Mason Jones

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Mason Jones (1919–2009) entered the Curtis Institute of Music in 1936 as a French horn student of Anton Horner, attending Tabuteau’s ensembles classes for two years before joining the Philadelphia Orchestra as third horn. Two years later, he was appointed principal horn where he remained until 1978 except for a five-year hiatus as principal horn of the United States Marine Band. He joined the Curtis faculty in 1946 and stayed for 49 years, coaching brass ensembles, conducting, and guiding two generations of young horn players, many of whom joined him in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Regarding the Tabuteau System, Mason Jones had this to say to Melissa Stevens:

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

In  [the same] interview with Melissa Stevens in 1998, [Mason Jones] spoke of Tabuteau’s classes from the standpoint of a horn player and remembered that the students first had to spend a lot of time on the “drives,” which he described as “attacking a note and learning to come in on nothing.”

Regarding the Mozart Concertante: If he [Tabuteau] was not happy with Stokowski’s tempi, which he felt were too slow, it is not evident in the life and color with which he filled every phrase of the first movement, nor in the long floating lines he spun out in the Adagio. The statement of the theme in the Finale and the arpeggiated variation no. 8 present a perfect example of Tabuteau’s ability to play a series of articulated notes, avoiding sounding either too short and “pecky” or too long and mushy. He gives each individual eighth or sixteenth note its exact place in the total pattern with an appropriate length and inflection, all adding up to a uniquely satisfying shaping of the complete phrase.

From Laila Storch: 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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