Laila Storch

Laila Storch developed a close relationship with the Tabuteaus that began in 1943 and lasted a lifetime. Beginning the summer of 1944, correspondence ensued between them. The letters to ‘Lola’ from both Marcel and Louise were, in great part, written in the hand of Louise Tabuteau (French and English), and have been digitized for easy reading. The letters written in French were translated into English courtesy of Michael Finkelman. Also included are several letters sent by Laila Storch to her mother describing circumstances relevant to the Casals Festival of 1951 held at Perpignan. This correspondence is being shared by kind permission of Laila Storch and Martin Friedmann.

A note from Laila Storch:

In those days one did not lightly pick up the telephone and call long distance, so that even with their dislike of writing, the Tabuteaus sent occasional letters my way. By then they had become like family to me and often used the term “notre fille” and referred to themselves as “la Famille.” Marcel Tabuteau sometimes shortened his name to “Pata,” i.e. Marcel Paul Tabuteau-Guérineau.


Black = Marcel and Louise Tabuteau letters

Blue = Laila Storch letters and commentary

Green = Michael Finkelman translations and commentary

Red = Charles Lehrer commentary

MT = Marcel Tabuteau

The letter shown below contains the handwriting of both Marcel and Louise Tabuteau

December 21, 1954

1st multiple-choice / fill-in letter created by Laila

Since Tabuteau did not have much patience to correspond, the following multiple-choice / fill-in letter was sent to him by Laila Storch in order to make it easy for him to respond. The words in black are the Tabuteaus’ filled-in answers.

July 20, 1944

Nova Scotia, Canada
June, July or August 1944

July 20th 1944

Dear Lola:

This is to let you know that we are having a fine vacation here. The weather is (cool, hot, perfect) and the fishing is (fair, good, marvelous.) So far I’ve caught 20  salmons, the largest weighing  20 pounds.  You’ll be glad to know that I found the car, the Dieltgens, and Joe Aucoin all (in topnotch condition, happy, ready for action.)

There is (plenty, not enough, too much) good Scotch, and I am not letting any go to waste. The best thing we’ve had to eat so far this summer was what I am cooking. I get up about 6 A.M. and fish until noon, and have (completely, almost) forgotten there is such a curse in existence as an oboe.

Madame Tabuteau is (bored, playing solitaire, she did it once! eating candy). She is having a good rest, but wishes that you were here to (wash her blouses, answer the mail, clean the fish) and have a good time.

Be good, don’t get careless, and keep practicing at least (one, two, three, four) hours a day. Write to us (soon, seldom, whenever you have time to answer it yourself).

Best wishes,

(sign here) Marcel Tabuteau

Louise AndréTabuteau

June 24, 1945

Envelope from Acadian Inn Cheticamp C[ape].B[reton].; postmarked Sydney, N.S. June 25, 1945

Miss Lola Storch
4770 Sonoma Highway
Santa Rosa, California, U.S.A.

June 24

Dear Lola

Received your card and letter; I am glad to know you enjoyed your trip; also, that you are happy to be home again in beautiful California.

At Chéticamp, the first few days I had wonderful weather and exciting fishing but – – since, too much rain and poor luck; nevertheless am very satisfied, no music or musicians around!!

(Page 2) To be filled by secretary’s imagination.

(Page 3) In a few days will leave for Margaree; write often, we will be glad to hear from you. Although I only know your mother *par son pinçeau! faites lui part de mes amitiés.

*Although I know your mother only by her hand(writing), give her my best wishes.

Très sincèrement,

Marcel Tabuteau

Postscript at top of page 1:  Practice like – – – I expect to hear you play really well next fall.

[Although Laila graduated from Curtis in the spring of 1945, she returned in the fall  to Curtis for another year of lessons, all-the-while performing as 2nd oboist in the National Symphony in nearby Washington DC.]

June 28, 1945

Postcard from Château Frontenac, Quebec

Margaree Nova Scotia

le 28 juin 45

Chère Lola,
En route vers le Pingouin le nouvelle  Fl [can’t read] et le saumon. Je passe quelques jours à Quebec et voici ma château. J’y ai chambre immense et fenêtre merveilleuse d’où j’apercois le Saint Laurent et pense à mes ancêtres qui ont rêvé en regardant ses eaux. Merci de vos bonnes nouvelles écrivez souvent.

Amitiés et souvenirs à votre maman.

L.A.T.  [Louise André Tabuteau]

Translation by Michael Finkelman

Dear Lola, 

Enroute with the penguin [i.e., MT], (to the) [illegible] and the salmon.  I’m staying a few days in Québec [City], and here is my chateau [i.e., the Frontenac, an old, high-end hotel on the river].  I have an immense room with a marvelous window from which I can see the St. Lawrence and think of my ancestors who dreamed while regarding its waters.  [MT had financial dealings in Montréal, not far away.  Undoubtedly, he dropped Louise off at the scenic Frontenac, while he attended to business upriver.]  Thanks for your good [i.e. worth hearing] news.  Write often. 

Best wishes, and remember us to your mother.


2nd multiple-choice / fill-in letter created by Laila

August 15, 1945

August 15, 1945

Dear Lola:

We are having a wonderful  time here at Margaree. The main news of course, concerns le saumon. So far the score on this year’s catch is 30 and the weight of the largest 20 pounds. We (are) (are not) going to have some canned. Compared with other seasons, the fishing is poor this year. The condition of flies, rods, lines and all other paraphernalia de pêche, is (satisfactory) (could be better). Joe Aucoin and Ralph Dieltgens are (still on the warpath) (have become bosom friends). The other fishermen around here are (a nuisance) (not causing any trouble) (finding difficulty challenging my title Champion of the Margaree).

The food and liquor situation is (good) (bad) (fair). We have (plenty) (not enough) meat, mostly (lamb) (beef) (chicken) (hamburger) (elk) lobster. Miss Tompkins still has her (dog) (chickens) (vegetable garden) (fruit trees) and bakes (cakes) cookies) (pies).

We spend a lot of time (reading) (swimming) (loafing) (eating) (drinking) (writing letters) (listening to summer symphony concerts via T. S. F.) We have (newspapers) (radio) and think the news is generally bad.  We hear (Walter Winchell) (Raymond Gram Swing) (Gabriel Heater) (Drew Pearson) (Frank Sinatra)  (The Crime Doctor).

There has been (some) (a lot) (no) mail from France.

Any special news: War prisoner nephew back home Compiègne

As things look now, we will see the “grapps and pêches trees” about 1946.

During the coming winter I will probably tell the following to go to ——: (Ormandy) (Curtis) (PSFS) (Hilsberg) (the oboe) (pupils) (the world).

[PSFS was the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society which sponsored a series of Curtis Institute orchestra concerts conducted by Tabuteau]. L.S.

Now we will have to close this letter, because our secretary is getting too lazy to write anymore.

Don’t forget to take it easy, and practice like #-*5$.

With best wishes,

Marcel Tabuteau

Section II Check (Yes or No)

  1. Could you see the explosion from where you are? No
  2. Is de Lancie still in Paris and is he still going to get married next month? Yes
  3. Do you think VJ day will come before the end of 45? Yes
  4. Do you get enough candy and cigarettes there? Yes
  5. Do you miss The United States? No
  6. Do you miss Philadelphia? No
  7. Do you miss me? No

[In Mme T’s writing:]

Dernière nouvelle DeLancie devait se marier le 26 juillet, mon beau frère Budin devait être témoin, nous attendons détails de la cérémonie. Nous somme heureux des nouvelles de votre escapade à San Francisco et merci de votre gentille lettre. Recommencez. Madame Tabuteau voudrait l’adresse d’Otto. Amitiés et nos compliments à votre mère.

Translation by Michael Finkelman

The latest is that de Lancie is going to be married the 26th of July.  My brother-in-law Budin is going to be the witness, and we await details of the ceremony.  We are happy about the details of your escapade in San Francisco, and thanks for your nice letter [about that].  To begin again, Madame would like the address of Otto.* Best wishes and our compliments to your mother.

*[Otto was the German-born knifesmith at Herder’s who worked with MT on developing the modern double hollow-ground “Philadelphia” reed knife.] 

August 15, 1945

le 15 Août

Ma chère Lola,

Nous restons ici jusqu’au 11 Septembre. Quand pensez-vous rentrer, si la finance est trop maigre pour voyage Washington envoyez un S.O.S. Ne manquez pas.

La guerre est finie!!! La nature se réjouit dans le calme et nous aussi. Tabuteau toujours rebel à l’effort d’écrire et cela devient contagieux. Ai lu livre très intéressant sur la Russie. Vous le garde pou cet hiver. Donnez nouvelles affaire Firuz.

Nos bonnes amitiés et souvenirs,

Louise A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,  

We are staying here until the 11th of September.  When are you expecting to be back? If (your) finances are too thin to allow for the trip to Washington, don’t fail to send an S.O.S.

The war is over!!!  Nature delights in the calm and so do we.  Tabuteau can never muster up the effort to write, and this is becoming contagious.  I read the very interesting book on Russia.  You keep it over the winter.  Send news of the Firuz affair. 

Our best wishes and remembrances,

Louis A. Tabuteau

December 30, 1945

Western Union telegram dated Dec. 30, 1945

Mrs. Juanita Storch
4770 Sonoma Highway
Santa Rosa, Calif.



February 12, 1946

Letter on Hotel John Marshall stationary and envelope; postmarked Richmond, VA on Feb 12, 1946

Miss Lola Storch,
1765 Q Str. N.W.
Washington D.C.


Dear Lola,

Please send at once a list of about fifteen persons you know to Coronaet, Chicago; forgot to remind you about it.


Marcel Tabuteau

April 29, 1946

Western Union telegram dated: Philadelphia; 1946 Apr. 29; AM 8:01

Leila [sic] Storch
c/o North Carolina Symphony Society
Box 1111 NC

Heard Baltimore probably vacant
Act accordingly
Sending you reeds
Happy Easter

Les Tabuteau 

June 29, 1946

Margaree, Nova Scotia C.B.
Saturday, June 29th

Dear Lola,

Many thanks for your letters. I should have acknowledged them sooner but as you know, I have no secretary here and my “friends” from Philadelphia were so restless, I could not find time to write while keeping them company.

I enjoyed your picture of Madame Tabuteau’s take-off on a sister ship of the “Sacred Cow.” [The Queen Elizabeth or the Queen Mary] I felt I was there in person. You should give up music and become a reporter!

This year the fishing is very very poor, the worst for years. Reason, no snow last winter, no rain. Rivers are low and so is — Tabuteau.

Since yesterday I have been at Rose “Margaree” and I am really scared at the thought of having to be alone most of the summer.

I was happy to hear about the good deal you made with your oboe, you are indeed lucky, but…be sure it is a pretty good English horn.

Kindest regards,

M. Tabuteau

3rd fill-in letter created by Laila

July 7, 1946

Fill-in returned by Mme. Tabuteau from Paris

le 7 juillet, 1946

Report of L. A. Tabuteau

The trip over was – (smooth) (bumpy) (enjoyable) marvelous

I think I (will) (will not) become a confirmed plane traveler.

We arrived at the Paris airport (on time) (1/2 hrs. late)

The family was 3 neveux avec fleurs there to meet me, and the very first thing we did was to wait for customs officials.

The first thing I did the next day was *du haut de mon balcon regarder la vie passer place de l’opéra et de constater que la mode était différente. Tous les tailleurs des femmes avaient longues jaquettes. Après cela déjeuner merveilleux chex ma soeur.

*from the height of my balcony was to look at life passing by at the Place de l’Opéra and noting that the styles are [now] different.  All of the ladies’ tailors had long jackets [for sale].   After that, a wonderful lunch at my sister’s.

So far I have bought 2 hats. To me, the styles here look interesting.

Prices are (really as bad as everyone says) (not so terrible) and the necessary items of food and clothing are (actually lacking or scarce) (can be had) with lots of money.

The weather is (beautiful and sunny) (too hot) for 3 days (rainy) the first day.

L’Opéra no but 3 times au theatre.

All my family is (well) (happy) (look about the same) (have changed a lot) Tabuteau’s sister

Now that I am actually back here in France, I feel (my apprehension before leaving Phila. was unecessary)

(I was right to be worried about the way I might find things here) (I think I would like to stay) (It’s too early to tell yet.)

signed Louise André Tabuteau 

*Plus tard vous aurez une vrai lettre. Je pars dans le Midi mercredi.

*Later you’ll get a real letter.  I leave Wednesday noon.

*P.T.O. Voudrez-vous m’envoyer l’adresse et le nom exacts de Miss Gartha? Wolfl? About 13 x Juniper or Walnut St.  Orthopodist. Merci.

*P.S.  Would you send me the address and the exact name of Miss Gartha?  

[The above letter mailed from Paris to Miss Laila Storch, 260 S. 16th Street, Philadelphia 2, Pa. U.S.A., with return address given by Mme. T as T’s brother, 39 avenue Vert Coteau, Toulon, Var.]

July 24, 1946

Postcard with picture of Toulon

Lola Storch
260 S. 16th St.
Phila. 2 Penna.

le 24 juillet 46
La Pingouinette

Ma chère Lola,

Reçu votre lettre du 14 juillet merci. Après quelques jours à Toulon suis venue à la Pingouinette où j’ai touvé maison en moins lamentable état que je ne le craignais. Nous viendrons y passer l’été 47. Reçu cable de M. Tabuteau hier mais l’anglais est tel que je ne comprends pas un mot. Mais sais tout  au moins qu’il pense à moi.  Rentre Paris dans 10 jours.

Bonnes amitiés,

L. A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

24 July 1946  (from the “Pingouinette”, the Tabuteaus’ house in the south of France)

My dear Lola,

Received your letter of the 14th of July, thanks.  After several days at Toulon, I went to the Pingouinette, where I found the house in less awful shape than I feared I would.  We’re going to spend the summer of ’47 there.  Got the cable from M. Tabuteau yesterday, but the English is such that I can’t understand a word. [!!]  But I know at least that he’s thinking of me.  I return to Paris in ten days.

All the best,

L.A. Tabuteau

July 29, 1946

Margaree, Nova Scotia C.B.

July 29. 46

My dear Lola,

For the last three weeks have been suffering of a severe crisis of gout. Received from the Drake my mail, some of which I will have to send to you to be taken care of.

No rain. The fishing is still very poor.

How about sending me a couple of nice books. I enjoyed “The Last Time I Saw Paris.”

The weather here is superb like the French Riviera in the Spring, but here alone, find the attractions rather boring.

Hope you received the English horn, now, be careful. Good instruments are rare and do not let anybody talk you out of one to keep it in exchange of another one. Confidential, you understand! Wait for me to decide.

Do not speak to anyone about Graf [manufacturer of gouging machines]. If you go to see him, give him my regards and remind him about what I expect to have ready next September.

Hope the hellish weather of Philadelphia is not too much for you. It must be terrible in the studio! The idea to go back to work gives me nausea!!

Madame Tabuteau was rather upset about conditions in Paris. She is now South [Riviera] and appears to be more optimistic.

Was advised not to go this summer, but she expects to stay abroad until September.

Cordially, Marcel Tabuteau

P.S. Birthday cards were enjoyed. The first one came absolutely on time.

Summer 1946

Margaree, Nova Scotia C.B.

Received a cable from Mrs. Tabuteau, she was delighted about her trip.

P.S. Just received your last letter, I am glad you had a nice time in New York and a possible engagement in Kansas City. It will do you good to play English horn.

Although I wrote to you, send me the questionnaire. I always enjoy it.

Think of…me…feeling like a “Sacred Bull.”

M. Tabuteau

August 12, 1946

July 2nd / August 12th

Dear Lola,

Thanks for the books… and the Variations. I wish the theme could interest me as much as it inspires you!

Am still gouty and boring to myself. Please answer for me the enclosed letter and try to hook the job with the theme. All the “very” first-class oboe players I know are already engaged for next season, but could recommend a “very” promising young artist whom to my knowledge would do “very” well if given an opportunity etc. etc.

Try to inquire at the Drake if they received a parcel or bag from France containing oboe cane. If so, tell them to keep it with great care! Also try to see Graf, and tell him to do his best to have the machines and shapers ready for me.

I expect to be back in Philadelphia about the 10th of September. Please have studio in good order!


Marcel Tabuteau

August 12, 1946

Postcard [from Louise Tabuteau] with picture of Palais et jardins du Luxembourg, postmarked “Blois”

260 S. 16th St

le 12 Aôut 1946

Ma chère Lola,

La vie continue à être intéressante et me voici de retour Paris et Blois après séjour dans le midi. M. Tabuteau est bien malheureux dans son Canada. il faut lui écrire et ne pas oublier de lui envoyer le journal. J’ai reçu votre premiere lettre qui a pris son temps pour m’arriver.

Mes biens affectueux souvenirs,

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My Dear Lola,

Life continues to be interesting, and here I am back in Paris and Blois after a stay in the Midi.  M. Tabuteau is quite unhappy in his [place in] Canada.  You must write [him] and don’t forget to send the newspaper.  I received your first letter, which took some time to get here.

With very affectionate remembrances,

August 27, 1946

[Letter written from]:

Hotel Monsigny
1, 3, 5, Rue Monsigny
2 Arr

[Return address]:

6 rue de Maubeuge
Paris IX

le  27 août  [1946]

Ma chère Lola.

Me voici rentrée Paris et installée à cette hôtel voisin de la Banque de France et proche de l’opéra. Depuis 2 jours Paris célèbre l’anniversaire de sa libération et le soir illuminé ses monuments et hier peu avant minuit ai fait très belle promenade de l’étoile à la Concorde, la Madeleine, l’opéra – etc. tout cela flamboyant. Les theâtres commencent à peine à rouvrir, jusqu’ici ne suis allée qu’une fois à l’opéra “La Flute enchantée” et Gromer jouait du hautbois. naturellement ce n;est pas la même chose. Paris est encore très mort, nombreuses sont les maisons fermées en vacances  et en a parfois beaucoup de mal à trouver un restaurant ouvert. Ainsi va la vie nouvelle et ses réforms sociales—-le régine du moindre sinon du nul effort,

Le Drake est-il encore debout et y a-t-on reçu les roseaux envoyés de Toulon par André Tabuteau. celui-ci se tourmente à ce sujet et voudrait bien savoir. Pourriez-vous aller aux renseignements?

Autre petite chose je vous serais reconnaissante de faire. Mrs. Herbert C. Morris (vous trouvez son adresse dans livre téléphone “outside” Phila. je crois) charmante dame qui aime l’orchestre, les musiciens en général et le Pingouin en particulier a eu la gentillesse de faire envoyer des paquets chez le D. Budin. Savon et bonbons. Quatre paquets sont dejà arrivés et deux autres annoncés. Je ne peux lui écrire car je n’ai pas son adresse. Voudriez-vous lui écrire de suite pour lui dire que le Dr. et moi nous avons trouvé ses aimables paquets en rentrant à Paris et que nous lui sommes très très reconnaissants de sa gentillesse et que je lui écrirai dès que je serai sûre de son adresse. Veuillez donc aussi m’envoyer son adresse “Airmail” et chez Budin la Rue Maubeuge.

Je suis désolée de vous donner ce soucis mais il faut que je remercie la chère dame. Comme elle doit faire partie des comités orchestre il se peut que son adresse soit dans programmes orchestra.

Il ne fait ni chaud ni beau ici et presque tous les soirs à la sortie des théâtres il pleut à verse, heureusement que les taxis sont revenus. les autobus aussi circulent mais seulement jusqu’à neuf heures soir et le métro minuit.

Je continue à être ahurie par les prix astronomiques des maintes choses surtout des restaurants et la patience bovine des français qui silencieusement font la queue partout et pour tout.

Avez-vous des nouvelles du Canada. écrivez à M. Tabuteau il ne s’amuse quère dans son coin et attend sans doute septembre avec impatience. Je compte toujours partir le 14  et espère que vous serez encore à Phila.  Passez nouvelles à Made. D’Ambosio, ai reçu sa lettre. A bientôt et sachez que je ne manque jamais d’acheter The New York Herald Tribune et trouve du plaisir à le lire.

Affectueux souvenir,

L.A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

Here I am back in Paris and settled in a hotel nearby the Banque de France and close to the Opéra.  For two days, Paris has been celebrating the anniversary of its liberation. In the evenings, the monuments are illuminated, and yesterday, a little before midnight, there was a very attractive procession from the Étoile to the [Place de la] Concorde, the Madeleine, the Opéra, etc. — all quite flamboyant.  The theatres are just barely beginning to reopen.  Up till now, I’ve just been once to the Opéra: the Magic Flute, and [Louis]  Gromer was playing oboe.  Naturally it’s not the same thing [as it was before the war].

