

Saturday, May 27

Oboe Charming the Nations! / Le hautbois charme les nations!

Spreading the Oboe's Charm!

 

Partager le charme du hautbois!

The only thing I don't like about the oboe is its name! "Hautbois", in French, sounds so refined, but in English, "oh-bowe" ...  ah well ...

My real job is programming computers. I play oboe only for fun and so I only get to perform in community events. So as an amateur, I get different audiences than professionals would. This is neat, because last night, I performed for a small, but well known community in Ontario: Carleton Place. I got to play solo oboe (accompanied by piano and then by handbells) in front of maybe100-200 new people (and 50-100 people who did hear me before). For many of them, it was the first time they heard an oboe of greater than high-school quality.

OK, it's neither professional nor dignified nor classy to gloat .... BUT NOW YOU KNOW ME BETTER! Well, in a concert that included English handbells and a Vocal Jazz group, my Schumann (Romance #1), Bach (BWV 1020, Adagio), Handel and Nelson were received literally thunderous applause and an avalanche of compliments on my phrasing and expressiveness, including from parents of professional musicians and singers or pianists who had worked with local professional oboists ... it looks like my 30 minutes of hobby practicing is paying off!

EPSON MFP image




oboeBells25May2017


Mon vrai gagne-pain consiste à programmer les ordinatuers. Je joue le hautbois pour la joie de vivre, alors je joue lors de présentations communautaires. En tant qu'amateur, je joue pour des auditoires bien différents que les professionnels. C'est bien, parce que hier soir, j'ai joué pour une petite communauté bien connue en Ontario: Carleton Place. J'ai joué en solo (accompagné de piano et de clocches anglaises) devant 100-200 nouvelles personnes (et de 50-100 personnes qui m'ont déjà entendus). Pour un bon nombre, ce fut la première fois qu'ils ont entendu un hautbois de niveau supérieur à l'école secondaire!

D'accord, ce n'est ni professionnel, ni élégant, ni raffiné de me vanter ... MAIS VOUS ME CONNAISSEZ MIEUX MAINTENANT! Et bien dans un concert qui inclut des ensembles de cloches anglaises et un groupe de Jazz Vocal, mon Schumann (1ère Romance), Bach (adagio du BWV 1020), Haendel et Nelson ont été reçus avec un tonnerre d'applaudissements suivis d'une avalanche compliments pour mon phrasé et mon expressivité. Ceux-ci incluaient des parents de professionnels et des musiciens qui ont travaillé avec des hautboïstes professionnels de la région ... on dirait que répéter le hautbois 30 minutes par jour en a vallu le coup!

Haunted Reed

Anche ensorcellée

Reasons for a reed-friendly oboe keep piling-up .... I show-up at the Church to warm-up: find the reed I intend to use (playing very nicely, thank you) and do warm-ups here and there, all over the building. All is fine until the dress rehearsal: the reed decides to go really flat on 2nd octave A etc. I actually thought the reed had split because that's how it was behaving.... no, no cracks at all. Une raison de plus pour un hautbois tolérant aux anches ..... j'arrive à l'église: je choisis l'anche pour l'occasion (joue très bien, merci) et je me réchauffe ça-et-là, un peu partout dans l'édifice. Tout va bien jusqu'à l'avant-première où le La, 2e clef d'octave et environs, baisse affreusement. L'anche se comportait comme si elle avait fendue ... non, aucune faille du tout.
After that, I play the same reed again in many different places - all good, very fine reed. At the performance, I had to work hard on tuning because really flat 2nd octave again! J'ai donc joué la même anche encore une fois à plusieurs autres places - tout va bien, très belle anche. À la présentation, j'ai dû travailler très fort parce que le 2e octave s'est mis à fausser encore une fois!
There must have been an air draft at that specific spot, otherwise, some ghost must have haunted to say I should not play exactly there! Il dut y avoir un courant d'air entre vitraux à cet endroit précis, autrement il faudra que je soupçonne un fantôme qui ne voulait pas me voir exactement là!

Music to bridge the nations!

 

La musique rapproche les nations.

