Marcel Tabuteau in a RCA Poster

by Charles-David Lehrer

In searching for Tabuteau related materials, I came across a very interesting 1918 Oboe Poster of the Victor Talking Machine Company (see below). At some point, a photo of Marcel Tabuteau replaced the image of the original oboist on the poster, William Adams.

William Adams, by happen-chance, my first oboe instructor had once been the in-house oboist for Victor, encompassing both mechanical and electric recording technologies. During the summers Adams played in the Ocean City Municipal Pier Orchestra and it was there that I took my first oboe lessons. Adams, a good friend of Tabuteau, told me in 1957 that the master had retired to France and that it had been reported to him that Tabuteau had 9 oboes. Perhaps he would sell one to me. So, correspondence commenced between Adams (“My Dear Tabuteau”) and Tabuteau (“My Dear Adams”). In the long run, Tabuteau had Robert de Gourdon send me one of his newest Loreés, hot off the press, so to speak. It was tuned to A 433, Tabuteau’s favorite pitch!

The poster itself is part of a set featuring the instruments of the orchestra. On the cover of the series, Leopold Stokowski stands on the podium before the Philadelphia Orchestra.

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William Adams is seen in this 1924 photo of the Victor Orchestra in Camden sitting just under the first light fixture on the left.