Wednesday Mar 05, 2008

Quick! Find my note!

(a page of musical notation consisting of lots of rests and a solitary low Gb)

(That's the last thing Puccini wrote in the 3rd Trombone part for Turandot.   Not a lot to do but sit & wait for the trumpet cue...)

You can hear me play this note (and many others) in the Lowell House Opera production of Turandot, starting tonight.  I'll be playing tonight, Sunday, Tuesday, and next Wednesday.

Saturday Dec 01, 2007

Well, that was exciting..

Pippin opened last night.

We were going along really well when, halfway through the first act, the casting holding the pivot & spring of my F-valve trigger popped off my bass trombone (a Conn 112H, which is an in-line double-valve instrument pitched in Bb/F/Gb/D); I'll note in passing for the benefit of non-trombonists that a Yamaha in-line double-valve bass trombone was the instrument mentioned in the well known but entirely apocryphal tall tale involving a Chilean bass trombonist, a firecracker, a mute, and the "1812" overture.  (Now really -- what trombonist would ever use a mute in one of the few places in the symphonic literature where a  quadruple forte (ffff) is written??!?!?!)

Anyhow, after it popped off, the linkage and trigger hung down from the valve, occasionally getting tangled in my shirt pocket but fortunately keeping the valve stably "off" the whole time.  So I was left with a Bb/Gb instrument.  But whoever designed the instrument put in an extra-long tuning slide on the Gb valve so I could actually retune it down to F. 

Having learned the show using a bunch of alternate positions involving the use of the Gb valve, I played the rest of the show alternating the 2nd valve tuning.  Definitely a higher-stress experience than I was hoping for, but it was an (unexpected) benefit of the in-line double-valve configuration that I hope I never need to rely on again...

Aside from that, opening night went really well.

And it's fixed already -- I'm extremely lucky that I live less than a mile from Osmun Brass Music; they fixed it in about 15 minutes for a very reasonable charge.  The tech pointed out several other problems with excessive play in the valve linkages and recommended a return trip to the shop when convenient.

Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

Best rehearsal quote in quite some time..

During a dress rehearsal of the battle scene in Pippin last night, the music director told the cast: 

"Just because you're dead, that doesn't mean you don't have to sing!"

(I'm playing bass trombone in the orchestra of MTG's production.  Opens this Friday.) 

Thursday Aug 11, 2005

Symphony and Release Numbering

So, there I was last Sunday in rehearsal, minding my own business in the middle of the trombone section, and I look up and I see sheet music entitled "Symphony in E Minor (No. 5 Opus 95) / From the New World".   But wait, isn't the "New World" Dvořák's 9th Symphony?  Err, well, yes it is, at least in all the concert programs and liner notes I've ever seen....  the musicologists and the sheet music publishers seem to disagree..

This is more confusing than our release numbering scheme for SunOS/Solaris ...

Sunday Oct 31, 2004

Brahms German Requiem.

The North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing on November 11th at Salem State College in Salem, MA More information is available at the orchestra's web site. We'll be doing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2, and Brahms' Ein Deusches Requiem. The Requiem is one of my favorites; I've been lucky enough to have performed it several times in the past couple years. It even has a (smallish) solo for the 2nd trombone. (Not quite as terrifyingly exposed as the "Tuba Mirum" in the Mozart requiem). At some point I should polish up a rant on why a quirk of translation caused the low brass to be justly rewarded by the composers of the form...

Tuesday Jul 27, 2004

Upcoming Concert

Brahms Society Orchestra (formerly the Holden Consort), 9th season Saturday, July 31 8:00pm, Sanders Theater, Harvard University

Benjamin Rous, conductor
Schumann: Piano Concerto (Dimitri Dover, piano)
Beethoven: Overture to Fidelio
Brahms: Symphony No. 3

Pre-concert lecture by Benjamin Rous at 7pm

Tickets $15 general, $10 students/seniors, $5 Harvard Summer School students Available at the Harvard Box Office in Holyoke Center, Harvard Square, 617 496 2222 (open Tues-Sat 12pm-6pm) Or at the door, or on-line.

(I'll be performing in the latter two works - as is typical there isn't much for us trombonists to do but when we do play it's important. Ben is an excellent and energetic conductor and I hope he'll go far; the orchestra sounded excellent at last night's rehearsal).

Wednesday Jun 16, 2004

Can't escape work...

Last night, the NSPO had a private performance (we do a few of these a year to subsidize our operating expenses). During the pre-concert milling about, the guy sitting to my right (also a software engineer type..) asks me "so.. how do structure returns work in C?" which led to a short conversation about just how badly things can go wrong if you write code for an RTOS which returns structures a few times bigger than the typical RTOS thread stack size...

Concert went pretty well, too..

Wednesday Jun 09, 2004

Funny that this is one of the default categories...

as music is my most significant non-computer-related activity. I've played the trombone for many many years and I've somehow managed to keep a space for it in my life since college. These days I mostly do orchestral playing - both pit orchestras for shows/operas/operettas with a number of Boston-area groups, as well as symphonic playing here and there.

Groups I've played with recently include:

And, subject to free time, I wouldn't mind other chances to play..




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