On Facebook, I like to share news of all the excellent new oboe CD's that can really inspire appreciation for the different playing aesthetics out there. For my blog, I don't want to be a CD critic/reviewer, but every once in awhile, one CD really makes a mark and I like to share my thoughts on it. This was the case for Levantasy, an exceptionnal collaboration between an Israeli oboist, a Dutch Jazz Trio and an Iranian recording company. And I think the new CD "Melodies of Nations" can also participate in making the world a place where the cultures of different nations are enjoyed in friendship. CD_cover_levantasy Sur Facebook, j'aime à partager tous les excellents nouveaux CD qui inspirent l'appréciation du jeu vraiment différent de partout dans le monde. Pour mon blogue, je ne veux pas faire le critique journaliste. Mais une fois de temps-à-autre, un CD fait impression spéciale et je veux partager mes impressions.C'était le cas, en particulier, pour Levantasy: une collaboration exceptionelle entre un hautboïste israélien, un trio jazz hollandais et une étiquette d'enregsitrement iranienne. Je crois que le nouveau CD "Melodie of Nations" peut aussi aider au monde à mieux apprécier les cultures de différentes nations dans une atmosphère d'amitié.
The word "nationalist" and the sense of national identity is sometimes seen as a good thing and sometimes bad. These days, we tend to favour inclusiveness and integration of cultures, and "nationalism" is sometimes abused to turn away people who are different than "us", people who "don't come from here". But I have always loved to celebrate the "national cultures" of different parts of the world: in fact, Canada likes to call itself a "Great Mosaic" where people of different origins keep their distinct cultures and all together, we give a much more colourful picture to our nation. sanjaFionullaCDCover Le mot "nationaliste" et le sens d'identité nationale est parfois vu comme de quoi de bien et parfois comme dangereux. Ces jours-ci, on a tendence à préférer l'inclusivité et l'intégration des cultures; le nationalisme est souvent abusé de sorte à détourner autrui, se méfiant de ceux qui sont "différents de nous" ou "qui ne viennent pas d'ici". Mais j'ai toujours aimé à célébrer les "cultures nationales" d'ailleurs dans le monde: en fait, le Canada se considère une "mosaïque ethnoculturelle" où les gens d'origine variées conservent leurs cultures distinctes tous ensemble, ce qui donne au tout une image à couleurs bien vivantes.
So when oboist Sanja Romic (Serbian) and pianist Fionulla Moynihan (Irish) chose to entitle their new CD "Melodies of Nations", I thought that was a really nice idea. The composers represent Germany, England, Serbia, Ireland Russia+Canada and Slovenia. This is especially fantastic because I remember the wars of the 1980's, causing the breakup of Yugoslavia: they made us forget the absolutely wonderful and highest class musical artistry that used to be the very definition of those areas.
Alors quand la hautboïste Sanja Romic (serbe) et la pianiste Fionulla Moynihan (irlandaise) ont intitulé leur nouveau CD "Melodies of Nations", j'ai trouvé ça vraiment chouette. Les compositeurs représentent l'Allemagne, l'Angleterre, la Serbie, l'Irelande, la Russie+Canada et la Slovénie. C'est vraiment formidable d'autant plus que je me souviens des guerres des années 1980 qui ont fracturé la Yugoslavie: ils nous ont fait oublier l'esprit artistique musical vraiment de la plus haute classe qui caractérisait auparavant ces nations.
Traditionally, recordings and recitals consist of "standard" sonatas, specifically composed for oboe. To get some variety, some oboists have started to take more popular violin concertos and string sonatas, thus expanding the repertoire. Otherwise, "new music" compilations will keep repertoire that is appreciated by a smaller segment of listeners. What I really like about this new CD is it brings repertoire for oboe that is less frequently recorded and some very contemporary compositions that are a complete joy for anyone to hear.
Traditionellement, les enregistrements et récitals consistent de répertoire "standard", composé spécifiquement pour le hautbois. Dernièrement, les hautboïstes étendent leur répertoire en empruntant du matériel (sonates et concertos) bien connu pour violon. Autrement, des compilations de "musique nouvelle" rassemble ce qui est apprécié par un segment particulier de l'auditoire. Ce que j'aime beaucoup de ce CD est qu'il présente du répertoire pour hautbois enregistré bien moins souvent et des compositions tout-à-fait contemporaines,pourtant un vrai régal pour n'importe-qui.
The CD contains selections for oboe and piano together as well as solo piano and solo oboe. I have to admit, the solo piano pieces can remind me of a cat jumping on a keyboard... but Fionulla plays them so well, with great understanding feeling, that I can listen to them and remain interested all the way through. The new music for oboe, from Serbia, Slovenia, Russia/Canada and England are absolutely contemporary, but tonal, representing their cultural heritage and fully accessible to anyone.
Le CD présente le hautbois et piano ensemble et aussi quelques sélections pour piano seul et pour hautbois seul. Je dois admettre que les compositions pour piano seul me fait penser à un chat qui s'amuse sur le clavier... mais Fionulla les joue tellement bien, avec compréhension et sentiment, que j'arrive à les écouter puis conserver mon intérèt tout au long. Les compositions nouvelles pour hautbois proviennent de la Serbie, la Slovénie, la Russie/Canada et l'Angleterre est tout-à-fait contemporaine, mais tonale et représentent leur héritage culturelle de manière accessible à tous
Fionulla and Sanja are truly remarkable musicians, each by themselves, and when they play together: real magic! Of course, I am mostly interested in the oboe: I can only say that we can really feel a joy of living in her playing. Sanja Romic is capable of all the technical athleticism, and yet she impresses with the gentleness in her sound. She can power away with all the vigor you can expect from anyone and then turn around with a soothing delicacy. romicMoynihan Fionulla et Sanja sont de remaquables musiciennes, chacune pour soi. Lorsqu'elles jouent ensemble, véritable magie! Bien sûr je m'intéresse surtout au hautbois: je ressens une vraie joie de vivre dans son jeu. Sanja Romic est capable de tout athlétisme technique, et pourtant elle impressionne avec la tendresse de son timbre. Elle montre toute la puissante vigueur qu'on pourrait s'attendre de quiconque puis elle vire à une délicatesse appaisante.
Sanja's partnership with Fionulla is difficult to explain, because you can clearly hear they are solid soloists in their own right, and yet there is a definite partnership: not so much that they sound like one instrument together, but that a playful friendship resonates in their music.      Le partenaria entre Sanja et Fionulla est difficile à expliquer parce qu'on voit clairement leur prouesses individuelles en tant que solistes et pourtant il y a un partenaria indéniable: pas tellement qu'elles sonnent comme un seul instrument, mais il y a une amitié badin qui résonne de leur musique.
Unfortunately, the only You-Tube videos I can find (I like the video format for my blog) did not have very good sound-recording, so they don't do justice to what the CD actually sounds like. I hope this video will be enough to motivate people to get the CD: it really is a pleasure to hear and a wonderful way to explore the world!   Malheureusement, les seules vidéos You-Tube que j'arrive à trouver (j'aime le format vidéo pour mon blogue) ne bénéficient pas d'une excellente prise de son: ça ne rend vraiment pas justice au CD. J'espère que cette sélection sera assez pour motiver le monde à se procurer le CD: un vrai régal et un si belle manière à explorer le monde!

