Most professional oboe players (and bassoonists, and English horn players) carve their own reeds. This is a fact that few people realize, even musicians. The process is never-ending. A single reed takes days to make and perfect. An amazing reed might last several weeks; most are at their peak for about two weeks. Oboists carve their reeds by hand out of pieces of cane, because no one has come up with a plastic reed or a reed-making machine.
This piece explores the process of making oboe reeds and delves into the minds of the tenacious musicians who spend hours and hours carving away at pieces of wood that are smaller than their pinky fingers.
This piece was produced for Studio 360
and originally aired the weekend of March 19/20, 2005 as part of their show on handmade art. It aired on WHQR
on May 9, 2005.
Producer: Sarah Elzas
Editors: Michele Siegel and Arun Rath
Recorded in New York, NY
- Scheherazade (2nd mvt.)/Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Decca.
- Quartet In F Major For Oboe, Violin, Viola And Cello (3rd mvt)/W.A. Mozart/Gregor Zubicky (oboe), Terje Tønnesen (violin), Lars Anders Tomter (viola), Trusl Otterbech Mørk (cello)/Simax.
- Six Metamorphoses After Ovid (2nd mvt)/Benjamin Britten/Gregor Zubicky/Simax.
- Ich Habe Genug, Cantata 82/J.S. Bach/Miriam Kapner/live recording.