Paris is still quite dead.  Many of the houses are closed “on holiday” [i.e., the absentee owners are pretending they will be back soon].  And one sometimes has a great deal of difficulty in finding a restaurant that’s open.  So it is with modern life and its social reforms: the regime of much ado about nothing.

Is The Drake still standing, and has the tube cane sent by André Tabuteau from Toulon arrived?  He [André] is worried about this and wants to know.  Would you look after this matter?

Another little thing I’d be grateful if you could do.  Mrs. Herbert C. Morris — (you’ll find her address in the Philadelphia suburban directory, I believe) — a charming lady very fond of the orchestra, musicians in general, and the Penguin in particular, has been kind enough to have the packets sent to Doctor Budin: soap and candy.  Four packages have already arrived, and two more are expected.  I can’t write her because I don’t have her address.  Would you write her immediately and tell her that the doctor and I got her lovely packages upon returning to Paris and that we are very grateful for her kindness, and that I will write her as soon as I am certain of her address.  Please also send me her address by airmail via the Budins’.

I am sorry to bother you about this, but I must thank the dear lady [as soon as I can]. As she must be a member of the Orchestra committees, it is possible that her address may be found in the programs.

It’s neither hot nor nice, and on almost all evenings, upon leaving the theatre, it is raining.  Happily, taxi service has returned.  The buses are circulating too, but seldom until 9 PM, and the subway ceases at midnight.

I continue to be flabbergasted by the astronomical prices of many things, above all the restaurants, and the positively docile patience of the people here who line up everywhere and for everything [i.e., nearly everything was rationed, which required waiting in long lines for all kinds of goods to be doled out].

Do you have news of Canada [where MT went that summer]? Write Tabuteau, who is not very happy in his retreat, and is undoubtedly waiting impatiently for September [i.e., for things to return to normal].   I am still expecting to leave on the 14th, and hope you will still be in Philadelphia.  Update Mrs. d’Ambrosio [in regard] the letter I got from her.  

See you soon and know that I never fail to buy the New York Herald-Tribune, and take pleasure in reading it.  

Affectionate remembrance[s],

L.A. Tabuteau 

November 15, 1946

Telegram; dated 1946 Nov 15, AM 3:58

Lola Storch
3700 Baltimore

Have enjoyed all your letters immensely and approve home cooking; also think cats situation worth going into but don’t forget the poor dogs here. Will be home Friday midnight waiting. Reeds hellish as ever and everything else, too. Have already booked reservation for May and sold piano [in the] studio.

Les Tabuteau

December 1946

Small Christmas card
Probably to accompany gift or enclosure

*Pour charmer les heures de cetter nouvelle année! Qu’elle soit belle et heureuse.

*To enchant the hours of the coming new year: here’s hoping it’s lovely and happy [for you].

Louise André Tabuteau

Marcel Tabuteau, Noël 1946  (c’est une authentique)  [refers to his signature]

December 25, 1946

Western Union Holiday Greeting telegram, date Dec 25, 1946; AM 12:26

Lola Storch
3700 Baltimore

Just opened the box. Enjoyed every gift, and will miss Lola for Christmas; but trees and reindeer will shine at your place. Received beautiful painting from your mother also: cats playing around a tree. We love it. Though we don’t answer, write often. A very happy Christmas and love,

Les Tabuteau 

December 31, 1946 

Special Delivery letter postmarked Dec. 31, 1946


10 h 1/2 soiret tous nos voeux ma chére Lola pour 1947. J’arrive de N.Y. et rapporte pour vous ce petit souvenir. M.Tabuteau est à Washington ce soir mais rentre dans la nuit.

C’était gentil de nous téléphoner dimanche et par exception nous étions sortis dans la journée; dîné chez les Serpentini.

Donnez voulez-vous bien votre numero téléphone au cas où – – -. Je l’ai je crois, mais il faudrait chercher.

Je me hâte pour ne pas manquer dernière levée. A la gare Broad Street vient de voir Beck. l’air resplendissant et avec elle un jeun français qu’elle avait rencontré dans le train et imaginez elle emmenait ce jeun garçon au Bellevue où elle devait retrouver son mari! !

A plus tard autres nouvelles. heureuse année –. on m’a dit que vous pourriez comme Carmen chanter “J’ai des galants à la douzaine” – – –



L. A. T.

Translation by Michael Finkelman


It’s 10:30 PM: all our good wishes to my dear Lola for 1947.  I’ve just gotten back from New York and with a little souvenir for you.  M. Tabuteau is in Washington this evening [i.e. on a trip with the Orchestra] and will return during the night.

It was nice of you to telephone on Sunday, [though] quite unusually, we were out during the day [and later had] dinner at the Serpentinis’ [Jules Serpentini was the 2nd clarinetist in the Philadelphia Orchestra at the time].

Please let us have your telephone number, in case of —.  I believe I have it, but would have to search for it.

I’m hurrying, so as not to miss the last mail pickup.  I just saw Beck at the Broad Street Station.  She had a radiant air, and was with a young Frenchman whom she’d met in the train.  Imagine her taking this young man to the Bellevue [Hotel] where she had to meet her husband!

More news later.  Happy new year.  I’m told that you could, like Carmen, sing “I have beaus by the dozen.”




January 30, 1947

Addressed by Mme Tabuteau. Letter inside from MT postmark Philadelphia Jan 31, 1947

Lola Storch
3700 Baltimore,
Kansas City 2 MO

Jeudi 30 Janvier 47

Ma chère Lola,

Nous aimons beaucoup recevoir vos lettres mais comme vous n’avez pas encore été remplacée las correspondance au Drake rest en souffrance; mais ce soir Madame Tabuteau m’a chassé de mon cher fauteuil et m’oblige a vous écrire.

Pour l’année prochaine jusqu’à présent personne ne m’a demandé conseil (il est peutêtre encore tôt) et vraiment il me semble difficile do vous donner une opinion; personnellement j’estime qu’il serait préférable pour vous de jouer dans un orchestra qui aurait une saison plus longue, mais si vous n’entendez parler de rien il serait prudent d’accepter de rester à K.C.; avec le nouveaux arrangements dont vous nous parlez, a-t-on offert une augmentation de salaire qui, à mon avis vous est dûe?

Nous rentrons de voyage, Virginie, Washington, Baltimore, où il faisait vraiment chaud 70 degrés à Washington.

J’ai dernièrement reçu une lettre de mr. Tustin qui me faisait part de son intention d’aller `a New York l’été prochain et de son désir de trailler avec moi. Veuillez le remercier de so gentille lettre et lui dire pourquoi je n’écris pas et que je regrette de ne pouvoir m’occuper de lui car nous serons en France l’été prochain.

Ici toujours comme avant sommes envahix par nos possessions mais bien heureux, Nous mangeons bien et j’ai eu la chance de trouver du bon “pinard” de France. Venez vite y goutter.

[continued by Mme T]:

Nous avons une cabine sur “Queen Elizabeth partant de N Y. le 24 mai. le Pingouin est enchanté d’aller revoir sa Francemais nous ne savons encore ce que nous feronss en 47-48. en tous les cas nous prenons un billet de retour. Merci photo Oolong; il est bien beau. Merci aussi “money order” mais rien ne pressait. A bientôt autres nouvelles et nos affestueux souvenirs.


Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

We very much enjoy receiving your letters, but as you have not yet been replaced [as secretary], the correspondence here at the Drake continues to suffer [i.e., is not being attended to properly], but this evening Madame Tabuteau has chased me from my beloved armchair and demands that I write you. 

For next year, no one has come to ask my advice.  (It may be too soon yet.) It really seems difficult to give you an opinion [of where LS ought to go professionally].  Personally, I reckon that it is better for you to play in an orchestra that has a longer season, but if you haven’t heard talk about anything [presumably a potential position elsewhere], it would be prudent to resign yourself to staying in K[ansas] C[ity] [i.e., at least for the coming season].  With the new arrangements that you speak of [in your letter], has there been an offer of a salary raise, which in my view you deserve? 

We’ve gotten back [the Orchestra has returned] from a trip to Virginia, Washington and Baltimore where it was really hot: 70 degrees in Washington.

I’ve lately gotten a letter from Mr. Whitney Tustin who tells me that he intends to come to New York next summer, and desires to work with me.  Please thank him for his nice letter, and tell him why I am not writing and that I regret not being able to help him, as we will be in France next summer.  [Whitney Tustin (1911-2002) was, at that time, I believe, principal oboe in Seattle, and would shortly become principal at the NYC opera.  He latterly became one of, if not the busiest oboe teachers in NYC.]

Here, as before, we are overrun [crowded out] by our possessions, but quite happy. We eat well, and I had the luck to find a good vintage wine from France.  Come quickly and have a few drops.

[from Madame:]

We have a cabin on the Queen Elizabeth, departing from New York the 24th of May. The penguin is delighted about going to see France again, but we don’t yet know what we are going to do in 1947-48.  In any case, we are buying return tickets.  Thanks for the photo of Oolong [figure on the box of tea]: he is very handsome.  Thanks also for the money order, but there is no hurry.

More news soon, and our affectionate remembrances,


February 3, 1947

Letter dictated to Mme Tabuteau by Marcel Tabuteau
Postmarked Philadelphia, Feb 4, 1947

Lola Storch
3700 Baltimore,
Kansas City, Missouri
Lundi 3

Il est dans le fauteuil et j’écris sous sa dictée:

Ma chère Lola

Viens de lire votre lettre et j’ai l’impression que si on met dans contracte que vous jouez 1° hautbois et qu’on vous offre au moins $100 par semaine il serait sage de dire oui. Il vaut mieux affirmer votre expérience; ce qui probablement vous donnera grands avantages pour l’avenir.

Deux étudiants seulement Morris et Martha “are going to graduate” et jusqu’ici je n’ai rien à leur offrir non plus. En ce moment Morris joue dans un theâtre Phila. Petite avertissement – Martha est partie aujourd’hui même à Charleston, South Carolina. Il vaut mieux peut être pour vous, sommuniquer avec le conducteur si la saison à venir vous interesse.

Je rentre d’un concert il est tard. La lettre part [unclear word] Mes souvenirs et amitiés à votre conducteur Kurtz. Mes compliments. Je trouve que vous vous défendez bien.

À bientôt plus de nouvelles et mes amitiés.

Marcel Tabuteau

Comment va le commerce des anches?

Translation by Michael Finkelman

He is in the armchair, and I am writing at his dictation.

My dear Lola,

I just read your letter and have the impression that if it states in your contract that you will play first oboe and that you are offered $100 per week it would be wise to say yes.  The important thing is to validate your experience: this will likely provide you great advantages for the future.

Two students only, [Charles] Morris and Martha [Scherer] are going to graduate, and up until now I have nothing to offer them either [presumably in regard to jobs].  Morris is playing at present in a theatre in Philadelphia.  Small notice: Martha has only today departed for Charleston, South Carolina [probably at the Festival of Two Worlds].    

It would probably be best for you to communicate with the conductor if the season to come interests you [presumably in regard to a summer position at the festival].

I’m just back from a concert and it is late.  The letter will be [mailed tomorrow].       

Remember me with friendly regards to your conductor Kurtz.  My compliments.

I believe you will acquit yourself well.

More news soon, and with best wishes,

Marcel Tabuteau

How are the reeds coming along?

March 23, 1947

Letter from Mme T; postmarked March 23, 1947

The Claridge Hotel,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Lola Storch
260 S. 16th
Philadelphia 2, Penna


Ma chère Lola

J’irai demain à Phila et serai proabablement chez moi vers six heures. Si les dernieres nouvelles vous intéressent télephonez-moi et je vous les donnerai.

Il fait très beau aujourd’hui et le malade va aussi bien que possible. Ne donnez notre adresse à personne. Nous sommes à Ventemor —— (?)Nos bons souvenirs et à lundi.

L.A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman


My dear Lola,

I’m going to Philadelphia tomorrow and will probably be home about six.  If the  latest news interests you, telephone me, and I’ll fill you in. 

The weather today is just  lovely, and the sick one [presumably MT] is as well as can be expected.  Don’t give our address to anyone.  We are at [Ventnor].  Our best remembrances, and until Monday —

L.A. Tabuteau

Spring 1947

Postcard of Paris – La Place de la Concorde — Souvenire de Paris

Été 1947

Merci lettre bien arrivée et beauté havaianne [not clear word]

Louise A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

Thanks for your letter, safely arrived, and Hawaiian beauty [a picture on the card?]

Louise A. Tabuteau

June 27, 1947

Card  of bridge and cathedral from Blois written by Mme T with MT signature

Lola Storch
4770 Sonoma Highway,
Santa Rosa, California. USA

le 27 juin, 47

Ma chère Lola,

Un petit souvenir de Blois où nous passons la journée. Nous sommes en route vers le Midi et la Pingouinette. Avons trouvé une bonne voiture Citroén. Merci de toutes vos lettres et nouvelles. Nous vous écrirons. Tout va bien la santé est excellente et le voyage sur le Queen Elizabeth un grand succès. Le séjour à Londres aussi.

Nos bonnes amities,


Marcel Tabuteau 

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

A little souvenir of Blois, where we are spending the day.  We are en route to the  Midi and the Pingouinette [the Tabuteaus’ summer house there].  We have gotten a good Citroën  car.  Thanks for all your letters and news.  We will write you.  Everything is well,   [our] health is excellent, and the trip on the Queen Elizabeth was a great success,  ditto the stayover in London.

Our best wishes,


Marcel Tabuteau

July 17, 1947

Folding picture letter of Toulon addressed same as preceding

La Pingouinette
La Lecque

17 juillet 47

Ma chère Lola,

Ce matin à Toulon j’achetais cette carte pour vous et à midi le facteur m’a apporté votre lettre 9 juillet. Merci des nouvelles et je suis heurese que la Californie ait encore des charmes pour vous. Nous sommes installés ici depuis le 3 juillet après avoir fêté le 2 en famille Toulon. Notre ancienne domestique est avec nous x son fils 8 ans et le chien donc le Pingouin est heureux car rien n’a beaucoup changé et on oublie les années noires. Le mobilier est au réduit mais suffisant pour nous. l’electricité march le puits a de l’eau et la pompe marchera cette semaine a promis le plombier. Les vignes sont superbes le raisin abondant nos pêches assez rares mais il y a beaucoup au marché. Le frère et la belle soeur sont venus aujourd’hui et nous avons fait un déjeuner—hors d’oeuvre, gigot, purée haricots verts, salades, fromage, entremets gateau [unknown word] fruits, café, liqueurs, 3 sorts de vins — qui valait ceux d’antan. après cela tout le monde a dormi et à 18 heures on se réveille. Il fait beau, chaud et le Pingouin est heureux. il va bien mais n’a  pas encore encore grossi.

Il est décidé je crois à revenir en France pour de bon en 48 c’est à dire que l’ambiance est plutôt sympathique. nos caisses de nourriture rendent service mais nous n’avons pas encore mangé les jambon il y a viande chez le boucher  [illegible]  nos souvenirs  à votre maman.


[Postscript from MT]:

Hello Lola! La Provence est bien belle et sommes heureux Meilleurs [voeux?]

Marcel Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

I bought this card for you this morning in Toulon, and at noon, the postman brought  me your letter of July 9th.  Thanks for the news, and I’m happy that California is still attractive to you.  We’ve been here since the third of July, after having celebrated on  the second [Tabuteau’s birthday] with the family in Toulon.  Our former domestic [servant] is with us, along with her eight-year-old son and the[ir] dog, so the penguin is happy, as nothing has changed much, so it’s easy to forget the dark years.  The furniture is somewhat depleted, but it’s sufficient for us.  The electricity is working, the wells have water, the pump is working, and the plumber has promised to come by this week.  The vines are superb, and the grapes abundant.  Our peaches are not many, but there are plenty at the market. Brother and sister-in-law came for a visit today, and we made lunch: hors d’oeuvres, leg of mutton, mashed potatoes, green beans, salads, cheese, dessert of cake [flavor obscured], fruits, coffee, liqueurs, and three kinds of wine (as good as those of yore). After that, everyone took a nap, which we awoke from at six. It’s lovely [now], warm, and the penguin is happy. He is well, but has not yet gotten larger [i.e, regained his  former weight].   

He has decided, I believe, to return to France for good in ’48, which is to say that the atmosphere [here] is quite congenial.  Our cases of food are serving us well, but we have not yet gotten to the hams, [and there’s] meat at the butcher’s. Our remembrances to your mother,


[Postscript from MT]:

Hello Lola!  Provence is very lovely and we are happy.  

Best [wishes], 

Marcel Tabuteau

August 13, 1947

Postcard of Sanary-sur-Merle

13 août 47

Ma chère Lola,

Sous ces palmiers nous faisons parfois le marché, tout au bord de l’eau et c’est délicieux. le Pingouin continue à se sentir heureux et à part quelques petits colères c’est un mouton et——-pas même une visite à Monte Carlo !! Merci nouvelles du 1° aôut. Maintenant de Lance est en Californie et rentrera par auto au début septembre les huit [unclear] voici son adresse. 1137 Colusa Ave Berkeley vous pourriez peut-être rentrer ensemble. Nous partons sur le Mauretania le 2 sept de Cherbourg et quittons Pingouinette le 21.   Merci photos nous les aimons.

Amitiés à votre maman et nos souvenirs,


Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

Under the palm trees, we sometimes go shopping; it’s delightful [to do so] right at the  water’s edge. The penguin continues to feel good, and apart from a few minor irritations,  he is a lamb  — and not even a visit to [the casino at] Monte Carlo!  Thanks for the news  of 1 August.  Right now de Lancie is in California and will return by car at the beginning  of September. [unclear] Here is his address: 1137 Colusa Avenue, Berkeley [CA]. [The two of] you might be able to come back [east] together.  We’re departing from Cherbourg on the Mauretania the second of September, and leaving the Pingouinette the 21st of this month [for Paris]. Thanks for the photos which we enjoyed. Best wishes to your mother, and our [fond] remembrances,


August 25, 1947

Postcard of La Principaute de Monaco to same address

25 août 47

Ma chère Lola,

La tentation s’est emparé du Pingouin et nous voici à l’usine Monte Carlo où il applique the number system au rythme de la roulette. So far so good et nous venons de faire un délicieux déjeuner au champagne.

Affectueux pensées  la famille

My dear Lola,

Temptation has taken over the penguin, and here we are at the casino in Monte Carlo, where he is applying the Numbers System to the tune of the roulette wheel. So far so good  and we’ve just [had] a delicious champagne lunch.  

Affectionate wishes [from] the family [the Tabuteaus].

October 22, 1947

 Airmail fold-up letter


Lola Storch
3424 Baltimore,
Kansas City 2, MO

le 22 octobre 1947

The Drake

Ma chère Lola

C’est un chef d’oeuvre cette lettre et ma première réaction fut d’envoyer un télegramme de felicitation à K.C. mais hélas il est resté en puissance ce télégramme. comme tant d’autres choses du reste et je suis honteuse de ne pas avoir encore écrit mais j’espère que Lola n’a rien vu d’inamical dans notre silence. Nous sommes des horreurs c’est tout.

Il est 1 A.M. et j’attends le Pingouin qui doit rentrer de Washington, Baltimore. L’orchestre était en ballade toute la semaine dernière – moi New York – et rentrés le dimance les pauvres ont dû repartir le mardi et Monteux est là. Il conduit vendredi.

J’ai vu dans l’international musician que votre Tustin allait jouer. [mot unclear]

John Barbirolli et que Orlando Barrera est assistant chef. Est-ce le Barrera de la saison dernière monte un grad.

Je ne dis rien de l’été ni du voyage de retour. Ce sera pour plus tard. sachez seulement que le Pingouin a recommencé à jouer trop bien et avec trop d’enthouiasme. je ne me vois pas encore l’hiver prochain dans mes “grapes” et le reste. Les de Lancie attendent un bebé. A bientôt des nouvelles et nos bien affectueuse pensées.

Que dites-vous de cette importation de Paris? J’ai voulu vous l’envoyer. Ecrivez.

Louis André Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

That letter was a masterpiece, and my first reaction was to send a telegram of congratulations to Kansas City, but alas it has remained undone. Like so many other things I am ashamed about not yet having written, but I hope Lola has not found anything inimical in our silence.  We’re just horrible, that’s all.  

It’s 1 AM, and I am awaiting the penguin, who is supposed to be returning from Washington and Baltimore.  The orchestra was traveling all last week — [while] I was in New York — and returned Sunday.  The poor creatures had to leave again on Tuesday, and Monteux with them.  He will conduct on Friday.  

I read in the International Musician that your [friend Whitney] Tustin was going to play [unclear].  

John Barbirolli and this Orlando Barrera as assistant conductor [context totally unclear]. Is this the Barrera of last season [again unclear]?

