May 3, 2019

Chapter 1: San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1986


I was a first year student on track for a life in symphony orchestras, but I loved baroque music, especially Bach. I had heard recordings of baroque oboes but I didn't quite fall for them. Then my friend the harpsichord student played me a cassette of Trio Sonnerie performing Couperin. My mind fairly exploded. It wasn't simply discovering a nice record. It was an entire musical world that opened up when I heard violinist Monica Huggett play French music. As it happens, I was playing some Couperin at school, but ours was stiff and belabored, while theirs was all elegance and grace, the ornaments rolling off the phrases without getting in their way. I knew then that I had to play this music a lot, that it would never happen in symphony orchestras, and that my modern oboe could never do that. I had to give up the keys. In the next two years I quit school because I won a full time orchestra job, taught myself baroque oboe on the side, qu...

March 18, 2019

On March 21st and 22nd House of Time will perform A Sex Vocibus: Bach's Musical Offering. (You can get tickets at this link). Celebrate Bach's birthday with one of his greatest masterpieces, The Musical Offering! This late work has a fearsome reputation for being hard and cerebral, but it is actually one of Bach's wittiest pieces, and with House of Time's colorful performance and Gonzalo X. Ruiz's pithy explanations, you'll be in on the joke. Follow along as the theme given to the composer as a challenge by King Frederick the Great goes through kaleidoscopic transformations and fabulous feats of counterpoint, culminating in the awesome Six Part Ricercar. Before we dive into Bach's magisterial note juggling we'll begin with Vivaldi's thrilling chamber concerto in D major, RV 94. This gem has solos for the flute and oboe, as well as all the violin fireworks you would expect. Rome Prize winner Carolyn Yarnell's "More Spirit Than Matter" rounds out the program, taking listeners through var...

February 10, 2018

On February 13th at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan, House of Time will perform A Baroque Valentine: Dr. Handel's advice on love and heartbreak.(You can get tickets at this link). Celebrate the Feast of Love with House of Time and guest soprano Molly Netter, with a voice described as “crisp and clear, white yet warm” (Seen and Heard International) stars in this all-Handel extravaganza featuring cantatas, trios, and arias. Early in his career, Handel made a specialty of solo cantatas, exploring human relationships. "Un'alma Inamorata" and "Mi Palpita il Cor" give voice to the joys, pains, uncertainties, and thrill of love. Also included is incidental music from "Il Pastor Fido", (The Faithful Shepherd) full of dances both rustic and elegant, including the famous "Passacaglia". We will serve chocolates and bubbly to complete this early Valentine's celebration. 

The other week I had the pleasure of photographing our guest soprano, Molly Netter. Photography, specifi...

September 6, 2016

On September 30, House of Time will perform Four Seasons/Three Graces, our first program including a piece from the 21st century. (You can get tickets at this link). This past July in Carmel, California, I had the pleasure of meeting Carolyn Yarnell, the composer of Three Graces. Thanks to flutist, Stephen Schultz, who will also be performing Three Graces with us, we were introduced and got along instantly. Part of this was because we both had photography in common, but I somehow felt like I had known Carolyn all my life. We took a few drives together down the coast on Highway 1. (pictured on the left) I’d ask Carolyn bits about her life and about the Three Graces. I was making mental notes and imagining how her answers would influence the way I would eventually perform her piece. 

We ventured out down Highway 1 and turned left onto Carmel Valley Road (pictured right). Sofia Gubaidulina and Avro Part played continuously on her CD player, probably looped 2 or 3 times. We chased the...

August 19, 2016

As the horse drawn carriage sped away from Venice, taking Pellegrina towards her new life, she held the leather briefcase close to her chest. She had lived at the Ospedale since she was left there as a baby. It was her home, her school, and since Padre Antonio had begun to write music for her to perform, her workplace as well. The other orphaned or abandoned girls were the only family she’d ever known. Now she was leaving it all behind, keeping only the sheafs of paper in the briefcase, her four favorite works. When would they notice the theft? Maybe never. After all, these were now published, copies had been sold all over Europe, and Padre Antonio was now known far and wide. Still, these were her works, written for her and a few friends, and seeing them turned into violin concertos felt like a personal betrayal.

As the new wife of the most respected cloth merchant in Padova, playing music in public would be unthinkable, and yet it was her talent and skill on the oboe, perhaps the most...

February 29, 2016

 

 In our upcoming concert, Transalpine Journey, on March 31st, we present a variety of works by Scarlatti, Biber, and Vivaldi. Read on and learn why one of the pieces on the program is called the Damnation Sonata...

 

The Sonata in C minor, RV 53, holds a special place in the oboe's repertoire. The manuscript is found at the Dresden library and has a very interesting history. In 1726 the young Elector of Saxony, August, traveled over the Alps to Venice, where he stayed for one season accompanied by several friends, attendants, and a small selection of musicians from the Dresden court orchestra, which was then beginning to make its mark as the finest in Europe. Its first violinist was Johann Georg Pisendel, who had been Vivaldi's student. The great composer, then at the peak of his fame, was obviously very impressed by the Dresden players, the young oboist Christoph Richters in particular, and in the following years sent many