David Weber is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied with John de Lancie. He served as principal oboist of the Alabama Symphony from 1971 to 1993. Since then, has built a unique business dedicated to sharing his expertise in reed making with others around the world. Well-known for his highest quality professional oboe, English horn and oboe d’Amour reeds, Weber Reeds offers products and services including master classes, workshops and private personal instruction to support the reed making efforts of all discriminating oboe players. David reports the following in regards to his correspondence with Tabuteau:
During the summer of 1963, Joe Robinson, an early teacher of mine, studied with Marcel Tabuteau in Nice, France. Joe suggested that I write to Tabuteau and make personal contact. I gathered my courage and sent a package that included a letter overflowing with compliments, as well as a request for some reed cane (with a check) for a beginning oboist in the south. I also sent a few oboe reeds of my own construction along with a reel-to-reel tape of me playing the Marcello Oboe Concerto (with organ accompaniment), and part of Bach’s F Major Missa Brevis–asking for his assessment.
He very kindly replied to me in two separate letters as can be seen below. The first is in his own hand, and the second was dictated to Mme. Tabuteau and signed by him. No doubt, he played my tape on the same tape recorder that Wayne Rapier had given him to record his famous Marcel Tabuteau Lessons.
Mr. Tabuteau later sent me some tube cane, gouged cane, a shaper tip, and some of his personal reeds–a few of which are illustrated in The Reed Maker’s Manual. These letters have been an inspiration and encouraged me to pursue a career in music.
March 22, 1965
December 1, 1965
Additional correspondence regarding the Tabuteau reeds, sent via e-mail to Chick Lehrer in late April of 2019:
All the red reeds were made by Tabuteau and sent to me as a lot after I wrote to him while I was in high school. I’d sent him a letter and little check and asked for some cane or whatever else he would send. The white thread reed is one I’d made at that time and sent along with my request. Also sent was a reel-to reel tape of me playing Marcello and Bach. He likely played that tape on the famous Wayne Rapier tape recording machine which was used to record the “Lessons”. In fact, when he returned the tape it had a very short segment containing some voices from two people on it, overlaying my music. I’d guessed it was Tabuteau’s voice speaking to someone else who likely helped him play my tape. Likely they had hit record button as well as play, or such oddity.
When the T reeds came to me, just as you see (except for the packaging and paper clips), it was clear to me that each reed had been fully played (played out) before I got them. I tried each, but at that time I really did not know what to do with their sound and freedom of vibration. The sound kind of got away from me. I just kept them without trying to use them more. So, I’d no idea when each was made, but clearly they were all made by T himself.
I hope they provide some further intellectual or visual interest to those interested in the Tabuteau reed world.