I’m not saying anything about summer or the return voyage, that will be for later. Know only that the penguin has resumed playing too well and with too much enthusiasm.  I don’t see myself next winter among my grapes and all [i.e., back home in France].  The de Lancies are expecting a baby.  More news soon and our affectionate wishes.  

What do you think of this import from Paris?  [Regarding what?]  I wanted to send it to you. Write.

Louise André Tabuteau

December 23, 1947

Christmas card, yellow with kitten and gloves; postmarked Phila. Dec 23, 1947

3424 Baltimore,

[signed]: Louise André Tabuteau

Il dort dans le fauteuil!!!

J’ai reçu cette après-midi une crèche faite et peinte par votre maman. C’est une merveilleuse petite chose et je l’aime. Dans les fièvres des préparatifs du souper samedi c’était toute à fait bien que vous soyez au bout du fil le Pingouin était content, merci et que les petits dieux vous accordent leurs faveurs chaque jour de cette nouvelle année.

Des pensées et des voeux

L.A.T. lundi soir

Translation by Michael Finkelman

He is sleeping in the armchair!  I received this afternoon the manger scene painted by your mother.  It’s a marvelous little thing I love.  In the rush of preparations for supper on Saturday, it was quite [understandable  that you felt pressured], [but I want you to know] that the penguin was happy when the evening was done.   [An interpretation here, as the text is rather cryptic.]

Thank you, and may the gods bless you each day of the new year. 

Our [good] thoughts [and best] wishes,

L.A.T.  Monday evening

January 29, 1948

Envelope:  Airmail 5¢; postmarked Jan 30, 1948

Miss Lola Storch
3424  Baltimore
Kansas City 2, Missouri

The Drake
Spruce Street
West of Fifteenth

le 29 janvier

Ma chère Lola

J’espère que vous serez heureuse de recevoir cette lettre. Je viens d’y répondre. Bien entendu pas un mot de cela à que ce soit votre mère. Pour que vous sachiez tout voici mon mot à Kurtz. Dernièrement j’ai eu des malheurs avec mes dents. Ce matin même l’arracheur a opèré. Donnez des nouvelles.Nos bonnes amitiésLe “centi-maitre”Tabuteau Après avoir réfléchi nous gardons la lettre du chef, pour dossier. Voici copie. Vous verrez l’originale quand vous viendrez. le Pingouin semble se bien porter mais il travaille trop. Hier soir mardi allée Washington avec l’orchestre et nous avons pensé vous envoyer carte, mais projet resté en puissance.. de la neige en masse à Washington et le capitale m’a fait penser à Londres, je ne sais pourquoi.

Projets d’été encore incertains mais futs probablement Franceil est tard naturellement.

Bonsoir et souvenirs,

Louise A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

I hope you will be happy to receive this letter.  I have just responded.  Naturally, not a word about whatever-it-may-be to your mother.  In order that you know everything, here is my word [response] to [Efrem] Kurtz.  Lately, I’ve had some difficulties with my teeth.  Just this morning, the extractionist operated.  Send news. Our best wishes.  

The “centenarian” master Tabuteau. 

[The following section from Madame:] 

After having thought about it, we are retaining the conductor’s letter for documentary purposes.  A copy is enclosed.  You’ll see the original when you come for a visit.    The penguin seems to be holding up well, but is working too hard. Yesterday (Tuesday) evening, he went to Washington with the orchestra, and we thought to send [you] a card,  but that project rested in abeyance.  The massive snow in Washington and the [look of]  the capitol building made me think of London — I don’t know why.   

Projects for the summer are still uncertain, but will probably be France.  It’s quite late now.

Good evening and [best] wishes,

Louise A. Tabuteau

February 18, 1948

Drake envelope addressed by Mme T
Postmarked Philadelphia, Feb 19, 1948
First half M.T.; second half L.A.T.

Lola Storch
3424 Baltimore
Kansas City, Missouri
le 18 fevrier 48

Ma chère Lola,

Tous nos compliments. Voilà ce que nouw pensons. L’essentiel  pour vous est de jouer le premier hautbois. évidement le salaire n’est pas très intéressant mais, cela est secondaire pour le momemt. Donc, nous vous conseillons d’accepter. Ici toujours la même chose, très occupé; vendredi soir premier et unique concert de Max Léon, Madame Tabuteau ira car il y aura au programme Aïda (sur le bords du Nil).

Les anches sont toujours capricieuses et suis éternellement à la recherche de la bonne gouge. Avez vous plus de chance que moi? À bientôt je l’espère.

Bien cordialement,

Marcel Tabuteau

Mme Louise Tabuteau continues:

Ma chère Lola,

Il est minuit et votre père a tenu à vous écrire avant de se coucher. Il y avait concert ce soir.

Peut être qu’avec —[unsure word: art?] vous amènerez K à être plus généreux, essayez du moins, mais ne posez pas d’ultimatuim. Le maître dit pas de blague il considère l’occasion comme une affaire heureuse pour vous surtout pour l’avenir, et dans son coeur il est ravi qu’enfin justice se fasse.

Et le voyage en France! pourriez-vous nous dire avec quelle organisation jeunesse vous êtes en relation. Un petit de Curtis voudrait aller France mais ne sait comment s’y prendre.Quand arrivez-vous sous notre ciel?

Nos bénédictions avec nos voeux et affectueuses pensées,

Louise  A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

All of our compliments.  Here is what we think.  The essential thing for you is to play first oboe.  Though the salary is nothing to shout about, that matter is of secondary importance for the moment.  So, we advise you to accept.  Here, it’s always the same thing, very busy.  Friday evening will be the first and only concert [this season] of Max Leon.  Madame T is going because the program will include the Nile Scene from Aïda.  [Max Leon was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman who conducted one or more “Pops” concerts each season.]

The reeds are always unpredictable, and I am eternally on the hunt for a good gouge.  Are you having better luck than I?  Until then, I hope.  [Presumably in reference to another letter soon to come from LS.]

Kindest regards,

Marcel Tabuteau

Mme Louise Tabuteau continues:

My dear Lola,

It’s midnight and your father [i.e. MT] has held on with writing to you before going to bed. There was a concert this evening. 

Maybe only with [Efrem Kurtz] could you bring about K[ansas City] to be more generous: Try at least, but don’t make any ultimatums.  The master says — and no fooling — that he considers the matter a favorable thing, above all for your future, and in his heart is delighted that justice has at last been done. 

And the trip to France! [This was Laila’s upcoming trip, her first.]  Can you tell us with which youth organization you are connected? A young person from Curtis wants to go to France but does not know how to proceed.  When are you going to be with us?

Our blessings and affectionate wishes,

Louise A. Tabuteau

May 23, 1948

Postcard  picture of Hotel Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Postmarked SF, May 23, 1948 to Lola Storch 2033 Spruce St Philadelphia PA

Took your mother for a cocktail to the “Top of the Mark.” Of course, she never had been there.


May 1948

Folded note with picture of Hotel Vancouver, Canada; on orchestra tour; postmarked May ?; apparently 1948

Dear Lola,

I hope this will reach you before leaving Philadelphia. It must be quite exciting for you to prepare for the famous trip.

Do not fail while in Paris to think of me and give my love to France. The reeds are getting low and right now, I feel like to go back to Philadelphia. Bon voyage, and good luck.


August 5, 1948


5 août 48

Chère Lola,

Celle ci est authentique! Merci de toutes vos lettres et nouvelles, nous sommes enchantés de vous savoir heureuse en France et de voir que vous avez su profiter du voyage. Vous avez bien fiat de vous entendre avec Riboutat. J’espère bien que vous me le rapporterez ou, que vous vous debrouillerez pour le faire parvenir de ce coté.

Je souhaite que Dubois vous tienne parole, car, confidentiellement, il lui arrive souvent d’en manquer; puis que pour moi, il fait le difficile laissez le tomber.

Informez nous de votre date retour. Il y a chez Budin un violon et deux archets que je voudrais bien avoir. Chargez vous en ou trouvez quelqu’un.

Aujourd’hui, j’ecris aussi à mon frère et lui dit d’envoyer chez Budin un autre bon violon et deux archets. Je ne m’attends pas a ce que vous puissiez vous en chargez. Peut être que Madame Boyer pourrait me rendre ce service. Voici son adresse:

Madame Soffray Boyer c/o Madame Henry Casadesus, 2 Rue de Steinkerque, Paris 18°

Pour l’étui faites commande étui neuf pour deux hautbois en cuir 7500f. si il n’est pas prêt pour votre départ Budin ss’en chargera.

Si M. Rigoutat a un bon hautbois pour moi, il faudra naturellement payer. Dites lui qu’il peut compter sur moi, j’enverrai des fonds chez Budin qui le régrerait.

Il fait un temps superbe au Cap Breton et la pêche n’a pas été mauvaise, j’ai fait une soixantaine de victimes jusqu’à ce jour.

L’idée d’avoir a recommencer a souffler me répugne, surtout en comparant l’infecte Academy of Music avec les beaux mimosas de “la Pingouinette.” Merci de nous en avoir envoyé une petite branche.

M.T. – no signature

Ma chére Lola.

Enfin le maître a parlé, et j’espère que ce petit mot vous arrivera à temps pour que vous puissiez vous occuper de tout. Votre première lettre Pingouinette avec description arrivée bohémienne ne nous est parvenue que tout dernièrement, il y a 3  jours, longtemps après autres lettre Toulon. et jusqu’alors nous ne savions pas du tout comment vous étiez installées.

Nous sommes heureux que vous avez fait petit séjour là-bas et vous connaissez maintenant les ‘Paches and graapes.”Vous ne m’avez rien dit de Jean Marie est-il gentil, intéressant?

Pour moi n’oubliez pas le poudre Caron naturelle pois de senteurs si possible et deux boîtes plutot q’une. Comme parfum s’il y a pas le deuxième flacon Belogia j’aimerai un gentil coffret aux plusieurs parfums échantillons d’une bonne maison pour cadeau Noël aussi un Lanvin pas trop grand pour cadeau aussi. Je ne peux plus me souvenir du Lanvin que j’aime mais Mme Budin m’en a envoyé un grand par Maman Andrea de Lancie elle se souviendra peut être. N’oubliez pas eau de cologne et houpettes. Enfin apportez tout ce que vous pourriez en parfum pour petits cadeaux Noël; petits flaconss s’ils sont chers mais d’excellente qualité et nouveaux, s’il y en a.

Et les fonds!! En avez-vous assez. Je vous envie d’être à Paris mais notre tour viendra bientôt. Ici l’été fut mort mais charmant et agréable pour le Pingouin que la passion pêche tourmente encore.

Nos bons souvenirs à toute la famille Budin et j’écrirai à nouveau demain chez eux.

Heureux fin de vacances et rentrez aussi tard que possible

L.A. Tabuteau

The “Dell” fut un fiasco. pauvres musiciens! interrompu aprés 4 semaines.

Translation by Michael Finkelman

Dear Lola,

This is authentic! [i.e. in Tabuteau’s own hand].  Thanks for all your letters and news.  We are delighted to know that you are happy in France, and that you have profited from the trip. You did well to make yourself known at Rigoutat.  I am hoping that you will report that  you have straightened things out in this effort.  

I hope Dubois keeps his word to you [in regard to a new oboe he had promised], because, confidentially he often does not.  Since for me, he does the difficult stuff, let it go. [Presumably advice from MT to let Dubois know that the oboe was for him,  so he would go ahead and make it in time for Laila to pick it up before her departure;  but otherwise to let the matter drop.]  

Let us know the date of your return.  At Budin’s, there is a violin and two bows I would like to have.  Take care of that, or find someone [who will].  

Today, I’m also writing my brother and telling him to send another good violin and two bows to Budin.  I don’t expect that you will be able to take care of this.  Maybe Madame Boyer will be able to render me this service.  Here is her address: 

Madame Soffray Boyer  c/o Madame Henry Casadesus  2 Rue de Steinkerque, Paris 18me.

For the case, order a new one for two oboes, leather-covered @ 7500 francs.  If it’s not ready by the time of your departure, Budin will take care if it.  

If Monsieur Rigoutat has a good oboe ready for me, it will be necessary to pay for it. Tell him he can depend on me, and that I’ll send the money via Budin.  

It has been a great time at Cape Breton [this summer] and the fishing has not been bad. Up to today, I’ve landed sixty victims.  

The idea of having to start breathing [i.e. playing the oboe] again repulses me, especially in comparing the tainted Academy of Music with the lovely mimosas of the “Pingouinette.” Thanks for having sent us a little branch of this.  

[M.T. no signature]

[Madame continues]:

My dear Lola,

The master has at last spoken, and hope this little note will arrive in time for you to take care of everything [requested herein].  Your first letter from the Pingouinette, describing it, arrived, in gypsy-like fashion only quite recently, just three days ago, long after the others from Toulon, and until then, we had no idea how you were getting on there.  

We are happy that you had a little holiday down there, so now you know the peaches and grapes.  You haven’t told me a thing about Jean-Marie: is he nice, interesting?  

For me, don’t forget Caron natural powder in as many scents as possible, and two boxes better than one.  As far as perfume is concerned, if there is not a second bottle of Belogia,  I’d like a nice sample box of several perfumes from a good house (manufacturer) as a Christmas present, as well as a not too large one from Lanvin as a present too.  I can’t remember which Lanvin I like, but Mme. Budin sent me  a big one via mama Andrea de Lancie: she might remember.  Don’t forget eau de cologne and powder puffs. Finally, bring everything that you can in the way of perfume as small Christmas presents.  Little bottles if they are expensive but of excellent quality and new, if there are any.  

And the money!!  Do you have enough?  I envy your being in Paris, but our turn will  come soon.  The summer here was deadly but charming and agreeable for the penguin who is still consumed by his fishing passion.  

Our best wishes to all the Budin family, and I’ll write them again tomorrow.  

Happy end to your vacation, and stretch it out as long as you can.

L. A. Tabuteau

The [Robin Hood] Dell [season] was a fiasco, interrupted [presumably terminated] after four weeks.  The poor musicians!

August 31, 1948

Letter sent to Miss Leila [sic] Storch

On board U.S. Marine Jumper
United States Lines
New York City, NY

Stamped ‘Return to Sender’ by P.O. and ‘Not on Board U S. Marine Tiger.’  Postmarked Fordview Aug 31 and on the back: New York Oct 5 and Oct 6. Must have been returned to the Drake. From Mme T

Ma Chère Lola

Hier soir nous avons reçu votre lettre du Southampton et étions heureux d’avoir les toutes derniéres nouvelles. Je vous avais écrit à votre hôtel Paris espérant vous toucher avant d’part mais je vois que ma lettre ne vous est pas arrivée. Maintenant que nous pouvons vous imaginer sur le Jumper au milieu de l’océan nous souhaitons que vous ne “jumpiez” pas trop et que vous soyez en bonne et amusante compagnie.

Nous partons d’ici le 9 septembre et pensons arriver Phila le dimance soir, ne manquez pas de laisser adresse et téléphone au Drake que nous puissions vous voir dès retour. Le Pingouin recommande bien de ne rien dire de ce que vous avez vu et trouve dans le midi il veut être le premier à savoir. Enfin “Welcome home” comme on dit dans ce pays et tous nos voeux pour un heureux retour.

À bientôt et nous sommes impatients de vous voir et entendre.

Louise A. Tabuteau

Ici temps gris mais agréable et la pêche continue à intéresser le pêcheur qui ne manque pas de succès.

Translation by Michael Finkelman

My dear Lola,

Yesterday evening, we received your letter from Southampton, and were happy to have the latest news.  I wrote you via your hotel in Paris in the hope of making contact before your departure, but I see that my letter did not reach you.  Now that we can imagine you on the [US Marine] Jumper in mid-ocean, we wish you not to jump too far, and that you are in good and jolly company.

We’re leaving here the ninth of September, and expect to arrive in Philadelphia Sunday evening.  Be sure to leave your address and phone number at the Drake, so we can see you right after our return.  The penguin strongly recommends not saying anything about what you saw and found in the Midi [cane?], as he wishes to be the first to know [about these things].

Welcome home in any case, as one says in this country, and all our wishes for a happy return.

See you soon: we are impatient to see and hear from you.

Louise A. Tabuteau

A grey day, but agreeable, and fishing continues to interest the fisherman [Tabuteau], who is pulling them in nicely.

September 4, 1948

Postcard in envelope; postmarked Fordview Sp 4, 48

Mme T’s writing

Miss Lola Storch c/o Marcel Tabuteau
Ludlow Building,
Room 404,
36 S. 16th St
Phila 3, Penna

Tab’s writing

Welcome home – nous esperons que vous avez fait bon voyage. Avez vous reçu lettre sur le bateau? Ne montrez à personne aucune des choses rapportées surtout hautbois et roseaux.  À bientôt, et laissez votre adresse au Drake. Pensons être Phila dimance soir.


Les Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman

Welcome home  – we hope you’ve had a good trip.  Did you get our letter on the ship?  Don’t show anyone the matters discussed, especially the oboe and reed cane.  See you soon, and leave your address at the Drake.  We expect to be in Philadelphia Sunday evening.


The Tabuteaus

September 19, 1948

Letter from Tabuteau to Efrem Kurtz  in an envelope addressed to Kurtz  at City Auditorium, Houston

Kurtz must have given it to me!

[Erfem Kurtz married the outstanding flutist, Elaine Shaffer]

September 19th 1948

Dear Mr. Kurtz,

We have just said goodbye to Miss Storch, who is on her way to Houston with such a marvelous oboe that I would like to own myself.

For a few weeks, she has been working with me and I want to tell you that I find the trip to France has been a great inspiration to her, and it shows immensely in her playing.

She is in perfect form and I am sure she will come up to all your expectations. Confidentially, she plays as well as any of the boys I have had.

I know you are very busy, but I would certainly appreciate a little note later in the season to tell me your impressions.

With my best wishes for a happy and successful season.

Very cordially,

Marcel Tabuteau

November 5, 1948

Letter from Tabuteau; addressed by Mme

November 5th 48

Notre Chère Lola

C’est bien gentil de nous donner des nouvelles et sommes heureux qu’elles soient si bonnes. Madame Tabuteau avait porté l’article du journal pour Miss Hill mais le sus dit était déja affiché en bas.

Je suis rentré de Worcester où j’ai vu Mr. Rankin “à qui vous aviez écrit”  il m’a fait cadeau d’un beau faisan que nous venons de manger. Depuis retour Worcester, je suis en vacances, c’est “l’associate” de Lancie, qui est de service; ce nouveau régime ne me déplait pas de trop, et il va durer encore deux semaines.

Cette nouvelle lumière [can be information] buvière ? de Harry [Truman?] me coûte bien cher les stockes viennent de baisser de cinq “bbbilllions” en deux jours, si cela continue, vous devez bientôt avoir à me “supporter,” better get ready and become famous.

We are anxious to know about the garage, inside and outside. Take pictures; is it safe for a girl, and especially for the “unique instrument”?

Mme continues:

Ma chère Lola,

Y aurait-il enfin de la justice sur terre? l’incident Copland semble en être le preuve. Le Pingouin est ravi et trouve Cop charmant d’avoir pris la peine d’exprimer son opinion. Lui avez-vous parlé français. Il a étudié Paris et parle lui aussi pas mal. Nous l’avons vu un soir chez Ormandy et l’avions trouvé très sympathique.

Le quatorzième étage est toujours pareil, la vie Phila aussi. Le temps fut idéal, mais ces jours ci brouillard et chaleur humide.

Donnez nouvelles souvent et aimerions vous voir en uniforme.  Le chapeau mâle a-t-il eu succès. À Worcester nombreux sont ceux qui l’ont réclamé.

Vais demain samedi au mariage fille Serpentini. À quand le votre?! N’oubliez pas nos conseils et les huiles.

Nos bons souvenirs.


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

To our dear Lola,

It was very nice of you to give us your news and we’re happy that it was so good.

Madame Tabuteau brought the article [presumably something in the Houston press about LS] to Miss Hill [registrar at the Curtis Institute] but it had already been posted down below [i.e. in the basement student lounge at Curtis Institute].

I’m back from Worcester where I saw Mr. Rankin, to whom you had written.  He made me a gift of a lovely pheasant, which we have just eaten.  Since returning from Worcester, I am on vacation, and it is the associate de Lancie who is performing.

This new order does not displease me much, and it will last another two weeks.

The new light from the cow barn [White House?] of Harry [Truman] will cost me dearly.  Stocks are about to drop five billion in two days.  If that continues, you will soon have to support me. Better get ready and become famous.

We are anxious to know about the garage, inside and outside. Take pictures; is it safe for a girl, and especially for the “unique instrument”?

