John Minsker

“He had the tone, he had the articulation, he had the conception of music—how thorough he was in that—in his analysis of the groupings how two notes are grouped together, then put into a larger group of four, and how this phrase is connected to the next phrase. He analyzed those things and got us all thinking about it.” -John Minsker

Minsker described what it was like to sit so close to Tabuteau in the orchestra. “He could take a tone and he could just do anything with it—he could pull it to the left, he could pull it to the right, he could lift it up, he could put it down. It was constantly in motion—the color and the intensity always changing. There was nothing static about it. You felt that it was suspended in the air.”

By the time Minsker joined the orchestra, they would not have permitted the rehearsal to go beyond three hours. He remembered that “while I was a student, Tabuteau was always working for a big sound—to get more and more and more tone. In those days Stokowski wanted a tremendous lot of tone. So much tone! That’s what I was trying to work on, too, on the English horn. . . . Stokowski wanted a tremendous range—the most pianissimo pianissimo, and the most fortissimo fortissimo.”

From Melissa A. Stevens’ 1999 dissertation Marcel Tabuteau: Pedagogical Concepts and Practices for Teaching Musical Expressiveness: An Oral History

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