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The Rambler :: blog

Monday, July 11, 2005

Catching up 

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Quite some week that.

No one needs to read another online tale of Live 8 (I was playing - and winning - at poker at the time), or the Olympics (disappointed that the fencing won't be round my manor as originally mooted), or the London bombings (I was in Glasgow at a one-day conference on Thursday. Believe me, being in the dark, unable to get to a radio or TV is the worst feeling of all.) Needless to say, I'm fine, as are all friends and family. Saturday's concert went off as planned - rehearsals on Friday weren't affected, and neither was audience attendance, despite the fact that with the closure of the Piccadilly line the venue was slightly trickier to get to.

Actually, the concert came off really well. Bach's Brandenburg no.1 is a real slog for the oboes - less so for the lowly third, but still a slog. And in typical Bach style he doesn't mind a swift kick when you're down, as in the last minuet-trio-polonaise-trio movement, in which - after 20 minutes of solid puffing away, he throws in a short movement for two oboes and bassoon, and then another for three oboes and horns (neither of which contain a beat's breath between them); the final hobnailed toe in the ribs is that as almost the last throw of the dice, Bach chucks in the only technically tricky run of the entire piece, just as tongue and lungs and lips and fingers are starting to tire and fall out of synch with one another. A month ago, when rehearsals started, this was a pretty daunting moment, and it wasn't until Saturday morning's rehearsal that all three oboes were able to convince ourselves that we were able to struggle through the whole thing. In the end we did the usual trick of splitting the parts, and secretly I bottled half the run (I'm really not that good...). So practice may not make perfect, but it does give you the confidence to bluff convincingly.


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