Monday, March 20

Tweet if you know Delmar! / Delmar fait la une!

I only bind reeds maybe 2 or 3 times a year, so might as well celebrate it! 22 new reeds (of different shapers, cane growers and staples) with 6 left over from last winter ... this should last me 'til Hallowe'en! Though I still want to tie more of my own "secret recipe" (and see if it really tastes as good as the first time!).
J'attache des anches seulement 2 ou 3 fois par année, alors aussi bien fêter! 22 nouvelles aches montées (différents tubes ainsi que tailles et fournisseurs de roseau) avec 6 restantes de l'hiver dernier ... ça devrait me durer jusqu'à l'hallowe'en! Quoiqu'il faut quand-même monter quelques autres de ma "recette secrète" (à voir si ça goûte toujours aussi  doux!).
boundReedsMarch2017

Honk if you know Delmar!

No I have no shame! Yes, I will piggy-back on someone else's fame to increase my own exposure! It doesn't matter, I think recent events on social media deserve some thought.

Tout le monde connaît Delmar…

…peut-être moins les francophones, mais parmi les hautboïstes des États-Unis et pas mal partout dans le monde où l'anglais n'est pas étranger. Je crois juste bon de le présenter en même temps qu'une petite pensée sur des événements quelque-peu malvenus dans le monde internet du hautbois, depuis environ un an.
Even though I earn my living developing computer applications, every day I am amazed at how the internet and social media, in less than 10 years, has revolutionized how people communicate and share our lives. It is greatly thanks to Facebook groups and the Oboe BBoard that this blog has become so well known and gets so many visits - I cannot thank them enough for the amazing interaction with people all over the world, from the most prolific professional to fellow amateurs and students. Même si je gagne ma vie à programmer des ordinateurs, chaque jour m'épate à voir combien l'internet et les médias sociaux a révolutionné, en moins de 10 ans, comment les gens interagissent et partagent la vie. C'est grandement grâce aux groupes Facebook et le Oboe BBoard que ce blogue est devenu si populaire - je ne peux pas assez les remercierpour les formidables rencontres de professionnels prolifiques, collègues amateurs et étudiants partout dans le monde

Amateurs of different expressions

In an early blog post (click here) a professional at the Metropolitan Opera was very encouraging and told me her teacher (Richard Woodhams) used to aim to play with the skill and refinement of a professional while keeping the enthusiasm of amateurs. The word "amateur" essentially  means "lover" of something, a person who really enjoys something more than most. Normally, the word is used for a performer who does not get paid, but it can also describe a person who is really involved in attending performances, collecting recordings and biographies of musicians ... what we normally call "aficionado". If my blog made me a very well known amateur performer, Facebook has really made Delmar Williams one of the world's best known amateur oboe-focused musicologists.

Amateurs d'expression différente

Dans un article blogue passé (cliquez ici) une professionnelle du Metropolitan Opera m'a grandement encouragé en racontant que son prof (Richard Woodhams) déclarait viser le raffinement du professionnel, tout en conservant l'enthousiasme de l'amateur. Le mot signifie "celui/celle qui aime", or une personne qui se donne à une poursuite plus que les autres. Normalement, on utilise ce mot pour un interprète non-rémunéré, mais celà décrit aussi la personne qui s'obsède aux concerts, à la collection d'enregistrements et biographies de musiciens. Si mon blogue m'a fait connaître comme un interprète amateur, Facebook a vraiment fait de Delmar Williams un des musicologues amateurs du hautbois les mieux connusdu monde.
When Facebook oboe groups began to be really popular, I confess having been a little bit annoyed with one name that kept popping-up for no apparent reason. "Honk if you know Delmar" was a motto and picture that would appear all the time, completely out of context. Just who is this guy that everybody seemed to know, and why are all these professional oboists making such a fuss? I could not figure out what exactly he does! Quand les groupes de hautbois sur Facebook ont commencé à devenir vraiment populaires, j'avoue avoir été embêté par un nom qui faisait surface souvent pour aucune raison apparente. "Honk if you know Delmar" (angl. klaxonnez si vous conaissez Delmar - une affiche de pare-choc) se montrait partout. Qui, au juste, est ce type que tous semblent connaître et pour qui tant de professionnels s'embalent?
Over time, as Facebook groups became very active, a blizzard of posts came from Delmar about live concerts, available to everybody worldwide over the internet! --- OK, now THIS is interesting! --- Soon followed notice after notice of archived performances from the greatest orchestras in the USA, and also in Europe and more! Then came announcement after announcement of auditions for orchestral oboe positions and masterclasses --- wait a minute even where I live, Ottawa, or at my Alma-Mater Montréal. How the blazes did he know about these things in my home when I had a hard time finding them in my local sources of information? Au fil du temps, les groupes se virent remplis par Delmar d'annonces de concerts en direct, disponibles via internet à tout le monde sur la planète! --- ah ÇA alors, c'est intéressant! ---  Ont vite suivi, annonce après annonce des concerts des meilleurs orchestres auxÉtats-Unis, de l'Europe et bien plus! Ensuite, appels aux auditions professionnelles pour orchestres, classes des maîtres --- minute moumoute: même chez-moi à Ottawa ainsi que mon foyer à Montréal. Nom d'un chien, comment fait-il pour trouver ces choses avant même que je puisse les trouver dans mes sources locales?
Naturally, the majority of his posts concern the orchestras and soloists of the USA .... no problem, he is American, it makes perfect sense. It makes even more sense when you learn his story about touring, it seems, all the American orchestras, meeting and greeting all the oboists as he went. So I figured I should even-out international presence by sharing Facebook announcements and the more touching You-Tube videos of European and Asian orchestras that I come across ... well, when Delmar started posting about the rest of the world too, he left me running far behind and eating his dust! Remaining a devotee of his home-country's work, he began to find and post ever more performances etc. from nearly everywhere on the planet. I RESPECT! Bien sûr, la majorité de ses annonces concernent les orchestres et solistes américains ... bien beau, il est américain lui-même. Ça va encore plus de soi en aprenant son histoire de voyageen long et en large pour rencontrer et faire connaissance des hautboïstes partout aux États-Unis. Je me suis donc dit qu'il serait bien que j'aide à équilibrer la présence du reste du monde en partageant les vidéos You-Tube d'artistes européens et asiatiques les plus touchants qui me passent par la main .... et bien lorsque Delmar a commencé à partager des annonces pour le reste de la planète aussi, je me suis vite trouvé loin derrière dans ses pas! Restant dévoué à l'oeuvre artistique de son propre pays, il se mit néanmoins à annoncer toujours plus de concerts etc. de presque partout dans le monde. GRAND RESPECT!

