Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Maribou says:

    I’m surprised to recognize this. Turns out it’s a piece my grandmother played on her stereo quite often, especially on Sundays. (She was a great lover of Bach.) I just never knew what it was called before.

    Thanks for posting.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Ooh! Period woodwinds! Before they were buried under a myriad of keys, rings, levers and springs. (I was a double-reed player in my youth, I can say what I like about them.)Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Double-reed? How does that work?Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        As a single-reed player myself, I have had to MIGHTILY resist the temptation to pull out jokes in answer to this.

        Pragmatically, here is a pretty good explanation: https://www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instrument_guide/oboe/mechanism/mechanism002.html

        Science geek wise, maybe this?

        (Not to make it all about the oboe – there are a bajillion double reed instruments, all of them except the oboe and the bassoon fairly obscure – but that’s the most studied one and they all work similarly if not exactly the same.)Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        How does that work?

        Often, badly :^) Illustration of the problems, in the form of an anecdote…

        After I had been in 7th grade for a few weeks, the junior high band director asked me if I was willing to learn to play oboe for concert band instead of playing clarinet (clarinet is a single-reed instrument). Unknown to me at the time, the reason he asked was that he had always wanted to do a “Selections from the Nutcracker Suite” arrangement at the annual Christmas concert. In that particular arrangement, one of the dances began with a four-bar oboe solo, and he had never had an oboist. I said yes, and I learned: (1) oboe reeds are much more expensive than clarinet reeds; (2) oboe reeds are much more fragile than clarinet reeds; (3) oboe reeds are much more variable than clarinet reeds; (4) there are many more things that can go wrong* making the initial attack with an oboe than with a clarinet; (5) getting a commercial** oboe reed to the state where you are confident that you can hit that initial note properly is a matter of soaking, playing, some judicious filing with a very fine emery board (often under a magnifying glass), and luck; and (6) having gotten one reed to that state, you tuck it away in its protective plastic tube and begin grooming a backup reed.

        The junior high school was built during the Depression with a bunch of WPA or similar money. It had a wonderful auditorium. The seats were full for the concert. Mirabile dictu, I hit the first note perfectly. The rest of the solo was easy from that point.

        * You may get… silence. You may get a squawk/quack (there is a reason that the duck in Tchaikovsky’s Peter and the Wolf is represented by an oboe). You may get a beautiful version of the wrong note. You may get the right note but out of tune with the rest of the band (you can “lip”, intentionally or not, maybe plus-or-minus a half tone).

        ** Serious oboists all learn to make their own reeds as soon as they can find someone to teach them how. For a junior high player, in NW Iowa, in the 1960s, there wasn’t anyone.Report

  3. Avatar Will H. says:

    Reminiscent of Brandenburg no. 2, I’d say.

    Glad to see you doing these again.Report

  4. This one of those that instantly sounds familiar but I cannot specifically remember hearing it before, certainly not by name. Wonderful piece and very good performance. Thanks for sharing, much more of this!Report

  5. Avatar Aaron David says:

    It is nice to see you writing and posting again @mike-schilling

    I am still not a fan of “classical” music, but heartfelt writing is always nice.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Siegel says:

    I was always a fan of Bleib bei uns, which Douglas Adams cited in Dirk Gently as a perfect piece of music.

    Never actually been a big fan of the AAM. I mean, authentic instruments are interesting. But I’m of the opinion that modern instruments have evolved to produce a better sound based on the music that was written. Beethoven in particular sounds less majestic on authentic instruments. And he specifically wrote his piano music for the piano forte, which was very new at the time. There’s a particular note — I think it’s in the third symphony — that’s only playable on a modern bass with an open string. It sounds majestic now; corny on authentic instruments.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I have that feeling about so much Bach. To pick also from the cantatas, the chorale on “Zion hört die Wächter singen” from BWV 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme) always sounded like it must have existed for centuries before it did to me.