Edward Arian (1921–2010) studied double bass with Anton Torello at the Curtis Institute of Music in the early 1940s and was one of the many string players who attended Tabuteau’s classes as often as he could. He later became Assistant Principal Bass in the Philadelphia Orchestra, serving for 20 years. Dr. Edward W. Arian had a long and distinguished career as a musician, academician, administrator, author, and public servant.
In 1999, Laila Storch interviewed him by telephone for her Tabuteau biography. According to Arian: “You didn’t have to be a woodwind player to learn from him. I remember how he explained the way to play sixteenth notes. One problem for string players is not to rush. He said that most musicians are thinking 1234, 1234, 1234, and in that way it is easy to rush and become unsteady. The secret is to think of going from the second sixteenth note to the first one of the next group, 234/1, 234/1, and it works so magnificently.” [This was, of course, the first lesson in the woodwind classes, but it was apparently a revelation for string players. The woodwind students used to walk down the street saying “4/123/4-123/4,” with 4 being the first of the group of sixteenths, or for triplets, 3/12/ 3-12/3. L. S.]
“I remember Tabuteau’s long cigarette holder [a piece of oboe cane] and how he used to illustrate the end of a phrase. He said ‘no, you don’t finish it by’—and he put his hand down on a table top–flat, bang. ‘You don’t land down like that.’ Then he blew out a little smoke and said, ‘Now watch,’ and as the smoke drifted slowly upward, he said, ‘That’s the way to finish a note. When the tone fades away, it goes up—it doesn’t sink.’”
The above interview also appears in: Storch, Laila. Marcel Tabuteau: How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can’t Peel a Mushroom? Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.
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