I finally meet Delmar!

We connected on Facebook over a conversation about dogs: at the time, his profile picture was of him, his wife (or whatever word people use these days) and his greyhound! This is when I decided Delmar must be a good soul: we discussed the dog in the Simpsons, how he was an abused and abandoned race-dog .... same as Delmar's dog! I don't talk about dogs much on this blog, but if you look at my Facebook timeline, you'll understand quickly what it means when I say DOGS ARE GREAT!

Je rencontre enfin Delmar!

La première fois que j'ai communiqué avec Delmar était à propos des chiens: sa photo de profil, à l'époque montrait lui, son épouse (ou quel mot utilisons nous ces jours-ci?) et son chien! C'est là que j'ai décidé qu'il doit être bon vivant: on a discuté le chien lévrier des Simpson, un chien de course abusé et abandonné ... même chose que celui à Delmar! Je ne parle pas beaucoup des chiens sur ce blogue, mais si vous examinez ma page Facebook, vous comprendrez que pour moi, "nom d'un chien" est presque divin!
So at IDRS in New-York, I recognized him, surrounded by people after a concert. When conversations strayed enough, I asked him if he still had his greyhound. It's strange to meet in person someone with whom you've communicated a lot over the Internet and we were finally able to comment on our different likes or dislikes concerning the oboe world and also how we respect each other's open mindedness. So the guy with the blog (me) finally got to meet the guy who had introduced himself to oboists in his travels all over the USA and all over the world --- I am no longer a nobody, I finally met Delmar!
Or donc, à IDRS à New-York, je l'ai reconnu, entouré de gens après un concert. Je lui ai demandé s'il avait toujours son lévrier.C'est étrange de rencontrer en personne quelqu'on avec qui on a bien communiqué sur internet et enfin pouvoir jaser de nos préférences différentes concernant le monde du hautbois, tout en respectant chacun son ouverture d'esprit. Ainsi le type avec le blogue (moi) s'est présenté au type qui a fait connaissance avec presque tous les hautboïstes d'orchestre aux É.U. et partout dans le monde --- je ne suis plus un sans-nom, j'ai enfin rencontré Delmar!
withDelmarNYC2014

World traveler

I think what I like most about Delmar is that, wittingly or not, he makes connections between people. This is how he became the friend of professionals everywhere: being able to talk to everyone about everyone else really opens dialogue. He has been to pretty much every European country, including Russian and Iceland. He has also travelled to southern Africa, South America and Asia. What struck a sensitive chord with me are his travels to the Middle East, in particular Iran, sharing pictures of the places and people he met and telling the story of how people are really great, open, friendly and how life is savoured ... quite the contrary from what we are led to believe: that freedom is repressed and where any "white western" man should fear for life and safety. Delmar gave us a truly precious gift by going there and unequivocally shattering the fears we are fed by many sources.

Voyageur mondial

Ce que j'admire le plus de Delmar est que, consciemment ou non, il établit des liens entre les gens. C'est ainsi qu'il est devenu l'ami des professionnels partout: pouvoir parler à tout le monde à propos de tout le monde ouvre les dialogues. Il a visité à-peu-près tous les pays d'Europe, incluant la Russie et l'Islande. Il a aussi visité le sud de l'Afrique, l'Amérique du sud et l'Asie. Ce qui a touché une corde sensible est lorsqu'il a voyagé au moyen-orient, l'Iran en particulier, et qu'il a partagé des tas d'images et d'histoires montrant combien les gens là-bas sont sympathiques, chaleureux et combien la vie est embrassée ... tout le contraire de ce qu'on nous porte à croire: que la liberté est écrasée et qu'un "homme blanc occidental" doit craindre pour sa peau. Delmar nous a fait le cadeau précieux de fracasser sans équivoque les peurs qu'on nous fait avaler.

