So I had this oboe. I bought it because it called to me through the internet. I liked it, then I liked it a lot, then I liked it less. I decided to sell it. Two people tried it, and both seemed to like it but declined to buy it. It came back and sat on my shelf for a few weeks, until I pulled it out to see what I still had.
And suddenly it’s the best oboe in my collection! I love it for my Chen concerto because it is so easy to double tongue even in the lower register and to pop high notes out and to sustain a note forever. I love it to play second oboe because it is so easy to sneak in low and quietly. I love it in my recent Big Band concert because the keys feel so small and neat under my fingers that I can lay down the complicated jazz rhythms without having to fret about my fingers – I know that’s a weird statement but if I don’t have to worry about the oboe I can focus much better on the music. I loved it even in a big masterworks concert full of romantic music – that’s where my love affair with it had come to an end previously.
When I see a low note, I know what to do on this instrument. If I set up my embouchure correctly and use enough air, the note comes. On my Loree, that solution works perhaps 85% of the time. Hoping really hard is an important element of making entrances on the Loree, but if I just do my job the Yamaha meets me there. When I reach for an awkward interval, the Yamaha says, Great, Boss, how soft do you want it? The Loree says, Make me. On this oboe it is possible for me to be (almost) completely the Unfussy Oboist that I aspire to be.
What does this tell me? Certainly I was too hasty when I gave up on the oboe before. Perhaps my summer of reed and intonation work has improved me to the point that I can optimize this instrument. Perhaps I’m just a different person now, or maybe all the playing I’m doing on the instrument lately is making it more like me. I know full well that a Loree oboe doesn’t come into its own until the second year – I always love my oboes best at that time – and maybe I just wasn’t willing to give my Yamaha the benefit of the doubt for long enough. I need to be more patient. I LOVE my new oboe!