Mme continues:

My dear Lola,

Is there at last some justice on earth?  The Copland incident seems to be proof of it! The penguin is delighted and finds [Aaron] Cop[land] charming for having taken the trouble to express his opinion  [before the McCarthy Committee].  Did you speak French with him?  He studied in Paris [with Nadia Boulanger] and doesn’t speak badly.  We saw him one evening at Ormandy’s and found him most simpatico. 

The 14th story [of the Drake] is always the same and life in Philadelphia ditto.  The days would be ideal, were they not as foggy, humid and warm as they are. 

Send news often, and we would like to see you in uniform [concert dress]. Was the buckskin hat successful?  There were lots of these advertised in Worcester [MA: regular PO tour destination].

We’re going tomorrow, Saturday, to the wedding of Serpentini’s daughter [Jules Serpentini, longtime second and E-flat clarinetist in the PO].  When will yours be?!  Don’t forget our advice and the oils. 

Best wishes (remembrances),


December 12, 1948

Letter addressed by Mme. Written by Tabuteau

428 Hathaway
Houston, Texas
Dimanche 12 – 12 – 48

Notre Chère Lola

Pendant que le poulet cuit je me décide d’acuser reception de toutes vos lettres. Vous avez bien fait d’envoyer le blessé chez le docteur, [Moennig] si j’ai le temps demain j’y passerai.

Dans une de vos lettres vous parliez du renouvellement de contract avec le Houston. Naturellement essayez d’obtenir le plus possible puisque il y a de l’argent, mais toujours prudemment et surtout intelligement. Vous êtes sur place et miuex que n’importe qui, vous pouvez juger la situation.

Puisque on vous apprécie me semble que 150 serait un minimum, mais basez vous sur ce que les autres arrivent a obtenir. it faut que le hautbois soit toujours parmi les mieux considérés donc, à ce sujet bonne chance et tenez nous au courant.

Je vais vous envoyez, sans faute, ce qui reste de roseaux gougés sur machine No. 1 du debut de la saison. Dernièrement j’ai vu Graf qui m’a remis en état une gouge avec de nouvelles idées, ça a l’air de marcher. Vous me direz ce que vous en pensez.

Tout marche ici normalement. le maestro Ormandy est à Chicago et les guests vont opérer pendant plusieurs semaines.

Nous avons entendu l’orchestre français pas à Phila, nous sommes allés à Atlantic City, il n’ y avait personne mais que c’était beau! comme vous avez pu le constater tout est different de ce que nous faisons mais j’ai été très interessé par le résultat, les strings, vents, tous étaient admirable. Même le hautbois qui expose le contraire de ce que je m’efforce de faire m’a fait grand plaisir.

Mme continue:

Ma chère Lola,

Le Pingouin était à NY les jours du concert Nationale mais moi j’avais une loge et parmi nos invités Madame Bonade. Après le concert le hautbois Goëtgheluck et Hamelin sont venus pour quelques minutes mais à 3 heures A.M. ils étaient encore là. C’est à dire que nous avons passé une soirée charmante. Gigot froid, vin du Rhin et tous les fromages…….le Pingouin a eu l’occasion de les voir et de bavarder avec eux après son retour NY 1 A.M.

J’ai trouvé Goëtg—charmant et même presque distingué. Il a poussé la complaisance jusqu’à flirter avec Madame Bonade à la grande joie et bonheur de celle-ci. À Atlantic City, et il pleuvait à torrents, j’ai parlé à votre proprietaire hôtel Paris.

Lundi, demain, c’est Poulenc au Barclay et naturellement j’y vais. Shirley Trepel a donné un recital au foyaer Academie mercredi dernier – le Pingouin a eu la gentilesse d’y aller. Shirley plutôt deprimée, le grand Piatigorgsky absent, le public absent aussi, mais Shirley a bien joué. Voici compte rendu des connaisseurs. Le poulet est non seulement cuit maintenant mais digéré il est minuit. Au revoir et écrivez souvent Nous adorons recevoir vos lettres.

À bientôt et now affectueuses pensées.

Louise A Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola,

While the chicken is cooking, I have decided to take on the task of responding to all of your letters.  You did well to send the injured party [an instrument] to the doctor [Moennig].  If I have the time tomorrow, I’ll drop by there.

In one of your letters you spoke of the renewal of your contract in Houston.  Naturally, try to obtain as much as possible, as there is money there, but always in a prudent and intelligent manner.  You are there and know better than anyone how to handle the situation.

Since you are appreciated, it seems to me that $150 [per week] would be the minimum, but base [your demand] on what the others are able to obtain.  It is necessary that the oboist always be among those best remunerated.  Thus, on this subject, best of luck and please keep us updated.  I am going to send you, without fail, what remains of the cane gouged on machine no. 1 at the start of the season.  Lately, I saw Graf who overhauled for me a gouger encompassing some new ideas which seem to work.  You can tell me what you think of this.

Everything here is going normally.  Maestro Ormandy is in Chicago, and guests will be working [here] for several weeks.

We heard the French orchestra [Orchestre national de France] but not in Philadelphia: We went to Atlantic City.  The place was empty, but [the concert] was lovely!  As you’ve been able to observe, everything [with them] is different from what we do, but I was very interested in the result.  The strings, winds and all were admirable.  Even the oboist who exhibits the opposite of what I’ve always done my best to do gave me great pleasure.

[Mme T continues]:

My dear Lola,

The penguin [Tabuteau] was in New York the days of the National’s concert [i.e, the PO was in NYC when the Orchestre National de France played in Philadelphia, which is why he and Madame went to Atlantic City to hear them].  But I had a box [in the Academy of Music] and among those invited was Madame Bonade.  After the concert, the oboist [Jules] Goetgeluck and [clarinetist Gaston] Hamelin came over for a few minutes but at 3 AM they were still there.  This is to say that we had a delightful evening: cold leg of lamb, Rhine wine, and a load of cheeses.  The penguin had the opportunity to see and chat with them after his return from NYC at 1 AM. 

I found Goetgeluck charming, and even almost elegant.  He pushed his indulgence to the point of flirting with Mme. Bonade, to her great joy and happiness.  It was raining cats and dogs in Atlantic City.  I spoke to the proprietor of your hotel [in] Paris [a reference to where LS had stayed or would stay].

Tomorrow, Monday, [Francis] Poulenc will be at the Barclay [Hotel] and naturally I’m going [i.e., Poulenc was giving a recital in the Barclay ballroom].  Shirley Trepel [cellist friend of Laila] gave a recital in the Academy [of Music] foyer last Wednesday: The penguin had the kindness to go.  Shirley was rather depressed: The great Piatigorsky was not present, nor was the public, but she played well.  So, you have your report [on recent doings] from the connoisseurs.  The chicken is not only cooked now, but digested, and it is midnight.  So long and [please] write soon: We adore receiving your letters.  See you soon and now [our] affectionate thoughts.

Louise A. Tabuteau

December 1948

Noël 1948 card of Place de la Concorde

Nos meilleurs voeux à notre fille et nous lui souhaitons que 49 soit aussi intéressant que 48.

Heureux Noël et nous pensons à vous en ces jours de fête.

Louise André Tabuteau

Marcel Tabuteau (signed)

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Best wishes from both of us to our daughter, and wishes for her that ’49 will be as interesting as ’48.  Merry Christmas and we’re thinking of you during the holidays.

Louis André Tabuteau     Marcel Tabuteau

January 28, 1949 

Letter written by Mme T on a Western Union telegram form; postmarked January 28, 1949

le 28 janvier
2 A.M.

Notre chère Lola,

Paresseux nous remettons toujours écrire lettre. Tout va bien, avons reçu avec grand grand plaisir toutes vos lettres, les photos automne, studio et 1405 merveilleux, aujourd’hui le chèque, c’est inouï et compliments à la femme d’affaires. Le cadeau de votre maman pas encore arrivé. suis inquite.

Pour deuxième hautbois personne à l’….? Avons parlé Serpentini mais il essaye, espère augmentation Cleveland et attens. Ecrivez-lui.

Le maître désire adress Longatte et Rigoutat. Si dégouté du vieux hautbois et…..Dubois. joue avec idée aller ailleurs, il arrive de Washington, Baltimore et demain joue Petrouchka. Les anches ne marchent pas!!! Avez-vous quelques canons 10 1/2 Biasotto ou autre à lui envoyer en surprise? Vous savez san doute Orchestre va Angleterre en été nous essay on partir sur Queen Elizabeth le 13 mai. Quand arrivez-vous Phila? Ecrivez serrons toujours heureux nouvelles et pardonnez aux parents leurs silence.

Ils embrassent,


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola,

We are always lazy about writing letters.  Everything is fine [here], and we received all your letters with great pleasure, including the marvelous autumn photos and those of  the studio and of 1405 [the Tabuteaus’ apartment at the Drake in Philadelphia], and today the cheque.  It’s astounding, and [our] compliments to the businesswoman.  [Like so much else in this collection, this undoubtedly refers to something previously discussed, either in person or by letter between Laila and the Tabuteaus, and here with no antecedent, so it is impossible to know what is being referred to.]  The gift from your mother has not yet arrived, which has me worried.

For [the position of] second oboe, no one at … [the door]?  Spoke with [Ernest] Serpentini, but he has tried for Cleveland and expects to be hired there.  Write him.

The master [Tabuteau] needs the addresses of Longatte and Rigoutat.  He is so disgusted with the old oboe and … Dubois [the proprietor of Lorée].  He is toying with the idea of going elsewhere [presumably meaning looking for another maker], is coming in from Washington and Baltimore, and will play Petrouchka tomorrow.  The reeds are not coming along!!!  Do you have some 10.5mm tube cane from Biasotto or someone else to send along to surprise him?  You know, I’m sure, that the orchestra is going to England this summer [spring].  We’re trying to leave on the Queen Elizabeth May 13th.  When are you getting in to Philadelphia?  [Please] write.  [We’re] always happy to receive your news, and please pardon the parents for their silence.

We embrace you,


April 11, 1949

Special Delivery Airmail letter from Mme T postmarked April 11

Dimanche 9h 30

Ma chère Lola,

Nous devions vous écrire une vraie lettre mais le Pingouin a travaillé toute la journée (records depuis 10 h A.M. Piatigorgsky et autres) et après excellent diné (poulet vin d’Alsace etc) s’est endormi à tableet je viens de le déposer dans son lit où Morphée s’est déjà emparé de lui. demain midi il parts pour Washington mais rentréra dans nuit mardi à mercredi. Nous serons donc ici tous les deux jeudi pour vous recevoir en grande gloire.

Votre Kurtz a écrit lettre très élogieuse c’est alors un dégoutant personnage s’il n’a pas offert excellent contrat mais ainsi va cette sale vie et il ne faut pas s’en faire.

Ce fut je crois la saison des dents cassées Moi deux en quinze jours mais machoire réparée  il ne faut rien dire au Pingouin. Il est encore trop jeune pour comprendre. Bon voyage et à jeudi. Je me hâte dans l’espoir que ce petit mot arrivera avant votre départ.

Nos bonnes pensées,


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

We intended to write you a real letter, but the penguin worked all day (making records with Piatigorsky and others from 10 AM on), [Saint-Säens Cello Concerto No. 1] and after an excellent dinner (chicken with Alsatian wine), he fell asleep at the table, and I’ve just dropped him in his bed, where Morpheus has already wrapped him in his arms.  Tomorrow noon, he leaves for Washington [DC] but will return Tuesday night.  We will therefore be here both Thursdays in order to receive you in grand style!

Your [Mr.] Kurtz wrote a very complimentary letter, but is a rotten person if he has not offered an excellent contract, but so it goes in this vile life, and not worth worrying about.

This has been, I believe, the season of broken teeth: for me, two in two weeks, though repaired — but don’t mention this to the penguin.  He is still too young to understand.[!!] Bon voyage, and until Thursday.  I’m hurrying in the hope that this little missive will arrive before your departure.

Our best wishes,


May 24, 1949

From Mme T; postmarked Southampton, 26 May, 1949; Paquebot
Posted at Sea on Cunard White Star R.M.S. Caronia paper

Miss Lola Storch c/o Tabuteau
The Drake
1512 Spruce St.

Mardi le 24 mai 49

Ma Chère Lola,

Nous n’avons pas eu très beau temps. Ciel gris et brouillard depuis hier seulement un peu de soleil. Je ne sais pourquoi mais la traversée me semble longue et “boring” pourtant on sert le thé à toutes heures de la journée et de la nuit!  Finalement Miss Bates est venue me conduire au train de 10 heures et moi et mes baggages nous avons pris un pullman. Pas de retard au train si bien que je suis comme le Pingouin arrivée trop tôt au dock. Le bateau est parti exactement à l’heure et en prenant le thé, assise à une petite table dans un jardin d’hiver j’ai vu New York et ses grattes ciel glisser sous mes yeux, c’était la fin du jour et c’était merveilleux. J’ai malheureusement manqué “The old Lady” qui se trouvait de l’autre côté. Je l’ai quand même aperçue plus tard mais de très loin. Ma cabine est bien, deux hublots et une douche mais j’ai pour mon malheur herité de la couchette supplémentaire dans laquelle il faut grimper par l’échelle, ce n’est pas grand malheur mais mon âge méritait mieux. C’est une toute jeune (anglaise) qui a le bon lit. Le vendredi j’ai reçu un cable envoyé du “Parthia”. Il se souvient donc encore de ce monde.

Nous arrivons au Havre jeudi à 5 A.M! toute à fait mes heures n’est-ce pas. J’espère qu’on nous fera pas débarquer si tôt.

Qu’avez vous décidé opération?? J’espère que vous avez envoyé petit mot chez Budin que je sache se que vous faites et où vous coucher, et j’espère surtout, si vous décidez affimative, que tout se passera au mieux. Avez-vous consulté votre ex-docteresse. Il ya une jeune docteresse à table avec moi, 28 ans et ell m’est trè sympatique. Je lui ferai peut être connaitre Jacqueline.

Connaissez-vous les messieurs du fameux quartet de Boston? Il y en a un à bord Wolfinsohn-lui et sa famille vayagent avec anciens professeurs de Bryn Mawr College qui m’ont reconnue et hier soir j’ai diné avec ce groupe de savants et artistes et ne me suis pas ennuyée. Nous avons bu un bon Bourgogne rouge et après joué au Bingo et gagne.

Maintenant ma chère Lola derniers conseils pour appartement. Je suppose qu’il est maintenant balayé et propre mais si vous le voulez bien mettez camphre [moth balls] sous le divan et dans les couverture laine que j’ai laissées sous couverture divan vert. Il faut empêcher ces ? dams mittes [moths]?? de s’installer au quatorzième.

De Paris je vous écrirai et encore merci d’être venue m’aider aux derniers heures et un heureux été je vous souhaite en attendant mieux.

Affectueux souvenir,


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

We haven’t had any too pretty weather lately.  Grey skies and foggy — since yesterday only a bit of sunshine.  I don’t know why, but the crossing seemed to me long and “boring” even though [high] tea is served at all hours of the day and night!  [Earlier, in Philadelphia] Miss Bates [perhaps, someone from Curtis] came to show me to the ten o’clock train, and I with my baggage got into a Pullman.  The train was not late, [and as a result], I, like the penguin arrived at the dock too early.  The boat left exactly on time, and in taking tea, seated at a little table in a winter garden, I saw New York and its skyscrapers slipping by my view at twilight, and it was marvelous.  I’ve unfortunately lost “the old lady” on the other side [i.e., the Statue of Liberty].  Even so, I caught sight of her later, but from far away.  My cabin is good, two portholes and a shower, but I have had the bad luck to have inherited the extra berth, which one must climb into via ladder.  It’s no great trouble, but at my age, I deserve better.  A quite young English lady has the good bed.  I got a cable from the “Parthia” [a ship] last Friday.  He [Tabuteau] still remembers where he is in the world.

We arrived at Le Havre Thursday at 5 AM! — just my kind of hour, no?  I hope they won’t make us disembark so early.

What have you decided about the operation??  I hope you’ve sent word to Budin, so that I can know what you are doing and where you’ll be staying.  I hope above all if you decide in the affirmative, that all will go well.  Have you consulted your former doctor?  There is a young (female) doctor at the (ship’s) table with me, 28 years old, who strikes me as very simpatico.  Maybe I’ll put her in touch with [Dr.] Jacqueline.

Do you know the gentlemen of the famous quartet in Boston?  One is on board.

Wolfinsohn and his family are traveling with some former professors from Bryn Mawr College who recognized me, and yesterday evening I dined with this group of savants and artists, and was not bored.  We drank a good red Bourgogne, and afterwards played bingo and won!  

Right now my dear Lola, some final advice regarding the apartment [i.e., the Tabuteaus’ residence at the Drake in Philadelphia].  I suppose it’s already swept out and clean, but [if possible] please put some camphor under the divan and in the wool covers which I left under the cover of the green couch.  It is necessary to prevent those damned moths from establishing themselves on the 14th floor.

I’ll write from Paris, and thanks again for coming to my aid at the last moment.

I wish you a happy summer and look forward to good news [presumably regarding the operation]. 

Affectionate remembrance[s],


July 1, 1949

Letter from Mme addressed to Santa Rosa; postmarked Blois 4, 7 1949

le 1 Juillet 49

Ma chère Lola,

Il est 9 A.M. et nous somme chez Jacqueline qui va faire au pauvre Pingouin une ponction de sinus c’est dire que notre maître souffre encore de ses maux de tête et qu’on essaye de le guérir. Il allait mieux mais dans les meetros profoundes de Londres il a dû attraper un shume qui s’est localisé dans la tête. A part cette mauvaise nouvelle tout va bien. Il y a presque deux semaines que le Pingouin est à Paris où il a eu un temps idéal. Ciel bleu tous les jours et même chaleur extrème mais les nuits sont fraiches. Nous partons aujourd’hui pour Blois. La Vallée, et lundi prochain grand départ pour le midi et la Pingouinette que nous espérons trouver prête. Marie viendra avec nous.

Molineuf 2 juillet

J’ai interrompu ma prose pour faire l’infirmière, tout s’est bien passé et nous sommes au château Budin. Aprè un excellent déjeuner, le Pingouin se repose dans le bibliothèque et j’écris sur le grand bureau. La chaleur est extrème mais il fait bon dans la vieille maison et j’ai trouvé ici un superbe chat noir. Faute de mieux je vais mettre ce petit mot à la poste et plus tard écriverai peut être!

Dubois avec lequel nous avons diné a gardé souvenir exquis de l’americaine à laquelle il faisait prendre des pernods. Graffen aussi, l’ouvrier, ne vous a pas oubliée. Le pingouin emport un instrument qu’il trouve, jusqu’ici, bon c’est le sien, celui qu’il joue depuis 47, mais auquel Dubois a changé quelque chose. L’autre fait spécialement pour lui ne lui plaît pas. Maintenant à la chasse aux roseaux nous partons! Et vous savez tout ce que cela veut dire. Mercredi nous dinerons probablement au 39 du vert coteau.

Merci de toutes vos nouvelles, ne nous oubliez pas, écrivez et peut être le maître répondra-t-il! Nos bonnes amitiés à votre maman que je suppose heureuse de vous avoir près d’elle. Je mets à la poste un roman acheté pour vous il y a longtemps déja. Le chat est-il encore jaloux?

De la France qui vous attend des affectueuses pensées et préparez le voyage 50 retenez place bateau. La vie est très chère mais vous l’aimerez. Quand j’etais veuve suis allée beaucoup au théâtre, une seule chose très belle j’ai vu “Le soulier de satin de Claudel” Nous ne sommes pas allées à l’opéra. Ai rencontré Harry Gee sur le boulevard. Il a trouvé petit appartement meublé pour 5 mois place des Ternes. Il est heureux et essaye d’entrer au Conservatoire.

A bientôt.


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

It’s 9 AM, and we are at Jacqueline’s who is just about to perform a sinus drainage on the poor penguin — this is to say that our master is again suffering from headaches that one is endeavoring to cure him of.  All had been going well, but in the deep underground train passages in London, he had to catch a bad head cold.  Apart from this bit of bad news, all is going well.  The penguin has been in Paris almost two weeks, and has had a practically perfect time.  Blue skies all day, and although it’s hot, the nights have been fresh [and cool].  We’re leaving today for Blois.  The valley, and then next Monday, the big departure for the Midi and the Pingouinette which we hope to find ready.  Marie is coming with us.

Molineuf, 2 July

I interrupted my discourse to play nurse.  All is well, and we are [now] at the chateau Budin.  After an excellent dinner, the penguin is [now] relaxing in the library, and I am writing at the big desk.  The heat is intense but it is nice in the old house, and I’ve found a superb black cat here.  Unless something else turns up, I am going to post this note, and will maybe write again later!

