Monday, February 25, 2013

oboe oh no

But the most moving and disturbing news of the weekend was the collapse of San Francisco Symphony principal oboeist William Bennett from a stroke during a concert, and while playing the solo part of Richard Strauss's oboe concerto, yet. This article from the Mercury News reads a little more full than the SF Chronicle's, except that the latter says it took 20 minutes for the paramedics to arrive. That seems awfully long in the circumstances and considering the location. Time is everything in a stroke.

Whether Bennett will recover remains to be seen. But the incident itself, besides raising concern for his health, and for being a horrible embarrassment, is a musical tragedy, because Bennett is one of SFS's finest players. I would name three in the current lineup whom I've heard perform particularly outstanding in-orchestra solos, and Bennett is one. (The others are principal flutist Tim Day and associate principal horn Nicole Cash.) If he must depart, it would be a major loss.

(One point about the Merc article, where it tells you that a concerto is "a virtuoso piece where the soloist stands alone in front of the orchestra." I'm amused that it was thought necessary to explain this.)

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