(25-2-2013)

Van hoboïsten wordt gezegd dat ze jong sterven of gek worden door de druk op hun hoofd. Dit tragische voorbeeld lijkt dat vooroordeel bijna te bevestigen. Het eerste deel van het hoboconcert van R. Strauss is qua ademhaling ook een killer.

De specifieke problemen van dit hoboconcert werden eerder (o.a. door Bennett) als volgt omschreven:

William Bennett, long time principal oboist of the San Francisco Symphony, describes the difficulties of the piece: One of the challenges of the Strauss Concerto is that the oboe voice is a constant ingredient and requires an air supply that Strauss might have imagined easily available following his experiments with the Vienna Philharmonic and the compressed-air hoses he recommends for his Alpine Symphony.
Strauss wrote these long phrases in the concerto with Bernhard Samuel’s aerophone (or aerophor) in mind. This device was patented in 1912 to help wind instrument players. A small bellows, worked by one foot, communicated by means of a tube within the corner of the mouth of the player, leaving him free to carry on his normal breathing process through his nose whilst his mouth is supplied with the air required for his instrument by means of the bellows.

Uit artikelen in The New York Times en het Mercurynews.com komen de volgende passages:

SAN FRANCISCO – FEBRUARY 24, 2013
The principal oboist for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra collapsed onstage in mid-performance Saturday night, suffering a brain hemorrhage at Davies Symphony Hall.
William Bennett, 56, a longtime member of the symphony, was listed in "guarded condition" Sunday at an unidentified hospital, according to symphony spokesman Oliver Theil.
"We all think the world of Bill and our thoughts and best wishes are with him and his family," Theil said. "We're just all hoping that he's going to be well."
Bennett was performing Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto -- a virtuoso piece where the soloist stands alone in front of the orchestra. At some point early in the performance, Bennett passed out and dropped to the stage.

The performance came to a halt as paramedics treated Bennett on the scene and then transported him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with the cerebral hemorrhage, Theil said. After a longer than usual intermission, the rest of the evening's music schedule resumed
Bennett joined the symphony in 1979 and has been principal oboist since 1987. He previously suffered a health scare when he was treated for tonsil cancer. But he returned in 2005 after a leave of absence.

In an interview last week with KALW public radio, Bennett described how Strauss "wrote some of the most beautiful solos that we have" for oboists. He also hinted at how it can be a challenging, technical piece of music --including a 57-measure unbroken opening solo -- to perfect.
Bennett said he had not performed the piece in two decades. The first time he played it, as a college student, "It was kind of an athletic contest playing the piece. I just wanted to hit all the notes and play it as quickly as possible." As he has grown older, Bennett added, he has come to see the piece as a "vocal exercise" where he conveys the lyrical quality of each note.

In a review of an earlier performance this week, the critic Joshua Kosman, writing in The San Francisco Chronicle, said Mr. Bennett gave “a rare and eloquent rendition” of the work. “Bennett, who last played the piece with the Symphony more than 20 years ago, sounded as virtuosic and forthright as ever,” Mr. Kosman wrote. “He sailed through the technical challenges of the opening movement, and brought limpid purity of tone to the slow movement.”

 

 

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