Ack! Yesterday was one of the most stressful oboe days I've had! Started with an early morning rehearsal for Full Monty (bari, tenor, oboe, recorders) - but not before I had to drop off my extremely reluctant son at soccer pictures (daddy would be coming for the game later). Happy times!
So I get to rehearsal -it was the sitzprobe (first time w/singers) and LOTS of sound issues - mics and monitors a big nightmare. And I even figured out how to get our lights on (my tiny victory). In all the mayhem, I was getting my big old saxes out, and I put my oboe on the stand...but then I watched it in SLLLLOOOOWWW MOOOOTIONNNNN drop to the ground. This was kinda shocking, cuz all around me people were so busy and life was going on as usual. The other wind player (M) was freaking out with me though, and I picked it up and it looked ok, and it still sealed, so I tried a note. OK!
Great, I thought. Then I tried another note. Nothin. The second key wasn't going down. Huh. Surely I could fix this, just seconds ago it was fine! But after some furious fiddling around I had to give up (I'm in a dark pit remember, and our rehearsal was starting right then. So I put the oboe away and tried to focus on the other stuff. Mostly I play bari in this musical, so there wasn't much to cover.
Since my repair guy doesn't work weekends I called my mentor oboe godling, and he left his son's soccer game (see how soccer has invaded my life?) to help me out. We messed around with the oboe for over an hour, tweeking springs and checking binding keys but finally figuring it must be a bumper pad that fell off. This is the tiniest piece of cork acting as a spacer. So we put a piece of cork in and it seemed ok. G had no contact cement but we had some at home so I left (gratefully!)
J glued the cork and I started adjusting, when another cork fell off! This is a sign, I thought - been meaning to send my oboe off for an overhaul with the fabulous Carlos for a while now. But of course I had the big Scherazade concert last night which I REALLY wanted to play on the Loree. I am fortunate to have another pro oboe (Laubin) but I hadn't been playing it and the keys are situated a bit differently and the pitch is different. So we glued the other cork on and I adjusted - and the Loree seemed ok. But I was bringing my Laubin just in case!
At the concert I warm up both horns, find the reed I like and so on. Everything seem ok - so I play Afternoon of a Faun on Loree. It is fine. We all have to move (which we HATE) for the Haydn Farewell, and since we leave the stage I will have to gracefully try to leave with both oboes and my swab (since I'm having major water in the keys on Mr. Loree). I consider switching to the Laubin just to let Mr Loree dry out a bit before Scheherazade, but I just swab a lot and keep playing.
The Haydn is a huge hit with the audience and we are at intermission. We all go back out and resituate (my third seat of the evening!). We start and in the first solo (of many many) the second key is wonking out again. I decide I must switch right then so I can be ready for the big solo in mvt 2. This is ok, but then my reed up and DIES right then, so I have to hope something in the box works without really trying it (although I had played them at home earlier). Very stressful. Reed a bit stiffer but sounds nice, but my chops are so tired, probably from stress more than effort, although this is a BIG piece with endless playing.
Crazy day, but I don't think the audience had a clue (which is the point I guess). So glad I had the other instrument, there would have been nothing I could have done if I hadn't brought it. Also good experience to relate to those blowhards that don't want us woodwinds to have our "stuff" on stage, I had extra reeds and swabs and papers, without which people certainly would have noticed some wild oboes sounds!
Dmitri Hvorostovsky 1962-2017
23 hours ago