A number of recordings that feature Marcel Tabuteau are available, but not a single one truly does him justice. The recording technology in his day was simply not advanced to the point where it could pick up the distinctive subtleties of his playing. His true sound, coloring and nuances proved elusive to the microphones. This is verified by all those who heard him in person.*

Although we only have a glimpse into what was actual, we are thankful there are recordings of Tabuteau. He can, of course, be heard in the Philadelphia Orchestra as principal oboist on their earlier recordings. Other than that, recordings highlighting Tabuteau as oboist fall into four categories: 1) Solo/Soli with Orchestra; 2) Chamber Music; 3) Orchestral Excerpts; and 4) Lessons. (The Bach cantatas he recorded are listed under Chamber Music.)

In addition, there is a fifth category of Tabuteau recordings with him conducting his Curtis wind ensembles. They were recorded to be aired at a later date on Curtis produced radio broadcasts. Most of these original 78 RPM records can be found in the Curtis recordings archive.

The repertoire in the five categories indicated below was recorded by Marcel Tabuteau and heard originally on 78 RPM, 45 RPM, or LP records. Since then, a number of those recordings were reissued in other formats including Tape, CD, MP3 and Streaming. Information about the initial recording is given. Certain pieces were recorded more than once while others were recorded but never released commercially. The Bach Cantata BWV 202 was recorded in 1953 but not issued until 2007.

Despite valiant efforts to improve sound quality of the original recordings, there is only so much that sound engineers can achieve. Fidelity remains a constant and serious problem. After much deliberation by the Editorial Board, it was decided to post Tabuteau’s performances for the historical record, knowing full well that the recordings do a severe disservice to his playing. Yet, with some imagination, it was felt that listeners would be able appreciate the magnitude of his genius.

To access a work, click one of the categories below and make your selection. If you know of other recorded performances (released or non-released) highlighting Marcel Tabuteau playing or conducting, please click Submissions.

* In the words of John Shamlian (Philadelphia Orchestra bassoonist): “In those early days when you sat in the orchestra and listened to Tabuteau, you heard the great phrasing and the way he tapered things off, but on the records, it just wasn’t there. I believe it was the lack in the recording technique of that time. It did not catch the subtlety of the oboe—a disappointing thing. You had to be on the stage listening. Posterity will just have to believe what we say.”

Solo/Soli with Orchestra

Chamber Music

Orchestral Excerpts


Conducting/Coached Ensembles

 Sound enhancement provided by Joe Hannigan at Weston Sound