Dubois, with whom we dined, retains a lovely memory of the American girl with whom he drank Pernod [an anise-flavored liqueur].  The craftsman Graffen too has not forgotten you.  The penguin is carrying an instrument that he finds, even now, good: it is his own, the one he has played since ’47, but on which Dubois has made an alteration.  The other one, made especially for him, he is not pleased with.  Right now, we are leaving to hunt down some cane — and you know what that means!  Wednesday, we will probably dine at 39 du Vert Coteau.

Thanks for all your news.  Don’t forget us, write, and maybe the master will respond!  Our best wishes to your mother who we imagine is happy to have you near her.  I’m posting a novel bought for you a long time ago.  Is the cat still jealous?

Affectionate wishes from France that is waiting for you.  Get your boat ticket for the return trip in ’50.  Life [here] is very costly, but you’ll enjoy it.  When I was a widow [alone, i.e. without Tabuteau], and going to the theatre a lot, the only really lovely piece I saw was “The Satin Shoe” by Claudel.  We didn’t go to the opera.  Ran into [clarinetist] Harry Gee on the boulevard.  He found a little furnished apartment on the Place des Ternes for five months.  He is happy and is trying to get into the Conservatoire.

See you soon,


4th multiple-choice / fill-in letter created by Laila

August 22, 1949

The summer fill-in

La Pingouinette
August 22nd, 1949

Dear Lola:

It shouldn’t be necessary for us to make any excuses to you for our ‘summer silence’ – however, for once we will be traditional, and advance the following reasons for not having written:

(Please check) [√]

  1. We have both forgotten how to hold a pen.
  2. We have been spending too much time in André’s cave.
  3. We have been too often to Monte Carlo and cannot afford the airmail postage to the U.S. A.

There are really quite a lot of things to report on, so we had better start with people, and work through places, food, weather, the government, etc, etc.

So far, we have seen or visited with the following people:

(Mark ‘x’ for just seen as at a distance, but not spoken with.) check [√] (for visited)

  1. Lanza
  2. le Tribu Chardousse
  3. Monsieur et Madame Druez
  4. M. et Mme Pascal  pas même aperçus

Also, we have had some company:

-(M. et Mme Budin) quinze jours  pendant voyage de sa femme au Mont D’Or
-une nièce Tabuteau de Bordeaux
– André 1 mois
– une nièce Dameron d’Alger
– une cousine Tabuteau tombée du ciel après 30 ans d’absence

We go to André and Augusta’s (often) (twice a week) (once a week) and have had (approx no) 2 of delicious meals on their terasse. They have also visited at the Pingouinette (often) (several times) and things here are generally (gay) (lively) (lazy) (quiet) This year we have a (indicate make). Renault 6 H.P. car for transportation and have been using it to carry us to the following places.

(Check) [√]

  1. Bandol
  2. Sanary 
  3. Hyeres 
  4. Cogolin
  5. Fréjus 
  6. Monte Carlo 
  7. Other trips or excursions???? expect to go to Monte Carlo this week.

As for big cane hunting, the chase is: (as difficult as usual)  (a little better)  (worse ). (Hear the same complaints about oboe size being too much work, and more money in fishing rods etc. ) The quality of this season’s crop is generally (poor)  (fair)  (excellent) (will make good enough reeds for the Phools in Phila. √)

For amusement, we have been doing mainly the following things:

  1. eating 
  2. sleeping 
  3. swimming
  4. reading
  5. gambling 
  6. fishing  (how many….what kind….none}

The weather has been:- (pleasant  and sunny √ all the time) (too cool) (sometimes too hot )

le Mistral (often) (seldom )  (enough)

This year the cigales are:

  1. Loud and in good voice 
  2. Rusty and out of practice
  3. Improving under the influence of the number system 

Our garden has had good (tomatoes  (squash) (plums  √) (grapps  and pêches √ ???? melons) and the mimosa looks and smells (as beautiful as I had hoped )  (better than certain things in Phila √√√)

(pour le maître) (filled in by Mme) Madame Tabuteau is feeling (fine) (fine) (Fine √)  and my head is now (in perfect condition) (much better √) (still giving me trouble)

Altogether we are having a (Please insert suitable adjective) happy summer and (are glad we came √)  (regret we didn’t go to Canada)

Our advice to you would be:

(Go West Young Woman!)

(Stay in California)

(Make a new reed)

(Return to France as soon as possible) 

Things on the political front here look: (better or favorable) (not very promising) (Impossible to make predictions of things to come ) (uninterested)

We expect to sail from France on September 22 on the Non  du bateau Queen Mary and so far (we have not decided any more about our future plans) (we have some idea of what we may do in 1950 )

Now, we really feel that if you want to know any more– you should,

1. come over here and see for yourself

2. subscribe to a Paris newspaper

3. wait for our next letter!

4. Get a crystal ball 

And so we close by sending your our best wishes and greetings from le Midi et le Cote d’Azur.

(sign here) ________________(only originals accepted)


Any additional comments or observations:

[in Tab’s writing]  Plus que jamais en à l’idée de retourner au biniou; malgré les promesses de Dubois, j’ai peu d’espoir, on commercialise de plus en plus. Je suis très decouragé par ce que j’ai essayé. Nous partons mercredi pour Fréjus et Audino qui se souvient de vous avec plaisir, Biasotto également se rappelle à votre souvenir.

Merci pour les photos, notre chère Lola est superbe et l’oncle de Touloon est toujours fier de sa nièce! Allons-nous vous voir à Phila avant votre saison?

Nos amitiés à votre maman et les affectueuses pensées de votre famille.


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

More than ever, I’m thinking about returning to the bagpipe [i.e., the oboe].

Despite the promises of Dubois, I have little hope [for what he is going to turn out].  Commercialization is constantly on the increase  [i.e., Dubois is thinking about money, not quality].  I’m very discouraged by what I’ve tried.  We’re leaving Wednesday for Fréjus [cane hunting] and Audino [the proprietor there] remembers you with pleasure, ditto [Ange] Biasotto [another cane grower].

Thanks for the photos.  Our dear Lola [looks] wonderful and the uncle in Toulon [André] is always proud of his niece!  Are we going to see you in Philadelphia before the beginning of your season?

Kindest wishes to your mother, and affectionate thoughts from your family [i.e., the Tabuteaus].


[Mme T continue]:

Merveilleux été, peu au [on?] point de colère du Pingouin, qui mange bien, dort de même et semble heureux. Depuis une dizaine de jours il s’est remis au travail et malgré ses protestations souffle avec enthousiasme. Merci de toutes les nouvelles. Gentil de nous écrire cela nous fait grand plaisir. L.A.T.

Retour à Paris le 10 septembre

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Marvelous summer, few angry outbursts from the penguin, who is eating and sleeping well, and seems happy.  He’s gotten back to work these last ten days, and despite his protestations, is puffing along [i.e. playing] with enthusiasm.  Thanks for all your news.  It’s nice of you to write, which gives us great pleasure.


Returning to Paris the tenth of September.

November 18, 1949

Letter from Philadelphia postmarked November 19, 1949; dictated by Marcel to Louise

Miss Lola Storch
2214 Dunraven Lane
Houston 19, Texas
le 18 novembre 49

Notre chère Lola

Nous sommes vraiament heureux et fiers d’avoir une fille si gentille et intelligente qui comprend que nous aimons reçevoir des nouvelles, même si nous n’en donnons pas.

La traversée du retour fut excellente, rapide, mais la cuisine du bord était infecte type parfait cuisine anglaise! —La vie au quatorzième est toujours la même, bonne table, bon pinard et… le fameux fauteuil.

Du  côtè artistique “it smells as bad as before” if not worse! aujourd’hui un petit vent frais est venu purifier l’air R. Casadesus était des nôtres. Il a joué son concerto et le Liszt No. 2 admirable!

Bien avant votre lettre j’étais au courant du triomph de Lola; de Santis avait écrit et envoyé l’élogieux compte rendu; le “vieux professor” en est fier et ému!! et vous felicite.

Je me souviens en effet que le jeune Max Winder est venu me voir au Drake avec sa soeur quelques jours après son arrivée aux Etats Unis; il doit être bien désillusionné, car il avait je crois d’autres espoirs!!

Comme vous, nous aussi nous comptons aller en France le printemps prochain mais, nous n’avons pas encore de place!

[The first mention of a big change was hinted at in November 1949.] La surprise dont il s’agit pour La Lèque n’est pas encore officiellement conclue et cela à mon grand regret. Si les choses arrangée à Paris avant notre départ, voici ce qui nous attend là bas, vous reconnaissez peut être la propriété c’est celle qu’est au bord de mer (chemin de “la fossé) abimée pendant la guerre. J’ai pris ces photos moi même du jardin de la propriété. Lorsque je recevrais confirmation de mon achat, je vous promets une lettre. Comme toujours les anches sonet récalcitrantes mais on s’en tire et personne ne se plaint. Je vous enverrai quelques morceaux dernière gouge et cela prochainement.

Bon courage et nos affectueuse pensées.

Marcel Tabuteau

P.S. Comment se débrouille de Santis et le deuxième hautbois?

Mme Tabuteau:

Ma chère Lola  Vous avez toutes les nouvelles et de la main du maître!! Le Pingouin est enchanté de savoir que vous vous intéressez à la cusine. Il compte sur une démonstration à la première occasion.



Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola,

We are very happy and proud to have a daughter so sweet and wise who understands that we love receiving [her] news, even if we don’t send her any.  The return crossing [from the Philadelphia Orchestra’s trip to England] was excellent and quick, but the food on board was vile, and appeared to be English cooking!  Life on the fourteenth floor [of the Drake] is always the same, good food, good wine, and …the famous armchair.  On the artistic side it smells as bad as before” [presumably Eugene Ormandy], if not worse. Today, a light breeze has come to purify the air: Robert Casadesus was with us.  He played his own concerto and the No. 2 of Liszt: admirable!

Well before your letter [arrived], I was well aware of the triumph of Lola: de Santis had written and sent a laudatory report.  The old professor is proud and touched, and congratulates you!  I remember in this regard that the young Max Winder [Parisian violinist who eventually became a member of  the Boston Symphony Orchestra] came to see me at the Drake with his sister a few days after his arrival in the U.S.  He must have been quite disillusioned, as he had, I believe, other hopes!  

Like you, we are counting on going to France next spring, but we do not yet have a place to stay!  The surprise concerning La Lèque [the seaside mansion the Tabuteaus were about to buy] is that [purchase arrangements] have not been concluded, to my great regret.  If matters [are not] arranged in Paris before our departure, you can see what will be still waiting for us down south.  You can perhaps recognize that the property is the one at the seaside (Chemin de la fossé), damaged during the war.  I took these photos myself in the property’s garden.  When I receive confirmation of the purchase, I promise you a letter.

As always, the reeds are recalcitrant, but one can find something among them, and no one complains of this [presumably a reference to the audiences].  I’ll send you a few canes of the latest gouge quite soon.

All the best and our affectionate thoughts,

Marcel Tabuteau

P.S. [from MT]  How are de Santis and the second oboe getting along?

Mme Tabuteau:

My dear Lola.  You have all the news, and from the hand of the master! The penguin is delighted to know that you are interested in cooking.  He is looking forward to a demonstration at the first opportunity.

Best regards,



Postcard of Paris et ses Merveilles with no date; must be after my first visit of 1948 when I met Dubois, so it is probably 1949 when Tabs went to France and I went to Calif

Quand nous ferez vous le grand plaisir de vous revoir?

R Dubois

Nous avons bien parlé de notre belle Lola et tout le monde l’embrasse.

Marcel Tabuteau

J’ai donné une des belles photos en couleur à Dubois. Vous serez donc exposée parmi les fameux hautboistes. Souvenirs à votre maman.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

When are you going to give us the great pleasure of seeing you again?

R. Dubois

We have spoken well of our lovely Lola, and everybody adores her.

Marcel Tabuteau

I gave one of the lovely color photos to Dubois.  You are therefore [up on the wall and] displayed among the famous oboists.  Best to your mother.

December 1949

Christmas card 1949  with cat

Wishing notre fille the very best, etc.

[Signed by both]

January 2, 1950

Envelope in Mme’s writing; postmarked Jan 3, 1950

Lola Storch
2214 Dunraven Lane,
Houston, Texas

[Tabuteau writes]

January 2nd. Holy Year (!)

Notre Chère Lola,

Tout est arrivé le matin même de Noël. Le télégramme, la grosse boite, tout, en parfait état. Hier, nous avons étieuss??? Le petit freezer pingouins, c’est une merveille et certainment nous les emporterons à La Lèque.

À propos de La Lèque nous sommes heureux que ce soit définitif, nous voici châtelains. Il ne reste plus qu’à aller nous mettre les fesses au soleil! En attendant, je tire ma troisième semaine de vacance, il fait très beau temps et j’en profite pour menir la Cadillac à la mer; malheureusement, je me remets au travail le 9 janvier, orchestre et Curtis le même jour. Je tremble un peu à l’idée.

Nous avons réveillonné isolés du monde avec accompagnement de champagne et caviars. Nous sommes désolés que les birds du Texas soient si coriaces, mais est-ce bien la faute de l’oiseau?!!! Le “old faithful” Otto nous a envoyé un délicieux jambon d’une tendresse toute spéciale! C’est vraiment un bien brave garçon.

La classe de hautbois du Curtis a exprimé le Christmas spirit avec de bonnes bouteilles de Liebfraumilch nous essaierons d’en garder une pour votre retour à Phila. Mais ….n’y comptez pas de trop. Merci du livre mais pasresseux comme je le suis, je me le réserve pour l’été prochain. As I feel exhausted my “beloved wife” will go on. Je retrourne—–au fauteuil.

J’allais oublier, comment vont les anches?

À bientôt de vos nouvelles,

Marcel Tabuteau

Mme Louis Tabuteau continues:

Ma chère Lola,

Le maître a tout dit. Il ne reste plus qu’à parler des petits chats adorables. Naturellement le chocolat est. Toute la famille de France a écrit et chacun semble heureux.

Seul Dédé Budin touché par l’amour sinon pas la grâce a besoin de soigner sa petite santé et se reposer dans les montagnes de Savoie. De Toulon les nouvelles sont bonnes. Vous a-t-on dit wue nous avions passage sur “Queen Mary” de 9 mai et retour fin de septembre. Les cabins ne sont pas trop bonnes, mais nous tâcherons améliorer cela. Encore nos voeux les meilleurs et bien affectueux ma chère Lola et à bientôt quand arrivez-vous Phila.

Le papa et maman vous embrasse,


Nous avons pas dit “merci” pour touts ces jolie petites choses choisie pas vous mais nous étions très heureux et vous auriez dû nous voir défaire la boîte jur de Noël. La seule arrivée ce jour là.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola,

Everything arrived the very morning of Christmas: the telegram, the big box, everything in perfect condition.  Yesterday we [did something] with the little freezer penguins.  [Maybe this is a reference to some kind of figurines Laila had sent.]   Marvelous, and we will certainly be taking them with us to La Leque.  With regard to La Leque, we are happy that all is settled: we are now lord and lady of the manor!  There is nothing left to do now except setting our asses in the sun!  

In the meantime, I’m getting my third week of vacation.  The weather is lovely and I took advantage of this to drive the Cadillac to the ocean.  Unfortunately, I have to return to work the ninth of January, both in the orchestra and at Curtis the same day.  I tremble a little at the thought.

We celebrated Christmas all by ourselves with the accompaniment of champagne and caviar!  We are sorry that the birds of Texas are so tough. [MT is here referring to chickens and turkeys.]  But is that the fault of the bird?  The “old faithful” Otto sent us a delicious ham of an exquisite tenderness! He is really a wonderful boy. 

The oboe class at Curtis has expressed their Christmas spirit with several bottles of Liebfraumilch [semi-sweet white German wine].  We will try to keep one for your return to Philadelphia, but don’t count on it too much.  Thanks for the book, but lazy as I am, I am reserving it for next summer. 

As I feel exhausted, my beloved wife will go on. I am returning to the armchair.  I almost forgot: How are the reeds coming?  Hope to hear from you again soon.

Marcel Tabuteau

Mme Louise Tabuteau continues:

My Dear Lola,

The master said it all. The only thing left to talk about are the two adorable cats [presumably chocolate gifts from Laila].  Naturally, the chocolate is [word missing].  All of the family in France have written and everyone seems happy. 

Only Dédé Budin, touched by affection if not grace, has to take care of his poor health and seek repose in the mountains of Savoy.  The news from Toulon is good. You’ve seen that we’ve [booked] passage on the Queen Mary for the ninth of May and will return at the end of September.  The cabins aren’t very fine, but we will task ourselves with improving them. Again, our very best and affectionate wishes my dear Lola, and see you soon.  When will you get to Philadelphia?

Papa and Mama embrace you,


We have not said thanks for all the lovely little things which made us very happy. You should have seen us unwrap the Christmas box [you sent]!  It only came today.

January 25, 1950

Postmarked Jan 25; Hotel Raleigh stationary: Tabuteau’s writing

Washington D.C.

25 janvier

D’abord un grand merci du papa pour les dernières lettres.  Je suis heureux et fier de votre enthousiasme….débordant pour la perfection et la sincerité quand même je suis un peu jaloux du grand Robert (!!)  Casadesus.

Il y a quelques semaines, j’ai été invité pas les organisateurs du Bach festival de Prades, France Pyrennes Orientales a jouer le double Concerto violon et oboe sous la direction de Casals. (Avez vous entendu parler de de festival qui se donnera du 1 er au 20 juin?) Je n’attends plus que quelques détails finance pour me décider.

J’ai vu il y a quelques jours le manager à New York Mrs. Thea Dispeker, 35 West 53rd street New York a qui j’ai donné votre nom et adress aprés vous avoir chaleureusement recommandé car il pourrait wu’on ai besoin d’un de mes élèves pour jouer et puis, si je décide de ne pas le faire double concerto Lola pourrait le faire. Vous serez en France vers cette date et certainement cela serait une magnifique expérience pour vous.

La famille devait vous mettre au courant de tout cela, mais lors qu’il s’agit d’écrire, on remet au lendemain le plaisir de donner signe de vie………écrivez donc à cette dame, l’adresse est exacte mais pour l’orthographe du nom renseignez vous Dispeker ou Dispecker? Elle sait que de toute façon vous allez en France mais il y aurait certainement un petit cachet et des frais voyage Paris à Prades, aussi le contacte de toutes les étoiles participantes.

Dans une de vos lettres vous nous dites considérer d’aller faire des études musicales en Italie et….pour deux mois. Il me semble que vous étre disposée a trop de générosité pour le soleil d’Italie.  Il faut, que Lola aille faire un voyage en Italie mais pas pour deux mois.

Je ne sais quel temps il fait à Houston ici on suit près de 80° hier et aujourd’hui nouveaux records. Ce soir concert Baltimore et serai libre jusqu’au 13 mars.

Quand finessez vous à Houston? [Fragment] suis allé New York vendredi. Ai vu Mr. Schneider qui doit vous écrire pour officiellement vous inviter pour le festival de Prades. Ne vous alarmez pas si la question argent n’est pas nette (dans sa lettre). Vous recevrez 300 dollars. Pour le renseignement demandé dans votre dernière.

A series of articulations and divisions follows; not possible to know what it refers to, minus the actual notes!

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

First of all, a big thank-you from papa for the latest letters.  I am happy and proud of your overflowing enthusiasm.  For perfection and sincerity, though, I am a little jealous of the great Robert (!!) Casadeus.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by the organizers of the Bach Festival at Prades, France (Pyrénées Orientales) to play the double concerto for violin and oboe under Casals’ direction.  (Have you heard of this festival, which will be held 1-20 June?)

I’m only waiting for some financial details before making my decision.

A few days ago, I saw the New York [concert] manager, Mrs. Thea Dispeker, 35 West 33rd St, NYC, to whom I gave your name and address after having warmly recommended you, as there may be a need for one of my pupils to play.  And then, if I decide not to do the double concerto, Lola would be able to do it.  You will be in France around this date, and certainly this would be a magnificent experience for you.

The family must keep you updated about all this, but when it comes to the matter of writing, one puts off to the next day the pleasure of giving signs of life.  Write in any case to this lady: the address is exact, but [as to] the orthography of the name, find out if it is Dispeker or Dispecker.  She knows in any case that you are going to France, but there will certainly be a small fee [due you] and the costs of the trip from Paris to Prades.  [An added attraction will be] the contact [you will make] with all of the star participants [there].   

In one of your letters, you tell us you are considering studying in Italy for a couple of months.  It seems to me that you are too favorably disposed to the balmy climes there.  It is necessary for Lola to make a trip to Italy, but not for two months.  I do not know what sort of temperature there is in Houston, but here it approached 80° yesterday, and today [there will be] new records.  This evening [there will be] a concert in Baltimore, and [after that] I’m free until the 13th of March.