Troubles in Social Groups

I was very lucky that many administrators added me to their international Facebook groups concerning the oboe (and/or bassoon) - I was made administrator to one (Of how many reeds think you to have used you so far?). I have seen these groups evolve over the past 7 years and I might write another blog post about how participation has changed. Managing these groups might seem like nothing very serious, but without warning serious issues pop-up. Sometimes administrators need to make decisions that are not popular and years later might seem unnecessary, yet at the time, they are very concerning.

Ennuis dans les groupes sociaux

C'est une belle chance qu'un nombre d'administrateurs m'ont ajouté à leurs groupes Facebook au sujet du hautbois (et/ou basson) - un de ces groupes (Of how many reeds think you to have used you so far?) m'en a fait administrateur. J'ai vu évoluer ces groupes au fil des 7 dernières années; j'en ferai peut-être un article blogue plus tard. Administrer ces groupes peut paraître anodin, mais de temps-à-autre quelque-chose survient qui paraît plus sérieux. Parfois un administrateur doit prendre une décision impopulaire. Plus tard, on peut en rire, mais sur le vif, ça peut être assez inquiétant.
Last year, there was a debacle on social media concerning an oboe CD; many of you know the issue. I won't mention the names here and I ask my readers to keep your peace too: one party can do without the extra bother and the other party should learn that silence and allowing people to forget is often MUCH more curative than verbose defence. But as a result, some discussion threads were deleted, people were removed from at least one group and lots of "unfriending" occurred due to, in my opinion, completely unnecessary and surprisingly childish behaviour. L'an dernier, une débandade est survenue sur les médias sociaux concernant un CD de hautbois; plusieurs d'entre-vous saurez quel. Je ne mentionnerai pas les noms et je demande à mes lecteurs de garder la paix aussi: une part n'a pas besoin de plus d'ennuis et l'autre part devrait apprendre que le silence et permettre aux gens d'oublier peut être BEAUCOUP plus curatif que la défense  verbose. Résultat final: des fils de discussion ont été retirés d'au moins un groupe et beaucoup de "ruptures d'amitié" ont dû se produire, à mon avis tout-à-fait sans cause et suite à des comportements étonamment enfantins.
What does this have to do with Delmar? Nothing, at least one should hope not. But there did arise a much smaller fracas when Delmar's participation in the IDRS Facebook group was curtailed and his posts severely limited. In this new case I think people reacted with civility and in the best of intentions, on all parts, at least in public view. C'est quoi le rapport avec Delmar? Rien, du moins on l'espère. Mais  une situation est survenue où un plus petit fracas lorsque la participation de Delmar dans le groupe Facebook de l'IDRS a été sévèrement limité. Dans ce nouveau cas, à mon avis, les gens ont réagi avec beaucoup plus de civilité, du moins en public.
Delmar's research, every day, is huge­. Just think about it: a person who finds links to performances etc. worldwide will have quite a few links to post, so we see LOTS of posts from Delmar - how could it be otherwise? I can understand how an administrator might want to be sure other members don't feel overwhelmed or that other posts don't get "buried": I'm still finding "new" posts on Delmar's personal timeline from months ago! La recherche à Delmar, chaque jour, est énorme. Pensez-y: quelqu'un qui trouve les liens aux concerts etc. partout dans le monde aurait plusieurs annonces à faire, alors on en voit BEAUCOUP venant de Delmar - comment faire autrement? Je peux donc comprendre qu'un administrateur craindrait que les autres membres se sentent submergés et s'assurer que les annonces des autres ne se trouvent pas "enterrés": je trouve encore des annonces sur la page de Delmar qui date de mois passés!
Well, Delmar himself remained humble about the situation: it took other people finding out to come to his defence. Two people posted in the IDRS group (I added a 3rd) in support of Delmar with "likes" and comments following like a storm of people from the USA and Canada but also France, Australia, Iceland, S-E Asia, Denmark, Venezuela, Roumania, Portugal .... and where not? Clearly, the international community appreciates Delmar's contribution to culture which is, I would assume, what the International Double Reed Society aims for. Consequently, they lifted the restriction: good decision! Et bien, Delmar lui-même est resté humble devant la situation. Il a fallu que d'autres aprennent la situation et prennent sa défence. Deux ont laissé des messages sur le groupe IDRS (j'ai ajouté un 3e) pour l'appuyer, ce qui a suscité une tempête de "like" et de commentaires en éloge venant des États-Unis et du Canada, mais aussi de la France, l'Australie, l'Islande, l'Asie du sud-est, le Danemark, le Vénézuéla, la Roumanie, le Portugal ... quel est exclus? Clairement, la communauté internationale apprécie la contribution culturelle de Delmar, qui répondrait, on le suppose, aux buts de l'Association Internationale des Anches Doubles. Par conséquent, ils ont levé les restrictions: bonne décision!
Videos and articles (Charlotte Observer article here) about Delmar say something about a clinical condition .... you know, I find it plain unnecessary to label behaviour patterns like this. What I see in Delmar is just a man who is fiercely captivated by his fields of interest. And thank God for it, because his activities and his very generous sharing really enrich our lives and open our eyes and hearts about the world in ways my journey as an amateur performer simply cannot do. Des vidéos et articles concertnant Dlemar (article du Charlotte Observer ici) mentionnent une condition médicale ... enfin, je ne sais pas pourquoi il serait nécessaire de donner une nom au fait qu'un homme soit férocement passionné de ses champs d'intérêt. Et Dieu-merci qu'il en soit ainsi: ses activités et son partage très généreux enrichit vraiment nos vies et ouvre nos yeux et nos coeurs de plein de manières à propos du monde. Ceci, il le fait de façons que mon voyage d'interprète amateur ne peut simplement pas le faire.

