Friday, July 24, 2015

Resources and reading

I wanted to share with you some pages I've found that provide good advice for musicians who travel (including a very helpful run-down of how to deal with the ivory bell issue), a fascinating listing of Henk de Wit's bassoon and art collection, and a biography of a prominent bassoonist from the Vienna Philhamonic's web archive.

Bassoonist, Joey Grimmer has constructed a website devoted to helping musicians who travel. It's a wonderful resource! In it he provides help with itineraries and other issues for the wandering musician. Especially pertinent for instrumentalists whose instruments contain ivory are his instructions for how to deal with US Fisheries and Wildlife officials, etc.

There are differing opinions on what to do with the ivory on your bell, however. Joey's and others' solution of grinding off the ivory and replacing it with a synthetic is just one solution.

Some who don't regularly travel outside of the US are taking a wait-and-see approach, assuming the regulations will either be relaxed for those with musical instruments or more judiciously enforced in the future.

Some repair technicians have had success removing the ivory ring intact and making a substitute. The ivory ring can be refit to the bell when playing in the US. Ken Potsic has had good success with this.

I have retained my ivory bell due to the luxury I have of being part of an organization that has excellent travel staff who have run interference with Customs and Fisheries and Wildlife. As long as I choose not to carry my bassoon with me if I deviate from the orchestra flight back into the US, I'm fine. If I go abroad with my bassoon without the orchestra, however, all bets are off.

Hugo Burghauser, bassoonist

I had lunch with Lenny Hindell, former Second Bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic, last week when we were in NYC for the Lincoln Center Festival. Lenny played a few years in the MET orchestra before joining the Philharmonic. The name Hugo Burghauser came up during our conversation. I knew that Burghauser was the dedicatee of Strauss' Duet Concertino, so I was interested to learn that he had also played in the MET and Lenny knew him.

When I got home I looked up any information about Burghauser I could find. His was a dramatic life. He was a very powerful man in the Vienna Philharmonic while its president and lost everything when Hitler annexed Austria in 1938.

I also searched the excellent Vienna Philharmonic digital archives for his name and found this. To read about Burghauser, scroll down about 2/3rds of the way and look for his name under the "Exile" section on the right. Click on his name and then click on the pdf. 11 pages from the archives give his story.

A rather different take on his political views from the one given on the h-net site above. I wonder which is closer to the truth?

One more for fun!  Please visit this virtual exhibit of the bassoon and art collection of the famous Dutch bassoonist, Henk de Wit.