When will you be done in Houston?  By the way, I went to New York Friday and saw Mr. [Alexander] Schneider, who is supposed to write you officially to invite you to the festival at Prades.  Don’t worry if money matters remain unclear (in his letter).  You will get $300.  As far as the information requested in your last [letter]…

A series of articulations and divisions follows; not possible to know what it refers to, minus the actual notes!

January 28, 1950

Letter from both on Drake stationary

Lola Storch
Dunraven Lane
Houston, Texas
le 28 janvier

Notre Chère fille,

Nous avons bien reçu toutes vos lettres, nos compliments pour avoir été remarquée par l’incomparable Casadesus.

Je suis encore à me demander pouquoi les roseaux envoyés vous sont arrivés fendus. Ceux préparés en même temps pour moi par le jeune Mack étaient en parfait état en voulez-vous d’autres si oui, nous ferons le nécéssaire.

Avez vous entenu parler du festival Bach qui aura lieu à Prades du 1 er au 20 juin (ci joint article à ce sujet que je vous prierai de renvoyer  à Madame Tabuteau.

J’arrive de New York où j’ai vu Mr. Alexander Schneider et j’ai accepté de participer; on m’a demandé de choisir deux hautboïstes pour jouer dans l’orchestre. Sachant que vous serez en France j’ai suggéré votre nom pensant que cela devrait vous interesser. Dans toute l’amérique les musiciens se disputent l’honneur d’aller jouer avec le grand maître Casals. Les artistes ne sont pas payer pour leurs services mais on offre 300 dollars pour frais de séjour à Prades.

Mr Alexander Schneider m’avait prié de vous engager et que vous acceptez.informez le aussi de la date de votre départ d’amérique et demandez tous les détails. Toutes les performances seront enregistrées par le Columbia recordings.

J’ai personnellement l’intention de profiter de cette occasion pour faire quelques enregistrements entre autre le Mozart Quartet en fa. Faites nous savoir vos réactions et intentions.

De nouveau je suis en vacances et ne reprendrai le service que le 13 mars. Quand finissez vous à Houston? Le concert traditionnel du Curtis aura lieu le 17 ou le 19 avril. Serez-vous parmi nous? J’essaie de préparer le Capricorne Concerto de Samuel Barber pour flute, oboe, trumpet and strings.

Mme Tabuteau continue:

Ma chère Lola,

Le Pingouin en dépit de ses négations fréquentes, aime encore la musique semble-t-il. Puisque l’idée d’aller passer un mois en compagnie du fameux Pablo l’émoustille encore. Nous préparons toujours le départ mais les nouvelles midi sont bien rares. aucun signe de vie de l’architecte choisi pour s’occuper du château.  Le quatorzième tient toujours. Il y fait bon et la table est appétissante.

Nos bons souvenirs et pensées,


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear daughter,

We have well received all your letters: our compliments for having been noticed by the incomparable Casadesus.

I again have to ask myself why the canes sent to you arrived split.  The ones prepared for me at the same time by young Mack were in perfect condition.  Would you like some more from this lot?  If so, we will do what is necessary.

Have you heard anything about the Bach Festival which will take place at Prades from the first to the twentieth of June?  Enclosed is an article about this, which I ask you return to Mme. Tabuteau.

I’m back from New York where I saw Mr. Alexander Schneider and accepted [his offer] to participate [in the festival].  I’ve been asked to choose two oboists to play in the orchestra.  Knowing that you will be in France, I suggested your name, thinking that that would certainly interest you.  All the musicians in America are fighting for the honor of going to play for the great maestro Casals.  The artists are not paid for their services, but each is offered $300 for the expenses of their stay in Prades.

Mr. Alexander Schneider requested that I engage you, and that you accept.  Inform him also of the date of your departure from America, and get all the needed details.

All of the performances will be recorded by Columbia Records.

I personally have the intention of taking advantage of the situation by making several recordings, among others, of the Mozart quartet.  Let us know your reactions and plans.

Lately, I’ve been on vacation and will not be back in service until March 13th.  When will you be done in Houston?  The traditional [spring] concert at Curtis will take place the 17th or 19th of April.  Will you be with us [then]?  I’m trying to prepare the Capricorn Concerto of Samuel Barber for flute, oboe, trumpet and strings.

Mme Tabuteau continues:

My dear Lola,

The penguin, despite his frequent complaints, still loves music — or so it seems,  since the idea of going to spend a month with the famous Pablo [Casals] can still tantalize him.  We are ever in the process of preparing to leave.  The midday news today, though, is quite unusual: no sign of life from the architect who was chosen to do the work on the chateau [the big house by the sea the Tabs were hoping to move into].  The 14th [story at the Drake] is still going along.  All bodes well and the food is appetizing [i.e. MT’s cookery was as good as ever].

Our best regards and wishes,


March 17, 1950

Samedi 17

Dear Lola

Je suis un peu chagriné de constater des petits symptoms de découragements.

1° Il ne faut jamais jouer pour plaire à qui ce soit. Seulement, pour vous.

2° Ne jamais discuter problèmes d’interprétation avec vos collègues, mais jouer avec telle maîtrise et conviction que le plupart de vos antagonistes ne pourront faire mieux que de vous imiter.

P.S. Ai repris mon poste. Les anches pas trop rebelles et dans un instant vais participer au premier broadcast de la saison.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

(from the studio)

Dear Lola, 

I am a little bit chagrined to note some small symptoms of discouragement.

1)  There is never a need to play to suit whomever [you are playing for]. Play only for yourself.

2) Never discuss problems of interpretation with your colleagues, but play with such mastery and conviction that the greater number of your antagonists can do no better than to imitate you.

P.S.  I am back at work.  The reeds are not too problematic, and in a moment I’ll be participating in the first broadcast of the season.

April 5, 1950

On Drake paper

Le 5 avril

Notre chère Lola

Je suppose que vous êtes dans la fièvre des bagages puisque les derniers jours de Houston approchent. Pour le festival vous n’avez qu’a apporter le cor anglais et votre hautbois. Je vais vous faire quelques anches de cor anglais et j’ai du roseau gougé qui devrait faire votre bonheur pour le hautbois.

Avez vous reçu le programme? Vous n’avez plus qu’a vous préparer à travailler car, j’ai bien l’intention de ne jouer que les “obligato” et ceux pas trop difficils; pour le reste vous vous debrouillerez avec Mack. Il part en avion le 1 er mai. il sera donc à Prades avant vous.

Avez-vous pensé à votre passeport?

Nos bonnes pensées et à bientôt,

Marcel Tabuteau

Mme Louise Tabuteau continues:

Ma chère Lola,

J’espère que vous avez toutes les instructions nécessaire et que vous n’avez plus qu’à venir, nous vous attendons.

Vous souvenez-vous que vous avez mis du thé dans votre boite de Noël. Ce thé était d’un parfum merveilleux. Pourriez-vous en trouver encore. Voici le papier qui l’enveloppait. Si ce n’est pas trop vous déranger nous serions bien heureux que vous vous en occupiez.

J’espère que la vie est belle et surtout qu’elle la sera cet été. À bientôt et nos souvenirs à votre maman; la vraie.

Bon voyage,

Louise A. T.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola,

I suppose that you are in the heat of packing as the last days of the Houston season approach.  For the [Casals] Festival, you have only to bring the English horn and your oboe.  I’m going to make you some English horn reeds, and I have some gouged oboe cane which should bring you luck.

Have you received the [festival] program?  The only thing you have left to do is prepare to work, as I intend to play only the obbligati, and [at that] not very difficult ones.  For the rest, you will have to sort things out with Mack.  He’s leaving by plane the first of May, and will therefore be at Prades before you.

Have you thought about your passport?

Our best wishes and see you soon,

Marcel Tabuteau

Mme Louise Tabuteau continues:

My dear Lola,

I hope you have all the necessary instructions, and that there is nothing left for you to do but come: we are waiting for you [regarding LS’ first trip to Prades]. Remember the tea you put in the Christmas gift box?  It had a wonderful aroma. Can you find some more?  Here is the wrapper.  If this would not put you out too much, we would be very happy if you could attend to it. I hope all is well, and particularly that it stays that way all summer. See you soon and best wishes to your mother.

Have a good trip,

Louise A. T.

April 11, 1950

Postmarked April 11, 1950


My dear Lola,

I am yet very upset from your last-night call. I was so far from the idea that you would have to solve that kind of problem at this time of the season. It is incredible that the manager of your orchestra is in the position of thinking and acting as he does now; as for Maestro Kurtz, I prefer not to make any comment (!) I think Lola should be scolded for not having settled long ago all the details for the season 1950-51. Don’t you have a clause in the contract about being given notice of dismissal such as 6 weeks before the end of season?

If you could have proof that some of your colleagues have said to the conductor or the manager that they would prefer not to come back to the orchestra next year if you were engaged, I think you could make it interesting for them at the union or in court. This is blackmail. [3 x underlined]

But, do not worry too much, I believe all this can and should be arranged. And please, as soon as possible, send us good news. Tell Maestro Kurtz he should have an electric A-440. this would bring an end to unfortunate situation and argument.

Bonnes pensées

Pata  [Marcel Tabuteau]

P.S. I saw Casadesus only a few days ago, he told me how well you played, etc. Really I do not understand what is going on regarding your contract for next season.

May 1950

This letter from Tabuteau must have been sent to Phila. after end of Houston season;
on stationary of the Michigan Union

Ann Arbor, Michigan

How sweet of Lola to have sent me a nice letter. Do not be alarmed: someday her oboe will sing as well as she writes. I am convinced she is improving and very soon, she won’t feel anymore like “une de ces petites plants”————–and will have enough “technique” not to try to improve music but let music improve Lola. C’est la tout le secret!

Quand je pense à mes nombreuses gouges je me sens comme le pacha avec toutes ses femmes. He loves them all and yet he does not know which one to play with.

Tell Mack to bind one dozen of each: 2 – 4 – 1 and few on 3.

Aujourd’hui rien à faire, De Santis doit venir me prendre pour Detroit et ce soir nous aurons l’annuel et fameux parti de “Raviolis” avec accompagnement de “regrets” que Lola ne soit pas avec nous.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

[Written from the Ann Arbor May Festival where the PO played annually.]


How sweet of Lola to have sent me a nice letter.  Do not be alarmed: some day her oboe will sing as well as she writes.  I am convinced she is improving and very soon, she won’t feel any more like one of my little plants and will have enough technique not to try to improve music, but [to] let [the] music improve Lola. That’s the entire secret!

When I think of my numerous gouges, it seems to me like a pasha with all his wives. He loves them, and yet he does not know which one to play with.

Tell Mack to bind one dozen of each: 2 – 4 – 1, and a few on 3  [= different gouges].

Today, nothing to do.  De Santis is supposed to come to take me to Detroit.  And this evening, we are having the famous annual ravioli party, accompanied by regrets that Lola won’t be with us.

Marcel Tabuteau

November 13, 1950

Postmarked Nov 14, 1950 with program of Tombeau de Couperin enclosed

le 13 novembre, 1950

Notre chère Lola,

Le “professor” et la famille ont bien reçu les lettres et les superbes photos. C’est bien gentil à vous de nous avoir fait parvenir ces vues qui nous sont si chères. Nous sommes bien heureux, que la vie ne vous soit trop désagréable à Houston et que la situation du  [A on staff] soit réglée. Même ici, il y a amélioration à ce sujet.

Grace au nouveau hautbois. Songez que je n’ai pas encore fait une seule anche depuis le mois de février; le brave Mac m’a délivre de l’infernal cauchemar; ça ne sonne pas exactement comme je le voudrais, mais, tout le monde est content et je n’attends plus que les bienfaits du “Social Security” il se peut dit-on que l’orchestre fasse partie.

Ci joint le programme de la semaine prochaine, je vous ferai savoir comment ça a marché, si les anches sont à la hauteur de la tâche je dirai à Mac de penser à vous. il est vraiment épatant notre Mac mais, ne le lui dites pas. Je suis navré que le nouveau biniou vous joue des tours. Dr. Moennig arrangera tout Mes meilleurs voeux pour une saison glorieuse.

Mme continue:

Ma chère Lola,

Perchez-vous au dessus d’une garage? En tous les cas l’adresse est belle. Les photos sont superbes et font grand plaisier aux chatelains. Voulez-vous garder les pellicules ou bien nous les envoyer. Tout au moins quelques uns: le couple sur la barrière, le Pingouin au pied du pin – les arbres – une merveille. Comme vous je trouve ce genre de film excellent. Aujourd’hui même nous avons reçu une lettre du fameux Moïse qui veut vendre des terres et nous les offre. Des nouvelles aussi de Dédé qui va jusqu’en ville maintenant mais avec canne. Nous lui avons envoyé quelques une des photos de votre part. Reçu aussi la liste adresse de Prades. Merci.

A N.Y. l’autre jour j’ai télephoné à Schneider et le croirez-vous à 3h qu’il faisait la sieste!! Je ne m’imaginais pas qu’on pût se payer tel luxe en ce lieu.

Le maître Pingouin est je crois assez heureux d’avoir repris sa chaise pas encore de bataille, tout au moins apparenti, avec le voisin Kincaid ça marche et les semaines passent vite. La nouvelle Madame Ormandy, simple et sympathique. Hier dimanche poulet de haute classe et vin d’alsace à bientôt nos affectueuses pensées et donnez souvent nouvelles.


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola, 

The “professor” and family have well received your letters and the superb photos.  It was very nice of you to have sent these glimpses which are so dear to us.  

We’re very happy that life is not so disagreeable for you in Houston, and that the situation with [A on Staff] is resolved.  Even here, there is some improvement in this matter.   

Thanks be to the new oboe.  Imagine, I have not made a reed since the month of February!  The stalwart Mack has delivered me from this infernal nightmare.  They don’t sound exactly as I would like, but everyone is content, and I am only awaiting the benefits of Social Security, in which it is said the orchestra will take part.

Enclosed is next week’s program.  I’ll let you know how it went.  If the reeds are up to the high level of the task, I’ll tell Mack to think of you.  He is really something, our Mack, but don’t tell him that!  I am really upset that the new bagpipe [oboe] is playing tricks on you, but Dr. Moennig will fix everything.

My best wishes for a glorious season,   

[Madame continues:]

My dear Lola, 

Are you living atop a garage?  In any case, the address is lovely.  The photos are superb, and gave great pleasure to the squires [the Tabuteaus].  Do you want to keep the film rolls [the negatives] or, better, send them to us — at the very least certain ones: the two of us [sitting] on the fence, [and] the marvelous one of the penguin at the foot of the pine forest.  Like you, I find this type of film excellent.  Just today, we received a letter from the famous Moyse who wants to sell some pieces of property, and offered them to us.  There is also news from Dédé who is just now going into town with a load of cane.  We sent him some of your photos.  We also received the list of Prades addresses.  

I telephoned [Alexander] Schneider in New York the other day, and if you can believe it, he was napping at 3PM!  I can’t imagine how they could pay for such indulgence in that place.

The master penguin is, I believe, rather happy to be back in the saddle again, not yet in the thick of it.  By all appearances, everything is well with next-seat-neighbor Kincaid, and the weeks are passing quickly.  The new Mrs. Ormandy is natural and sympatica  [Apparently the Tabuteaus dined with the Ormandys].  Sunday (yesterday), a first-class chicken [dinner] and Alsatian wine.  

See you soon, our affectionate wishes, and send news often,


December 1950

Card of horse and carriage

Bonne Année

Pour la pluie à Paris avec les Meilleus voeux et souhaits sincères de la famille Philadelphienne.

L.A. and M. Tabuteau  Noël 1950

Did they give me an umbrella? — Maybe

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

For the rain in Paris with best and sincere good wishes from the family in Philadelphia.

L.A. and M. Tabuteau,  Christmas, 1950

Did they give me an umbrella? — Maybe

December 1950

Small Christmas card with kitty cat and holly – no date – possibly 1950

C’est le seul que j’ai trouvé il n’est pas imposant, mais si mignon! La photo de Saint Michel nous a fait plaisir à tous deux. Encore nos voeux les meilleurs pour Noël et une très heureuse année.

Louise A. Tabuteau

Les anches sont très mauvaises, je travaille comme un fou et pas de bons resultats. I really think it is time for me to quit!

Bonne chance et meilleur voeux.

Marcel Tabuteau    

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

This is the only [card] that I found: not impressive but so cute!  The photo gave us both great pleasure.  Again, our best wishes for Christmas and a very happy [new] year.

Louise A. Tabuteau

The reeds are very bad: I work like a madman with no good results.

I really think it is time for me to quit!

Good luck and best wishes,

Marcel Tabuteau


August – September, 1951

Toulon was the location of the home of Tabuteau’s brother, André; Le Brusc was

the location of Tabuteau’s summer home, La Pingouinette

[From my letters to my mother]

Toulon: August 27, 1951

Trip from Zermatt via Milano to Toulon. Funny hotel thought my name was Santa Rosa, California. Went out to see Tabs yesterday afternoon and had a detailed tour of the new house. Some progress is being made in the work and they should be able to live in it next summer. It certainly is a big place to get in order, but the views are incredibly beautiful. Also, it is a sort of  type of villa you dream about. Big, but livable and artistic – not stiff and pretentious. Back to Toulon, but didn’t eat supper so I’m dizzy this a.m. Also, can’t sleep here. After quiet Switzerland this is awful so much noise and then I am all bitten again. For the first time since Perpignon, I’m sure now all that was were bites as I had none for 3 weeks in Switzerland.   Maybe (I fear) there are bed bugs here??  Tab says there could be anything in Toulon. I have to try to get out to Brusc if can find a room if only for few days.

Le Brusc: August 29 and Postscript on August 31, 1951

Got a room (the one in the pines) — can eat here. Spent the day before coming here at André’s. He had seen a stray cat around and one day going in his back shed; thought he saw 2 eyes gleaming inside of an old broken violoncello he has out there. Upon investigating, he found the cat had had 2 kittens in the cello! Or rather sort of under it, but a wonderful location. Just a small slot to enter; and then there was some cane and shavings inside of a box.

She really chose well and the kittens already had their eyes open before being discovered. I had to laugh. Lunch with André — then phoned and found I could come out here. 

Spent yesterday afternoon up at the Pingouinette. Tab was experimenting with gouges. Fortunately the cane will be ready at Fréjus and we are going after it tomorrow.

(Description of people in Zermatt at Hotel on hill etc.; color films etc.)

Must eat breakfast and be ready for Fréjus when Tabs come.

Aug 31: Got cane and had amusing day at same place as 3 years ago.

Le Brusc: September 1, 1951

(Got a big sack of cane.) While eating lunch at Fréjus the other day, Tab started spouting off about the Perpignan Festival and Casals etc. He picked Casals to bits several times this year, not his playing but his character, saying he saw so many weaknesses in him etc. and he can’t fool him (Tab) and I don’t know what-all. It is depressing, as Tab ought to think of some of his own shortcomings first, before analyzing other people. Last year he said Casals was “weak” because he never criticized anyone, but said everything was “beautiful.” Now he says he’s “weak” because he criticized some, but not others. I don’t think he’d be satisfied at anything. I don’t agree with him at all concerning the things he says about  Casals, but no use arguing the matter with him. Last year I openly expressed my admiration for Casals so much and don’t think he liked it – which I didn’t realize at the time – thinking he admired him just as much. No doubt Tab has different ideas and standards of what constituted strength and greatness….but I remember at Perpignan when he said Casals playing was the greatest thing he’s seen or heard, so I don’t see how he can belittle Casals’ character being as he produces music that T can admire. Of course, he said he’s not a conductor, and that he became infected by the public, applause, adoration etc., etc. It seems to me if that meant so much to him, he has only to go back into the world and play concerts again – or he had never to give it up at all, and sit in Prades for 12 years when he was always in top playing form – so I don’t understand why Tab insists on that point. Sometimes I really think he is off balance and if playing the oboe leads to that, I’d just as soon quit now. It really irks me, as it seems so small to try to pull Casals to pieces. 

(Mention going to Prades for one day and hope T doesn’t find out as he would probably be mad.)

Sometimes he is so nice. Actually at Perpignan he seemed in quite a good humor most of the time but other times he is childish and so badly dispositioned. It’s really no wonder most people can’t like him as they see only the disagreeable side. For instance, he says Clara Haskil is one of the few great musicians, but she is almost convinced he detests her, as he has never spoken to her. Of course she is super sensitive, but it wouldn’t hurt him to be nice especially after I told him once about some misunderstanding with her. But he won’t change for anything or anybody, which I suppose is a part of his character – an interesting one if not always pleasant.

