Orchestra Star Becomes French Legionnaire With No Kisses.
by Edwin H. Schloss
Philadelphia Inquirer 1937
Yesterday’s Philadelphia Orchestra concert was an occasion, mes enfants! BUT an occasion! Also a succes fou.
For the tri-coleur flew from the Academy stage and the official arm of the French Government stretched the Atlantic and pinned the red ribbon of the Legion of Honor on the breast of Marcel Tabuteau, first oboeist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and second oboeist to no one in the world.
M. de Verneuil, French Consul in Philadelphia, made the presentation on behalf of the President of the French Republic.
No Cheek Kissing.
M. de Verneuil made a speech in English of an excellence magnifigure. But M.de Verneuil did not kiss Chevalier Tabuteau on the cheek. Helas! No! Not one baiser! to the great disappointment of the Friday afternoon ladies who had been looking forward to that little climax for a week. But, then, tiens! What would you? And anyhow the audience cheered; the orchestra played the “Marseillaise” and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” And new-made Chevalier Tabuteau blushed to the color of his new ribbon.
In his speech M.de Verneuil cited Tabuteau as “an eminent artist, illustrious exponent of French musicianship, and a notable teacher (at the Curtis Institute) who has sent forth many pupils to prominent posts in American orchestras” – to the greater glory of La Patrie and, presumably, no harm to the Curtis Institute.
Other tributes were forthcoming. A rather funereal-looking wreath was tendered the hero of the afternoon by his orchestra colleagues. Also a dainty boutonniere, a gift of Marshall Betz, the orchestra’s square-jawed bouncer and librarian.
The ceremonies closed (they were all in the intermission) leaving the beribboned Tabuteau outstanding as the orchestra’s second Legionnaire of Honor, the decoration having been conferred on Leopold Stokowski some 10 years ago.
Yesterday’s all-French program, chosen for the occasion, included a Rameau group orchestrated by Lucien Caillet; a first performance of a “Sarabande” by Jean Roger- Ducasse, contemporary French composer; the Second Daphnis and Chloe Suite by Ravel; Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun” and the Cesar Franck D minor symphony.
The wordless chorus in the Roger-Ducasse number was sung by the Choral Society of the University of Pennsylvania, trained by Dr. Harl McDonald. And, once more, a succes fou. Enfin – Vive Tabuteau! Vive M. de Verneuil!
Vive M. de Ormandy! and vive la France!