Saturday, January 28

¼ Million Visit(e)s –Test 4 Months/Mois

 ¼ Million Visits! | Physio Update | End 4-Month Comparison Test (Video) | Reeds ¼ de million de visites! | Nouvelles Physio |
Fin de la comparaison de 4 mois (vidéo)
| Anches
A quarter million visits in just over 6 years … for an amateur's oboe blog! How surprizing is that? My objective has always been simple: keep a record of interesting oboe things that might otherwise get lost and just keep track of my progress at restoring my oboe performance, while battling chronic pain. quarterMillionVisits Un quart de million de visites en légèrement plus de 6 ans ... pour le blogue d'un amateur du hautbois! Qui l'aurait cru? J'ai toujours visé à simplement conserver les idées intéressantes qui pourraient autrement disparaître et chroniquer mon retour à la vie de hautboïste vis-à-vis ma lutte contre la douleur chronique.
Once again, I am really inspired by the story of another adult oboist, a big-name professional this time and how he continuously overcomes obstacles that could end his career without notice. What is really great about Alex Klein of the Chicago Symphony is that his story does not make people want to just encourage this poor little struggling artist. Quite the opposite, we know and admire this amazing soloist and are completely surprised at learning of his afflictions. Completely unexpected that such an amazing artist would have to live with such struggles because his performance is legendary on its own. This makes it even more encouraging to aspiring professionals and amateurs: perseverance will pay off! alexKleinOboeComeback
Encore une fois, je me vois inspiré par l'histoire d'un autre hautboïste adulte, un professionnel de grande renommée et sa victoire continue contre des obstacles qui pourraient terminer sa carrière sans préavis. Ce qui est vraiment formidable d'Alex Klein de l'Orchestre Symphonique de Chicago est que son histoire ne veut pas nous faire encourager un pauvre petit artiste qui lutte pour sa carrière. Au contraire, nous savons et admirons ce soliste épatant, nous trouvant ainsi époustouflé à apprendre qu'il est affligé ainsi. Tout-à-fait inattendu qu'un artiste de cet envergure doit lutter ainsi parce que son jeu tout seul est légendaire. Ceci encourage les aspirants-professionels et amateurs encore plus: la persévérance porte fruit!
Naturally, my case cannot compare, but I still get remarks and questions concerning chronic pain and I haven't discussed this in quite some time. So here goes a quick summary: Bien sûr, je ne peux pas me comparer, mais on m'envoie parfois des questions concernant la douleur chronique et je n'ai pas traité le sujet depuis longtemps. Voici donc un sommaire:
A year or two ago, I seem to have reached a plateau in my physical improvement. Tai-Chi and physiotherapy brought me to a point where I can hope to do almost anything athletic, but it never entirely eliminated the pain. I got to a point where, instead of needing 3 different pills, including 2 anti-inflammatories every day, I need only 1 anti-inflammatory every 3 days, on average, but I have not been able to get rid of medication completely. I have stopped visits to the physiotherapist completely, while maintaining my current abilities, but I cannot stop the home-physio exercises without pain resuming quickly. Il y a un an ou deux, mon amélioration physique semble avoir atteint un plateau. Le Tai-Chi et la physiothérapie m'ont mené au point où je peux espérer faire presque n'importe-quoi d'athlétique, mais ça n'a jamais entièrement rayé la douleur. Rendu ici, au lieu d'avoir besoin de 3 pillules différentes, par jour (incluant 2 anti-inflammatoires par jour), je n'ai besoin que d'un seul comprimé d'anti-inflammatoire aux 3 jours, en moyenne, mais je ne peux pas arrêter les médicaments complètement. J'ai cessé mes visites au physiothérapeute sans séquels néfastes, mais je dois continuer mes exercices physio à domicile, faute de quoi je souffre le martyr rapidement.
I think I could reach a point where no medication at all is needed and any amount of sports performance is possible, but that would require 2 or 3 hours a day on only physical training. This of course would mean taking time away from music, which is contrary to my dreams. So I prefer to live with a moderate amount of pain that won't quit, but no longer preventing me from a normal professional and artistic life. Je crois qu'il me serait possible d'atteindre un point où je pourrais entièrement arrêter les médicaments tout en visant n'importe-quel sport que je souhaite, mais ceci exigerait de 2 à 3 heures par jour d'entraînement physique. Par conséquent, fini la musique, ce qui serait tragique à mes rêves. Alors je préfère vivre avec un modicum de douleur persistant, qui ne m'empêche tout-de-même rien d'une vie professionnelle et artistique normale.
From last summer until the end of fall, I tried low intensity laser therapy. Sadly, it did not work at all for me: seriously a waste of time and money. This is frustrating because professional athletes successfully use it to recover from serious injury and there are dozens of people in my community who claim it relieves them from fibromyalgia.

I don't know, however, how bad the fibromyalgia sufferers were when they started and to what extent they got better. Perhaps they are essentially at the same point I am now … there is just no way to know without spending some time with the actual people.

cancer-light
Different kinds of therapy lasers exist, this is the one I had.
Différentes sortes de laser thérapeutiques existent, voici ce que j’ai eu.
De l'été dernier j’usqu’à la fin de l'automne, j'ai essayé la thérapie de laser à faible intensité. Malheureusement, ça n'a vraiment pas marché pour moi: vraiment une perte de temps et d'argent. Le pire est qu'un tas d'athlètes professionnels utilisent ce traitement avec succès suite à de graves blessures et des douzaines de personnes dans la région prétendent que ce traitement leur soulage de la fibromyalgie. 

