Braun Solos and Canterbury Tales and Reeds

When I was young, we (the tiny gaggle of bassoon students in my particular orbit) thought it was pitiful to attach a narrative to a piece. Now that I am old,

I see, if not always narrative, then drama, plot and character in every piece that I play. In other words, a story. When I was young, we used the word “objective,” thinking that it meant a pure neutrality that faithfully presented the art. Now I run screaming silently from such interpretations. I am utterly subjective, feeling quite certain that the only way to experience the genius of another is through our shared humanity.
It is summer and somehow that always means time for reading.
I have managed to get to some books that I have long wanted to enjoy, the most recent being the Canterbury Tales.
Chaucer identifies stock characters (though it has been a long time since a munciple has been a common fixture of everyday life!), then proceeds to surprise us with their activities. Braun presents a collection of common enough movements along with highly individualistic ones, particularly the two Bizarrias but also the nutty Fantasias, Caprices and the Concerto. All but one under 3 minutes, many under 2 minutes and some less than a minute. The works can be sequential and predictable if approached in a literal way, but become much more interesting when animated with particular & peculiar characters.
OK, reeds — the process of producing reeds really does take time… today I trimmed 2 reeds, made 3 blanks, wrapped and waxed three blanks, and it felt like a huge indulgence, a spending of time that normally is so difficult to find.
And I think of the different reed-making personnae of my teachers and colleagues— the sculptor/artist (Roland Small), the artist/analyst Sol Schoenbach), the scientist/motivational guru (Christopher Millard), the healer/scientist (Norman Herzberg). The process is always the interesting thing and reflects the core talents of the maker rather than any absolutely definitive system.