Paris: September 12, 1951

[Reference to: “The Tabs are going nuts with their reparations there.”]

[The reference here must be not to “reparations” but to restorations of the big house, “La Coustiéro” dite “Coûte-Chéro” by the sea.]

Saw Tab at Dubois’ [Lorée factory] yesterday. He says he feels just terrible … worse than ever and if it keeps on like that, he is finished, etc. He’s been saying that for about a year. He has terrible headaches, at the back of his neck, but no doctor found anything wrong with him after all sorts of exams, etc. He doesn’t have gout anymore and has kept on eating just as well, so Marie (their maid) thinks the gout has transferred to his head, which may be as logical a theory as any!

September 15, 1951

You are right about Paris – errands no end:  oboes, cases, seeing [oboist, Gaston] Longatte, clarinet reeds, perfume, pepper grinders, hunting for a case to pack surplus in etc., etc. Finally settled for a basket-like small trunk as everything is so expensive. Hope it’ll hold up OK for the trip.

Mme T sent a ticket for “Le Diable et le Bon Dieu” latest play of J.P Sartre as she didn’t feel well. Rather long and boring, but interesting.

Am going to ride to Compiègne with the Tabs tomorrow.

September 18, 1951

On English Channel

Last few days was rushing all the time. Sunday, went to Compiègne with the Ts and met his nephew and had a tremendous meal there. Visited the Chateau of Compiègne afterwartds, which is full of elaborate Empire furniture and a beautiful garden in back. Napoleon spent quite a bit of time there and later Napoleon III.

Tabs telephoned just before I left the hotel. Mentioned the film made at Prades called Casals. Could see us all coming up the hill to the rehearsal, then one film of a rehearsal and one in church, and one in Casals’ home etc. Saw Tabuteau and everyone.

I am fairly loaded down as usual: the medium-sized trunk basket I bought for the accumulation of summer – books, gifts etc., the 2 suitcases that I bought in Houston, the plaid Austrian zipper bag, small leather zipper bag with 1 oboe in it, one double oboe case with 2 instruments, 1 box of phonograph records, and the big basket of cane! 8 articles.  Only 1 less than last summer, I guess.


November 20, 1951

Postmarked Nov 20, 1951

Hotel John Marshall,
Richmond, Virginia

Lola Storch
3405 Mt. Vernon
Houston Texas
Tuesday 20th

Dear Lola,

As you can imagine, I have been terribly busy and not feeling too well myself.

Last week, when calling at Moennig, I was told you were at some hospital; but at the orchestra, they expected you to start within the next few days. I do hope everything is well with you now and that you do enjoy playing your new oboe.

“La famille” often thinks of you, and the only reason for not receiving news from us is we, rather I should say I, hate to write.

Take a good care of your health. Never mind anything else.

Pata [Marcel Tabuteau]

Any luck with reeds? Here, there is no one left to help me. Rosenblatt enlisted few weeks ago. I tried Kraus, but he is impossible and I decided to do without him. At present I am playing reeds stolen from de Lancie. Let us hear from you.

P.  Mme T

[November] 1951


Ma chère Lola,

J’arrive de N. Y. trouve votre lettre. Le maître Pingouin est en voyage mais rentrera cette nuit. Je suis heureuse de vous savoir 100 % en bonne santé mais nous ne savions pas que le microbe avait duré si longtemps. Ne vous tourmentez pas c’est l’essentiel dotes Zut à K… et pensez qu’il existe d’autres cieux que ceux de Houston. Passez surtout un bon jour de Thanksgiving et j’espère que ce petit mot arriera à temps avec tous nos voeux.

Nous passerons la journée à notre étage et irons manger la dinde de L’Art Alliance. Comme vacances… pas de cuisine. Nos bonnes pensées et merci du chèque qu’il ne fallait pas envoyer si vite.


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

Returning from New York, I found your letter.  The master penguin is off on a trip [with the orchestra] but will return tonight.  I am happy to learn that you are in top form health-wise, but we were not aware that the microbe had lasted such a long time.  Don’t concern yourself over whether you tell K [Efrem Kurtz] where to go.  Just think that there are bluer skies than those of Houston.  Above all, have a nice Thanksgiving day and I hope that this little note arrives in time with all of our [good] wishes.   

We’re spending the day up in our aerie, and will have a turkey dinner at the Art Alliance — like vacation, with no kitchen work to do.   Our best wishes and thanks for the cheque which there was no need to send so quickly.


December 1951

Noël 1951 Western Union (telegram) Card

Merry Christmas  [cat in box]  et heureuse année dit le petit ami et son carton est plein de nos affectueuses pensées.

Marcel et Louise A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Merry Christmas (cat in box)  and happy new year says the little friend, and his box is full of our affectionate wishes.

Marcel and Louis A. Tabuteau

January 8, 1952

From Mme T on Drake stationary;  postmarked Jan 9

le 8 janvier 1952

Ma chère Lola,

Le beau chat noir me tient compagnie. Nous sommes seul tous les deux. Le Pingouin est à Washington. Il faut que je vous raconte une belle histoire de jalousie. Votre boite est arrivée un soir avant le diner – nous avons diné et pendant le repas je constate avec horreur que ma fameuse théière anglaise “escorted to U. S.A. by Royal Navy anglaise during World War II for England and democracy”… fuyait.

Comment s’était elle cassée? Au déjeuner le matin elle était en parfait état. A peine le diner terminé je me précipite sur votre boite. L’ouvre – – et quoi. Le chat théière était là souriant, vainquer, sûr de lui – N’était-ce pas merveille. Qu’on ne me parle plus après cela de l’insensibilité des pierres et de nature morte.

Vous avez fait grand plaisir au Pingouin avec votre “Paris au temps des fiacres” mon temps a-t-il dit. Et tous les deux nous vous remercions de ces jolis souvenirs Noël 1951… le dernier à Phila ???????

Je ne peux malheureusement répondre aux questions importantes de votre lettre mais je veux quand même vous écrire ce soir que vous sachiez que nous avons vien reçu la boite et tout en parfait état et dire merci.

J’arrive du théâtre pièce nouvelle “Fancy meeting you again” G.S. Kaufman ce n’est pas un chef d’oeuvre mais assez distrayant, wuand même je n’y enverrai pas le Pin.

Une merveille le Mozart, mieux qu’à Perpignan, atmosphère idéale. J’étais avec Madame Ormandy le vendredi et le samedi à ma place habituelle. Pour moi j’ai préféré l’anche de vendredi, une chaleur de ton extraordinaire. Dommage que tant d’idiots n’y ait rien compris – tant pis pour eux. Après le concert ses élèves Curtis sont venus présenter leurs voeux et bouteilles du Rhin. L’appartement était rangé et la crèche de votre maman à la place d’honneur. Redits-lui combien j’aime cette crèced.

Nous avons passé le jour de Noël chez les de Lancie et la veille premier de l’an ils sont venus ici. Il y avait un concert le lundi 31 et le 1° janvier à New York. Nous avons festoyé après le concert c’est-dire du 11 heures à 3 heures. Champagne. gros pâté de foie gras et gigot. et bêtise. Nous étions seuls et le Pingouin s’est régalé, de Lancie aussi Andrea n’a plus le bel appetit d’autrefois (les mers de famille et leurs soucis!)

Krachmalnick est le soliste ce soir à Washington le Pingouin aime assez ce gros garçon qui l’amuse. Il le trouve nature (ou naturel?)

Avez-vous entendu dire que l’orchestre allait en Europe trois semaines en mai? C’est assez probable mais pas encore certain. Boston y va.

Au revoir mas chère Lola. Donnez des nouvelles de votre santé et je tâcherai de faire écrie le grand mâitre. Mais pénible.

Encore tous nos voeux pour 52. Faut-t-il y mettra (?) ange, et nos afffectueux souvenirs,

Louise A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

The lovely black cat is keeping me company: we’re alone together.  The penguin is in Washington.  I need to tell you a pretty little worrisome story.  Your box arrived one evening before dinner.  We had dined, and during the meal, I noted with horror that my famous English teapot “escorted to the U.S.A. by the Royal British Navy during World War II for England and democracy” was gone.  How could it have broken?  At lunch that day it was in perfect shape.  Scarcely was dinner over when I rushed to your box.  The cat teapot was there, smiling at me triumphantly, sure of itself!  Wasn’t that miraculous?  Let no one speak to me after that of the insensibility of stones and dead nature.

You gave great pleasure to the penguin with your “Paris in the time of the carriages”. “My time”, as he said.  And both of us thank you for these pretty remembrances.  Christmas 1951 — the last in Philadelphia???????

Unfortunately, I can’t respond to the important questions in your letter, but all the same, I’d like to write you this evening so that you can know that we’ve safely received the box, that all is in perfect condition and to say thanks.

I’ve just seen a new piece in the theatre, “Fancy Meeting You Again” by George S. Kaufman, no masterpiece but [reasonably] entertaining, though I would not exactly give it the palm. 

A marvelous thing by Mozart [the Oboe Quartet], better than at Perpignan, in an ideal atmosphere: I was with Madame Ormandy Friday and Saturday, in my usual place.  For me, the Friday reed was preferable: an extraordinary warmth of tone.  It’s too bad that so many idiots didn’t understand anything of this — so much the worse for them.  After the concert, many of [Tabuteau’s] Curtis students came to give their [congratulations] and bottles of Rhine wine.  The apartment was all tidied up and the manger scene your mother made had the place of honor.  Please tell her again how much I like this creche.

We spent Christmas Day with the de Lancies, and they with us New Year’s eve.

There was a concert [here] the 31st and in New York on the first.  We feasted after the concert from 11 to 3: champagne, a huge paté de fois gras and lamb — and foolishness.  We were alone, and the penguin stuffed himself, de Lancie ditto.

Andrea [Mrs. de Lancie] no longer has the appetite she once had (family tribulations and associated worries!)

Krachmalnick will be soloist this evening in Washington, and the penguin rather likes this big boy whom he finds amusing and unaffected

Have you heard that the orchestra is going to Europe for three weeks in May?  It’s fairly likely but not yet certain.  Boston [BSO] is going.

Till we see you again, my dear Laila.  Send news about your health, and I will endeavor to make the great master write, however painful it may be to him(!)

Our [best] wishes again for ’52.  

Need we also add, angel, our affectionate remembrances,

Louise A. Tabuteau 

March 18, 1952

From Tabuteau; postmarked Richmond March 18, 1952

Hotel John Marshall,
Richmond, Virginia

I know you will be surprised to hear from Pata specially from Richmond. For the last few weeks I have been “reinstated”. Poor de Lancie has the same trouble that you had last fall.

We were supposed to sail the 16th of April, at present I do not know what is going to happen.

“La famille” depuis longtemps aurait dû vous écrire. Bien souvent nous avons parlé de Lola et pensé à elle, mais “le vieux professeur” devient bien paresseux. Quand même il a été très heureux de savoir qu’il a été apprécié en faisant parvenir quelques morceaux, et que a bien marché pour le quatuor de Mozart. J’espère un jour avoir la joie de vous entendre jouer cette oeuvre.

A propos de votre contrat avec Houston. Je crois qu’il est préferable d’accepter. Les affaires parait-il ne sont quère brillantes à New York – J’ai personnellement essayé d’intéresser le manager du Detroit, en réponse je n’ai reçu que le traditionnel “pas de femme”.

C’est officiel – pas de Casals cette année, qu’allez vour faire ? – Avec la situation de Lancie nous ne partirons probablement que vers le 15 mai.  (My only salvation is to rely on my desagreement with Sartre philosophy.)

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

[On tour in Richmond]

I know you will be surprised to hear from Pata specially from Richmond. For the last few weeks I have been “reinstated.” Poor de Lancie has the same trouble that you had last fall.

We were supposed to sail the 16th of April, at present I do not know what is going to happen.

“The family” was supposed to have written you long ago, and we have very often spoken of Lola and thought of her, but the old professor has become very lazy.  Even so, he was very happy to know that his gift of a few pieces of music was appreciated, and that things are coming along with the Mozart quartet.  I hope one day to have the pleasure of hearing you play this piece.

With regard to your contract in Houston, I believe it is preferable to accept.  Business in New York does not appear very fine  [i.e., regarding contracts available via Local 802].

I personally have tried to interest the manager of the Detroit Symphony, but in response have received only the usual ” no women.”

It’s official: no Casals [Festival] this year.  What are you going to do?  Given the situation with de Lancie [who had just had a heart attack], we will not be leaving until about May 15th.  My only salvation is to rely on my disagreement with Sartre’s philosophy.

March 26, 1952

From Mme Tabuteau – postmarked March 27, 1952

The Drake,
Philadelphia 2 Pa.

le 26 mars 1952

Ma chère Lola,

de Lancie a la jaunisse tout comme vous. Il est couché depuis deux semaines déjà et ne compte pas revenir à l’orchestre avant Pâques.  Alors c’est le Pingouin qui souffle et souffre! inutile de dire comme il est heureux.

Vous avez bien fait, pense le maître, d’accepter pour la saison prochaine. C’est une bonne façon de passer l’hiver. Pour Dispeker Tabuteau ne sait rien, plutôt étrange. Qu’y a-t-il dans l’air?

Hilsberg va à Nouvelle Orléans conduire la saison prochaine et il a engagé John Mack. Celui-ci est heureux je crois. Et il pourra exhiber son français.

Ici nous savons plus quand nous partons nous avions des places pour le 16 avril mais à cause de de Lancie il a fallu changer beaucoup de choses. Concert Curtis etc.– et nous n’avons plus de place. Ce sera le 30 avril ou 14 mai!! Naturellement “La Coutchéro” n’est pas encore prête à nous recevoir elle ne le sera probablement jamais.

L’histoire du oil-man millionaire qui n’a pas marché m’a désolée pour ne pas dire désepérée je n’attends pas plus rien mais vais lire Holiday.

Si vous voulez envoyer conseils et sympathie à de Lancie il demeure au 2131 Cypress St. Phila.

Ce petit mot est court mais c’est tout pour ce soir. Le Pingouin dort l’aurore approche — Morphée appelle.

Nos bonnes pensées,


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

De Lancie has the jaundice, just like you [had].  He’s been in bed for two weeks already, and does not expect to return to the orchestra before Easter.  It’s left to the penguin then to puff and suffer.  No need to say how happy he is about this…

The master thinks you’ve done well to accept [your contract] for next season [in Houston].  It’s a good way to spend the winter.  As far as Dispeker [an agent] is concerned, Tabuteau is saying nothing, which is rather strange.  What [one wonders] is going on?

Hilsberg is going to New Orleans to conduct next season, and he’s hired John Mack [as first oboe].  I think he [Mack] is happy about that, and he can use his French there.

We now know more here than when we last saw you, as we had [steamship tickets] for the 16th of April, but due to de Lancie [illness], it has been necessary to change a lot of things.  Concert at Curtis to attend to, etc., and now we no longer have firm reservations: it will either be the 29th of April or the 14th of May!   Naturally, “La Coutchéro” is not yet ready to receive us, and it probably never will be. 

The story of the oil-man millionaire who could not get along made me feel sorry, not to say sad.  I’m no longer going to wait for anything, but will [continue] to read Holiday [magazine].  

If you want to send advice and sympathy to de Lancie, his address is 2131 Cypress Street, Philadelphia.

This little note is short, but that’s all for this evening.  The penguin is sleeping and dawn approaches — Morpheus is calling [me].

Our best wishes,


April 29, 1952

From Tabuteau; postmarked April 29, 1952

c/o American Express
11 Rue Scribe, Paris

The Royal Connaught Hotel,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Dear Lola,

J’espère que le séjour en Angleterre et le pélérinage chez Shakespeare a fait moduler vos pensées vers le vieux professor. Pour le moment il est en action Je ne serais jamais imaginé être en tournée moi qui espérais m’embarquer le 16 avril pour Paris.

Par la “contrbassiste” mous avons appris vos émotions du jour de votre départ. Je suis très surpris que de telles “distractions” puissent vous arriver. Enfin tout c’est arrangé. Bon séjour, soyez heureuse.

Affectueuses pensée


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

[On tour in Hamilton, Ontario]

Dear Lola,

I hope that your sojourn in England and pilgrimage to Shakespeare [a visit to Stratford-on-Avon] has caused you to modulate your thoughts about the old professor.  He is active at the moment.  I could not have imagined being on tour [now], I who had hoped to leave the 16th of April for Paris.  [MT had no choice but to fill in for the ailing de Lancie.  Minsker remembered the time and said MT never played better.]

From the “contrabassist”, we learned of your feeling the day of your departure. I was quite surprised that such “distractions” could have happened to you.  Everything is finally arranged [for the Tabs’ belated departure for Europe].  Have a good trip and be happy.

Affectionate thoughts

May 26, 1952

From Tabuteau; postmarked Paris 26 V – May

69 Rue Nationale
Prades P.O.

Dear Lola,

Depuis huit jours la famille est à Paris. Temps superbe. Hier, dimanche je suis allée à Longchamps j’ai seulement faillé gagné!

Bien entendu je suis passé Dubois où comme vous me l’aviez annoncé j’ai trouvé des instruments ils ont l’air bien soigné et il y en a au moins deux qui sont jouables.  Le 1 et le ll. Je prendrai le ll vous en aurez donc un de votre choix. C’est bien gentil d’avoir laissé le petit mot chez Dubois et d’avoir écrit de Prades. Vous avez peut-être bien fait de tenir Casals au courant de ce que l‘entourage est capable de faire. J’écrirai au Maître sous peu et lui ferai part de mes impressions à leurs sujet. Néanmoins, l’essentiel pour moi, dest que Lola soit heureuse d’être à Prades. Si le hautbois d’amour ne chanted pas comme vous le désirez, faites en sorte que Dubois vous fasse un autre instrument. Je vais du reste lui en parler. Pour moi les défauts ne viennent pas du corps du bas mais par le haut.

P.S. Je ne suis pas béni par la chance “bacarré” en ce moment. Priez pour moi!

(Added on front): Ne manquez pas d’écrire à la familee; nous partons pour le midi dans une huitaine. Essayez d’arranger une petite visite avant de retourner en Californie.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

We’ve been in Paris for a week, and having a wonderful time.  Yesterday, Sunday, I went to Longchamps [the casino] where I did nothing but win!

Naturally, I dropped by Dubois’ place [i.e., Lorée], where, as you had told me, I found some well-crafted instruments of which at least two are playable: numbers one and eleven.  I am taking number 11, and you may then have your choice [among the others].  It was very nice [of you] to have left word with Dubois, and to have written to Prades.  Have you possibly done the favor of making Casals aware of what the entourage [i.e., the oboe section] is capable of doing?  I will write the maestro shortly and make my feelings on the subject clear to him.  None-the-less, the main consideration for me is that Lola is happy to be in Prades.  If the oboe d’amore won’t sing as you wish it to, arrange that Dubois make you another instrument.   I’ll speak to him about the rest.  For me, the faults don’t emanate from the lower part of the body, but the upper.

P.S.  My luck at Baccarat has not been holding lately.  Pray for me!  Don’t neglect writing to the family [the Tabuteaus].  We are leaving for the Midi in a week.  Try to arrange a short visit [with us there] before returning to California.

October 23, 1952

From Tabuteau; postmarked Oct 23, 1952

The Sheraton Hotel
Worcester 8

Laila Storch
3409 Mt. Vernon
Houston Texas

Chère Lola

La famille a bien reçu vos lettres. Nous sommes toujours heureux de recevoir de vos nouvelles.

Sans trop d’adversités me suis remis au travail. J’ai bien trouvé des anches faites par le fidèle Mack. Rien de bien fameux. Mais quand même précieux, pour un dépannage. Je joue un des instruments faites par Dubois cet été et je dois avouer que je n’ai ai jamais euautant de facilités a m’en tirer, même avec le pitch!

J’espère que tout marche bien pour Lola, que le hautbois, les anches ne lui donnent pas trop d’ennui. Je pense avoir en ce moment une gouge intéressante et vous enverrai sous peu un échantillon.

À l’orchestre on discute en ce moment une tournée possible en Europe. Il est urgent que Lola garde contacte avec le Maître Casals et qu’elle se prépare a jouer le Festival en cas où je ne puisse le faire. Tout ceci est confidential.

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

[Writing during a runout in Worcester, MA]

The family has received your letters.  We are always glad to hear from you.

I’ve gone back to work without too much to contend with.  Reeds made by the faithful Mack are good: nothing fabulous, but valuable all the same, with a little fixing.  I’ve been playing one of the instruments made by Dubois this past summer, and I have to admit that never have I had so much ease in getting what I want out of an instrument, even regarding the pitch! 