Mais je ne sais pas quel était la sévérité des souffrants de fibromyalgie, ni à quel point ils en sont soulagés. Il se peut donc que leur soulagement équivaut à où j'en suis rendu (avant le traitement) ... sans se rencontrer, on ne peut pas savoir.

Interestingly, though: during the treatments and even after, I had very irritated nerves in my forearms and hands, and what finally relieved that discomfort was to resume more regular neural flossing and Chi-Gong. À noter: pendant les traitements, et même après, j'avais les nerfs très irités à partir des coudes jusqu'aux mains. Ce qui m'a enfin soulagé est la reprise de mes exercices anti-névralgie et le Chi-Gong.

4 months comparison test: retrospective

4 mois de test de comparaison: en rétrospection

For the past 4 months, I had a borrowed 1982 Marigaux SML to compare-test against my Lorée. Please note, the purpose is NOT to glorify one maker and demolish another: it's really a matter of confirming that the differences I notice at conferences remain valid over time, in my home area and as the seasons change. It would actually be unwise to put down any maker because experience made it clear different people really need different instruments. Au cours des 4 derniers mois, j'ai emprunté un Marigaux SML de 1982 pour le comparer à mon Lorée. Veuillez noter que le but n'est PAS d'en glorifier un et démolir l'autre: c'est vraiment une question de confirmer les différences que j'ai observées restent valides dans ma région et au cours des changements de saison. Ce serait mal avisé de dénigrer un fabricant, parce que l'expérience rend clair que différentes personnes ont vraiment besoin d'instruments différents.
Last weekend marked the end of the experiment: I had to return the Marigaux SML. The experience has been very conclusive: even though this instrument is in bad shape, as opposed to my Lorée which is in excellent shape, comparing them over the change of seasons and through dips in energy levels really opened my eyes to the importance of how the instrument cooperates with the needs of the player.

Although I still really want an oboe d'amore very dearly,  a regular oboe that caters to my physical needs and encourages my musical goals, really makes life easier instead of imposing extra effort and discomfort.

La fin-de-semaine dernière marqua la fin de l'expérience: j'ai dû retourner le Marigaux SML. L'expérience fut très conclusive: même si l'instrument est en piètre état, à comparer à mon Lorée qui est en excellent état, les comparer au cours du changement des saisons et à travers mes baisses d'énergie m'a vraiment ouvert les yeux concernant l'importance d'un instrument qui s'allie aux besoins de l'individu.

Je souhaite toujours amèrement un htb d'amour, mais un hautbois qui accommode mes besoins physiques et qui encourage mes objectifs musicaux rend la vie plus facile au lieu d'imposer des efforts supplémentaires et l'inconfort.
This was really obvious on days when I am exhausted from work and/or have a headache from muscle stiffness: the capricious nature of Lorée with respect to reeds makes practicing discouraging, especially when tuning just crash-and-burns. On the other hand, the reed-friendliness of Marigaux allows me to take the easiest reed I have and sound decently, thus enjoy my time practicing in spite of pain and fatigue.

Seeing that one of my BIG messages through the blog or discussion group comments has always been that playing the oboe and making reeds are not as hard as  people make it seem, the choice of the instrument here becomes critical.
Ça devient évident les jours où je rentre à la maison, épuisé du boulot, parfois avec des maux de tête et/ou raideurs musculaires: la nature capricieuse de Lorée vis-à-vis les anches tend à me décourager, surtout quand la justesse flanche. À l'inverse, la tolérance aux anches de Marigaux me permet de prendre l'anche la plus facile de ma collection et sonner assez bien pour m'amuser avec ma pratique en dépit de ma fatigue et de ma douleur.

Étant donné que le GROS message de mon blogue et de mes commentaires dans les forums est que jouer le hautbois et la fabrication des anches ne sont pas si difficiles que leur réputation ne le laisse croire, le choix de l'instrument devient critique.
It was wonderful to be able to try Dupin and Rigoutat in my home area. This allowed me to be much more confident in my impressions when testing in other locations. Instruments do behave differently with weather and geography, but now I know that I can still correctly find the instrument's character.

Similarly, it remains risky to ask people what they think: people's preferences will be very different than mine. However, I have found that speaking with them raises questions and observations that might not have occurred to me: things to test in future comparisons.
C'était formidable d'essayer Dupin et Rigoutat dans ma propre région. Ceci me permet d'avoir confiance dans mes impressions lorsque j'évalue les instruments ailleurs. C'est vrai que les instruments se comportent différemment d'une région à l'autre et avec le changement climatique, mais maintenant, je crois pouvoir correctement déterminer le caractère de l'instrument.

De manière semblable, ramasser les opinions d'autrui peut mêler plus qu'autre chose. Par contre, j'ai trouvé que ça soulève aussi des questions que je n'aurais pas pensé poser autrement: des choses à voir lors de comparaisons futures.

Dynamics and Expression

Nuances et expressivité

I have found that Smiley does not necessarily play more loudly than my Ol' Faithful, but its sound is much broader and more comfortable in ff. I find Lorée is capable of playing very loudly, but the sound gets ... not really 'distorted' but perhaps 'muffled' with more than a certain air pressure: I am not physically comfortable blowing as hard as I can.

