Tuesday, February 22, 2011


In my musical club meeting on Sunday Keith Bohm played the saxophone and accompanied himself with a piece of software called Smart Music.  This is a teaching tool that includes repertoire for each instrument.

That isn't what I wanted to write about. He studied in France, Germany and the United States, and he described how the vibrato is taught in each country. Apparently the French like a very fast vibrato with an intense tone, while here in the USA a slow vibrato is preferred. He said this wasn't an issue for him since he couldn't do the fast French vibrato.

He also said that Massenet was an early proponent of the saxophone. This reminded me of last year's two Werthers. In Paris I hardly noticed that Charlott's aria "Va! Laisse couler mes larmes" has a wonderful saxophone solo, while in San Francisco I immediately recognized it. Perhaps to me the saxophone with the fast vibrato didn't even sound like a saxophone.

I had the sense at the time that the romantic orchestra in Paris was an entirely new experience for me.

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