I hope everything is going well for Lola, that [neither] the oboe [nor] the reeds are giving too much bother.  I think I have an interesting gouge at the moment and will shortly send you a sample.  Within the orchestra, a possible European tour is being discussed.  It is urgent that Lola retain contact with maestro Casals and that she prepare herself to play at the Festival in case I am not able to do so.  All of this is confidential.

December 9, 1952

From Mme Tabuteau

The Drake

le 9 decembre 52

Ma chère Lola,

Je voulais vous écrire depuis longtemps et voulais aussi vous dire de ne pas vous tourmenter au sujet des malheureux 40 dollars. mais voilà le chèque est arrivé!! J’espère que cette folie de payer vos dettes ne vous a pas trop dérangée. L’orchestre jouait à N.Y. hier. Joue à hartford ce soir. Si bien que le maître du logis ne rentrea qu’au petit jour. Il en est à la onzième semaine, le onzième “round” dit-il et comme il n’en a que 15 à fournir il devrait arriver aux dernières semaines de sa carrière ———— mais – d’après l’enthousiasme avec lequel il souffle dans ce sale truc et les beautés qu’il en sort je ne le vois pas encore au rang des pensionnés. Et puis il est si heureux d’embêter tous ceux que attendent impatiemment, mais avec quelle patience, son jour d’adieu.

Tout cela rien que pour vous dire que comme nouvelles nous en somme encore et toujours à la même vieille histoire!!

Le seule nouveauté serait peut-être que les maux de tête sont moins intenses, ou plutôt le mal s’est déplacé, les crises de goutte sont revenues. Une à le “Coustiéro” une autre sur le bateau et le dernière ici il y a un mois environs (il a manqué répetition un jour). La goutte le reprend, la tête va mieux quel homme! À part ça l’appetit est merveilleux. Le volume augmente. Surtout devant. et – – – les anches ne valent rien que puis-je vous dire encore?

Puisque nous arrivons à Noël et à l’heure des petits cadeaux, je vais vous dire ce que j’aimerais que vous fassiez pour moi un agrandissement de la fenêtre balcon des (?) ma chambre. Je ne vous l’ai pas encore dit mais j’aime beaucoup cette photo. C’est la seule du reste que nous ayons de la nouvelle demeure. Au fait nous nous y somme installés le mardi 5 août à quatre heures du soir déménagés et emménagés par l’ami Lanza et il aurait fallu voir les D.P. sur le camion Lanza. Comme on avait eu bien soin de faire coucher le maître Pingouin dans son vieux lit et de disposer autour de lui ses affaires tout de suite il se sentit heureux à sa “Coutchéro,” et même avant la fin d’été passait sans émotion devant sa Pingouinette.

 (added on front):  Au revoir Lola donnez des nouvelles et heureuses fêtes de Noël.

Nos affectueux souvenirs


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

My dear Lola,

I’ve been wanting to write you for along time and also wanted to tell you not to worry about the wretched forty dollars, and now here the cheque has arrived!  I hope this madness about paying your debts hasn’t troubled you too much.  The orchestra played in New York yesterday evening, and will play Hartford this evening.  This means the master of the house will return in the wee hours.  He’s in the eleventh week of it, or the eleventh “round” as he calls it, and since he only has fifteen to give, he had to arrive at the last weeks of his career — but — given the enthusiasm with which he is blowing into the filthy thing and the beauties he draws from it, I don’t yet see him among the ranks of the pensioners.  And then [too], he is so happy to annoy all those who are waiting impatiently — but with what [feigned] patience — for the day of his departure.

All this is only to give you a little news.  We are again and as always mired in the same story!  The only novelty is perhaps that [Tabuteau’s] headaches have been less intense, or more correctly have been displaced by gout attacks.  There was one at “La Coustiéro, “one on the ship, and the last one here, about a month ago (causing him to miss a rehearsal).  The gout descends on him, and the head is better — what a guy!  Apart from that, his appetite is marvelous and girth is increasing, especially in front.  And — the reeds are worthless.  What more can I tell you?

Because we are arriving at [i.e., approaching] Christmas and the time of the small gifts, I’m going to tell you what I would like you to do for me.  I’d like an enlargement of [the photo] of the window balcony of my room [of the Tabuteaus together on the balcony].  I haven’t told you yet, but I love that photo.  It’s the only one we have among the lot in the new residence.  By the way, we moved in there Tuesday the fifth of August at four o’clock, moved out [of the old summer home] and moved in by friend Lanza, and it was necessary to have the D.P. [Département de Police] on the Lanza truck. As one had taken great care to have the master penguin deposited in his old bed and to arrange his concerns around him, he quickly found himself happy in his “Coutchéro,” and before summer was over was even able to drive by his “Pingouinette” [the old house] without emotion.

So long Lola.  Send news.  Happy holidays.

Our affectionate wishes,


December 1952

Small card with picture of the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triumph

Pour l’heure du thé et des – – – – rêves avec nos.

(Printed card)

Meilleurs Voeux pour un Joyeux Noël et une Heureuse Annéeles

Tabuteau Noël 1952

(with gift probably the 3 silver iced tea spoons).

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

For tea-time, and [sweet?] dreams with us.

Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Tabuteau  Christmas 1952

December 1952

[The date on this letter appears to be incorrect on two counts: Firstly, in 1954 the Tabuteaus were no longer living in apartment 1405 at the Drake in Philadelphia; they now lived in southern France. Secondly, Christmas Eve, being December 24th, this letter must have been sent to Laila during the latter days of December, most likely in the year 1953.]

From Mme T

le 20 dec 1954

Ma chère Lola,

Le “Tabby” est admirable and arrived exactly on Christmas eve! He spent his first few days with the shepherds of the crêche your mother made and now he is in the middle of 1405. He’s charming companion and will go to the Coutchéro.  [Not sure what this was; possibly a teapot in the shape of a cat – sent from Houston].

All the presents (souvenirs) gave us much pleasure and le maître is delighted with the beautiful box where he will arrange his photos. I’m glad you like the little spoons, I hope they will be good companions for life. [This must be the demi-tasse silver spoons from a good jewelry shop in Phila].

February 14, 1953

Western Union Telegram Feb 14, 1953

Lola Storch
3409 Mt Vernon



1953 Undated 

La Coustiéro
La Léque, Par Le Brusc
Var, France

Notre bonne Lola,

Nous avons bien reçu toutes vos lettres, mais comme vous le savez, je n’ai pas de secrétaire. Veuillez donc excuser “la famille”. Je suis profondement désolé mais il m’est impossible d’arriver avant le 5 juin. Vous et Mack faites le nécessaire.

Sommes installés depuis notre arrivée dans le midi à la “Coute Chèro”. Merci encore de nous tenir au courant des activités à Prades; j’ai bien reçu la cantate, et sans grand enthousiasme me prépare pour être en forme pour le Festival.

De la famille nos meilleurs pensées.

Bien cordialement,


Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Written from La Coustiéro [the mansion by the sea], La Leque, par Le Brusc, Var

Our dear Lola,

We have received all of your letters, but as you know, I don’t have a secretary.  Please thus forgive “the family.”  I am very sorry, but it impossible for me to arrive before the fifth of June.  You and Mack [will please] do what is necessary.  We are settled since our arrival at “Costs a Lot.”  Thanks again for keeping is abreast of what is going on at Prades.  I received the cantata [score] and without great enthusiasm am preparing myself to be in shape for the Festival.  

Best wishes from the family.

Kindest regards,

Marcel Tabuteau

June 29, 1953

Printed on stationary

La Coustiéro
La Lèque, Par Le Brusc
Var, France

Lola Storch
Casals Festival Bureau
Prades, France
le 29 juin

Notre chère Lola,

J’ai reçu aujourd’hui un telégramme de Robert me disant “entendu” Ayez donc l’obligeance de dire à Mr. Rudié de ne pas manquer de passer chez le docteur Budin 6 Rue de Maubeuge. Téléphone Trudaine 32 – 92. pour y prendre le cor anglais. Recommendez lui bien de téléphoner pour annoncer sa visite. cela serait préferable. Comme je lui ai laissé deux hautbois demandez lui de vous (?) en remettre un que Mack pourra m’a apporter lors de sa visite a “Le Coustiéro.”  En grande vitesse nous sommes rentrés et jusqu’à présent le soleil est aussi rare ici qu’à Prades. Mais je suis quand même bien heureux d’être chez moi.

Bon fin de séjour au pied du Canigou. donnez nouvelles et bonnes amitiés de la famille.

Marcel Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

[Written from La Coustiéro to Laila Storch in Prades]

Our dear Lola,

I today received a telegram from Robert [Casadesus?] telling me all was settled.  Please have the kindness to tell Mr. Rudié to be sure not to miss stopping by Dr. Budin’s [Louise Tabuteau’s brother-in-law], 6 Rue de Maubeuge, telephone Trudaine 32-92, in order to obtain the English horn there.  Tell him to be sure to telephone [in advance] to announce his visit: that will be preferable.  As I left two oboes with him [Dr. Budin], tell him to give you one so Mack can bring it along at the time of his visit to “La Coustiéro.”  We returned in great haste, and just now, the sun is as extraordinary as it is at Prades.  But I am nevertheless happy to be in my own home.

Good luck in completing your sojourn at the foot of Mount Canigou [i.e. Prades].

Send news, and best wishes from the family,

Marcel Tabuteau

December 6, 1953

[This is a draft of the complete letter which follows]


Here, it is always a fight to the death with the reeds. Fortunately the tenth week has just ended and there are not more than…..five ! Your oboe has lost its charms for me! What should I do with it. etc…

[The next must refer to Rignold and first concert of guest Fricsay.]

I am so proud of you, you don’t get along too well with British conductors and happy you are still able to be thrilled. I envy you!

[Mme T continues]:

I am finishing this letter because the gigot called him a few minutes ago and now the inspiration seems to have left him. You have just the same, two pages of his prose and that is something! “De quoi demain sera-t-il fait”? (“What will tomorrow bring?”) to speak like Victor Hugo. We have tickets on a Queen – I don’t know which one.  – Leaving New York on February 26! I have not yet told anyone. Keep this possible news for yourself. But if he ever makes a final and interesting decision, I’ll tell you.

Life on the 14th floor continues more or less the same and pleasant. The weather has been superb this autumn all Fall. Last Friday was the Curtis Christmas party and next Friday begins vacation. As always the cursed séances (sessions) of the reeds—-reeds—–

La Coustiéro is still there and we receive regular news. The Merlays and Boss [one of Tabuteau’s 2 dogs] are holding up  incorporate into Coustiéro!

December 6, 1953

[This is a second draft of the letter above, but in French and somewhat extended]

Postmarked Phila Dec 7 1953

Miss Leila Storch
4920 Dunlavy
Houston 6 Texas

The Drake

le 6 décembre 53

Notre chère Lola,

Toutes vos lettres sont bien arrivées. Nous sommes heureux d’être au courant de tous les détails qui vous rendent la vie douce à Houston.

Ici, pour moi c’est toujours une lutte à mort avec les anches. Heureusement la dizième semaine vient de se terminer il n’y en a plus que ….cinq!

Votre hautbois a perdu pour moi ses charmes! Que dois-je en faire? Le vendre, quel prix. Vous l’envoyer ou le garder ici pour vous? En attendant, merci, de me l’avoir laissé. Je lui ai fait donner quelques fois de belles notes. Il a des qualités mais – – – -je suis difficile!

Bien gentil de nous avoir envoyé la photo des deux frères. I am so proud of you, you don’t get along too well with British conductors and happy you are still able to be thrilled. I envy you!!

[Mme T continues]:

Je finis la lettre parceque le gigot l’appelé il y a quelques minutes et maintenant l’inspiration semble l’avoir quitté. Vous avez quand même deux bonnes pages de sa prose, c’est quelque chose!

Merci du chèque mais vous n’auriez pas dû tant vous presser. La famille pouvait attendre. J’ai reçu aussi les photos de la “Coutchéro” envoyees par votre maman avec une longue lettre. Remerciez-la en attendant que je le fasse c’est gentil à elle de s’en être occupé.

“De quoi demain sera-t-il fait”? pour parler comme V. Hugo. Mais nous avons billet sur une Queen – je ne sais laquelle – qui part de N. York le 26 février! Je ne l’ai encore dit à personne gardez donc pour vous cette possible nouvelle. Mais si jamais il prend décision finale et intéressante je vous le dirai.

La vie au quatorzième étage se continue plus au moins pareille et agréable. Il a fait temps superbe tout l’automne. Vendredi dernier, fête de Noël au Curtis et vendredi prochain les vacances commencent.

Comme toujours les maudites séances d’anches … d’anches…

“La Coustiéro” est encore debout et nous recevons régulièrement des nouvelles. Les Merlay et Boss tiennent le coup.

Nous sommes toujour heureux de recevoir vos lettres – écrivez donc à bientôt et affectueux souvenirs,

Louise A. Tabuteau

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Our dear Lola,

All of your letters have arrived safely.  We are happy to be up to date on all the details that are making your life so fine in Houston.  Here, for me, it’s always a struggle to the death with reeds.  Happily, the tenth week is about to end, and there are [now] only five left.  [That is, there are only five weeks left in his contract, an arrangement that had been in effect since 1948.  Only this time, it will be the last.]

Your oboe has lost its charms for me.  What shall I do with it?  Sell it  — at what price?  Should I send it your way or keep it here for you?  In the meantime, thanks for having lent it to me.  I got it to give forth some lovely notes a few times.  It has qualities, but — I am difficult!

Thanks for having sent the photo of the two brothers  [presumably Marcel and André].

I am so proud of you, you don’t get along too well with British conductors and happy you are still able to be thrilled. I envy you!!

[Madame continues:]

I’m finishing the letter because the leg of lamb [Tabuteau] called a couple of minutes ago, and now, inspiration seems to have left him  [i.e. his impetus to continue writing is no longer present]. Nevertheless, you have two solid pages of his prose, which is quite something!

Thanks for the cheque, but there was no need for you to hurry so much.  The family could have waited.  I also got the photos of “La Coutchéro” your mother sent with along letter.  Please thank her before I do [and tell her] it was very nice of her to concern herself about this.

“What will tomorrow bring?” to quote Victor Hugo.  We have a ticket on The Queen — I don’t know which — leaving from New York the 26th of February!

I haven’t told anyone [else] about this, so please keep this possible news to yourself.  But if ever he Tabuteau] makes a final and positive decision, I’ll let you know.

Life here on the fourteenth floor continues in a more or less normal and agreeable fashion.  The weather has been superb throughout the autumn.  Last Friday, there was a Christmas party at Curtis, and next Friday, winter break begins. 

As always, the damned reed sessions continue  … the reeds … 

“La Coustiéro” is still standing, and we receive regular news [from there].  

The Merlays and Boss [the dog] are minding the store.  

We are always happy to receive your letters — write soon.

Affectionate wishes,

Louise A. Tabuteau

December 25, 1953

This letter refers, I think, to Laila’s Jan 7 solo recital review.

1953 Noël

We heard echoes of the famous 7 January. Thank you for sending them. All our congratulations. Pingouin thinks you should send them to Casals – should interest him. You’ll be the illustrious Mlle Storch of Houston.

Here the grand maître has become or is becoming, a Pasha for the past eight days. Gets up after 11a.m.. Doesn’t do anything with his day and seems perfectly happy. Le 26 février is still until now the day of departure.

He  has given notice to the landlord of the studio, sold all the contents (everything that is in there), music, cane, the grindstone,  en bloc.  Lump the whole lot “en bloc” to be able to leave with hands in the pockets. (Hands free) and can leave hands in his pockets. But officially has not yet said anything. Therefore until the official announcement do not say anything – or believe anything. We’ll see! But I am preparing to move as in any case we will not be keeping 1405. From time to time on must make serious decisions.

Hautbois sent by Moennig on last Saturday the 16th. He did it himself. [Date checks out!)]. Lots of music – Boston – Detroit with Paray. Le Pingouin went to hear them and also Philadelphia with van Beinum who he admires. [Likes very much] and Phila. came out the winner in the tournament.

De Lancie had a little girl. Andrea has the mumps.


February 26, 1954

Telegram from NY on Feb 26, 1954

I have to believe it myself. Think Lola.



September 4, 1954

As I return to Houston – addressed to Helen’s in Phila

[T reference to Longatee.]

If trouble with reeds call up 59 Le Brusc. I will do the rest. Best of luck and keep up the good old Tabuteau tradition; in other words tell them to go to Hell!

Our love,

Les Tabuteau

December 21, 1954

21 dec 1954

Notre bonne Lola

It was nice to write often and tell us all about Houston and your disappointment. Personally I understand how you feel. The only salvation and possible happiness for an orchestra player is to develop the technique to admire without reservation le chef d’orchestre, otherwise it is unbearable!!

Everything goes well here, my major distress is when I have to write. So you must excuse me. Enclosed a picture with the kind of pupils I really enjoy. They obey and have faith in me. [The dogs]. I hope this note will reach you in time for the New Year if not for Christmas.

With our best wishes and love,


Greetings and remembrances to Marion.

February 17, 1955

T writes at the opening of this letter

La Lèque

Notre bonne Lola,

Thank you for your good letters ……and we think of you often, but Lola is not here to keep up my correspondence, so she doesn’t receive anything.

I notice that you are a bit discouraged by the conditions and intrigues around you and you ask my advice. Personally I experienced a half century of this kind of torture and I never had the cran  [pluck or mettle] to make the decision to look for more hospitable realms. Where are you with the Fulbright?

There would be an interim solution. You might even find work in Europe but if you then had to find another spot as first oboe in the U.S, I fear that you would have a great deal of difficulty. If you come to Europe this summer, we could [what word looks like ébrancher; no it is ébaucher – means make the first draft of-draw an outline of a sketch] maybe of a business of oboes and accessories for the United States, très confidential.  That would permit you to augment your reserves and be a modulation to a distant key from your Bach activities.

All goes well here and I am proud of myself. I know how to do nothing.

[Mme T continues]:

No escapades since the beginning  of November 54 to Monte Carlo. The Budins are here now since 15 days.  The Dr. has also retired (sold his practice to Jacques) and has nothing to do but se promener suivi by [wander about followed by] his wife. Nothing to do about it – We all belong to the oldsters.  Next week we will return to the home of the civilized.

Trip to Paris. I hope to see some good plays and maybe movies. Don’t speak of music; I would never be able to drag him to a concert.

Fall 1955

Glad to hear of Vienna experiences. Tab and I heard Fidelio on the radio the night of the reopening of the opera. Later will try to give you my impressions of the orchestra. Here all goes well I eat and drink much too much. That keeps me from attaining my ideal to melt and harmonize into the vegetable kingdom (règne végétal). I mean the beautiful trees that I love so much. Even though we are so lazy about writing don’t be influenced by us. Write often with many details about what you are doing in Vienna.

[Louise Tabuteau]

November 15, 1956

This is the famous letter about Stokowski postmarked 15-11-56. The letter is from MT and is postmarked Toulon 15 – 11 – 1956  in pencil

Chère Lola,

La “Famille” reçoit toujours bien les nouvelles. Merci. Celles de ce matin m’ont attristé. The decaying Stoko!! – en pleine forme et jeune, il sentait déja le cadavre. Qu’est ce que ce doit être maintenant! En toute justice il me faut admettre qu’en mon demi siècle d’expérience avec les chefs d’orchestre il était le plus doué de tous mais il possedait tel pouvoir de destruction qu’il n’a pu y échapper ni s’epargner — Nous avons passé des heures bien angoissées, même si tout s’arrange ce ne sera que “partie remise” – à la radio nous avons les “thèses russes,” et d’après eux nous sommes les responsables et coupables de ces crises. Pour moi il est incontestable que les dirigeantes russes sont des gangsters et de beaux salauds.

Vous repartez en tournée. J’espère que cela ne vous fera pas négliger les degré et hauts certificats des université de Vienne. Très sérieux!

Translation by Michael Finkelman:

Dear Lola, 

The “family” is still safely receiving your news — thanks.  The news [that arrived]  this morning saddened me: the decaying Stoki!  Even when young and at the top of his form, you could already sense the cadaver [within].  How must it all be now!

To be completely fair, I have to admit that in my half-century of experience with orchestra leaders, he was the most gifted (accomplished) of all, but he possessed such a power of destruction that he could not escape it nor be saved from it.  We had some very anxious times [with him] and even if all seemed to be ironed out, that was only a minor postponement.  In the broadcasts, we would get these fanciful stories, according to which, we [the players] were the ones responsible for and guilty of the crises [that cropped up].  For me, it is incontestable that the Slavic conductors are [a pack of] gangsters and beautiful bastards.

You’re starting off again on tour.  I hope this won’t make you neglect the degrees and diplomas of the University of Vienna — very serious!