Smiley usually allows me (with maybe 80% of my reeds, in 80% of daily weather patterns) to blow as hard as I can with no deterioration of the sound and completely at ease. Oddly, and happily, it also plays much more easily in the pp, all the way down to low B-flat.
J'ai trouvé que 'Ti Clin ne joue pas nécessairement plus fort que ma Vieille Branche, mais son timbre est sensiblement plus ample et plus confortable dans les ff. Je trouve Lorée bien capable de jouer fort, mais le son devient ... pas vraiment 'distortionné', mais peut-être un peu étouffé lorsqu'on dépasse une certaine pression d’air : je ne suis pas physiquement confortable à souffler aussi fort que j'en suis capable.

'Ti Clin me permet habituellement (avec peut-être 80% des mes anches et dans 80% des conditions de météo) de souffler aussi fort que je veux, sans aucune détérioration du son et complètement à l'aise. Ironiquement, il joue aussi plus facilement les pp jusqu'au Si-bémol grave.
What really surprised me is that alternating between Ol' Faithful and Smiley makes me play much better on Lorée. Marigaux still nearly always helps me reach my objectives more comfortably, concerning tone colour, sound profile (actually visible in wave forms in recording software like Audacity), type of articulation I like, expressiveness, etc.

I think what is happening is that Smiley opens a psychological door: it allows me to believe that I am capable of sounding better than before and then the expectations produce similar results on the Lorée. Now that I must return to Ol' Faithful alone, I will be able to test that hypothesis. This should be very encouraging to everyone: if true, it shows that many, many less experienced oboists are only limited by their beliefs.
Ce qui m'a vraiment surpris est qu'alterner entre ma Vieille Branche et 'Ti Clin me fait mieux jouer sur Lorée. Néanmoins, Marigaux m'aide presque toujours à atteindre mes objectifs plus aisément en ce qui concerne le timbre, le profil sonore (visible dans les ondes-formes d'un logiciel comme Audacity), types d'articulations que j'aime, expressivité, etc.

Je crois que 'Ti Clin m'ouvre les portes psychologiques: il me permet de croire que je suis bel-et-bien capable de sonner mieux que jamais puis qu'ensuite les attentes (et les résultats) se transportent au Lorée. Maintenant que je dois jouer uniquement sur ma Vieille Branche, je pourrai mettre l'hypothèse à l'épreuve. Si ça s'avère vrai, l'expérience se montrera très encourageante: plein de hautboïstes moins avancés sauront qu'ils sont ne limités que par leurs croyances.

REEDS:

LES ANCHES:

The near totality of my reeds sound better on Smiley than on Ol' Faithful. It is well known that Marigaux is more reed friendly and Lorée is excellent, provided you get excellent reeds. SOMEtimes, in some weather conditions with very specific reeds, my Lorée is actually better at tuning. But consider that Smiley is old and beaten-up... and even so, Smiley always feels better and the sound is always broader. One or two of my reeds sound more velvety on Ol' Faithful and buzzier on Smiley: these are usually hard reeds, or easier blowing reeds that do not respond very well. La presque totalité de mes anches joue mieux sur 'Ti Clin que dans ma Vieille Branche. Marigaux est bien connu pour être très tolérant avec les anches, comparativement aux caprices bien connus de Lorée. PARfois, dans certaines météos et avec des anches bien précises, mon Lorée joue plus juste et sonne mieux. Mais considérons que 'Ti Clin est vieux et magané... et même à celà, 'Ti Clin reste plus confortable à souffler et sonne plus large. Une ou deux de mes anches sonnent plus veloutées sur ma Vieille Branche et plus nasillardes sur 'Ti Clin: mais ces anches sont habituellement plus dûres ou bien ne répondent pas bien.

Conclusion:

Conclusion:

The big reason I wanted this long-term comparison test was to be sure it's not just my imagination or the enthusiasm of the event, when I try other instruments and they strike me as preferable. Almost immediately, the answer is positive that the impressions are correct. Now after 4 months, the answer is still positive. My Ol' Faithful Lorée is an excellent instrument, absolutely a blessing for any musician who befits it, but not the best for me, specifically. La raison principale qui a motivé cet essai était de m'assurer que ma préférence pour un instrument ne soit pas le résultat de l'enthousiasme d'une conférence ou même mon imagination. Presqu'immédiatement, la réponse est positive que mes impressions sont correctes. Après maintenant 4 mois, la réponse reste positive. Ma Vieille Branche de Lorée est un excellent instrument, un vrai joyau pour le musicien à qui il convient, mais pas le meilleur pour moi, en particulier.
What did change over time is realization of that reeds do make a difference. A bad reed or a crappy sounding reed is still bad in Smiley, but it is just much easier to play and sounds more inspirational on Marigaux. Ce qui a changé au fil du temps est la réalisation que les anches ont toujours un impact important. Une mauvaise anche gazoue reste mauvaise dans 'Ti Clin, mais elle sonne plus inspirante puis est plus facile à jouer dans Marigaux.
So it is now conclusive that I should buy a new oboe. Which one and when will be better decided next summer at IDRS 2017. Marigaux is a great contender, but I really do need to try the others one more time first. Having tried Dupin and Rigoutat closer to home opens a new fascination with these instruments, so they will help me better assess my needs with respect to the character of all the other makers. Il est donc maintenant conclusif que je dois acheter un nouvel hautbois. Quel modèle et fabricant sera mieux choisi à IDRS 2017. Marigaux est un candidat fort, mais je dois vraiment essayer les autres une dernière fois. Avoir essayé Dupin et Rigoutat plus près de chez-moi a renouvelé une fascination pour ces instruments, ce qui m'aidra à mieux cerner mes besoins vis-à-vis le caractère de tous les autres fabricants.