Rhadames Angelucci Interview 1/10/1978
Studied with Marcel Tabuteau at Curtis from mid-January, 1931; graduated 1936.
Participated in woodwind classes with Tabuteau.
Tabuteau was frightening and very demanding in lessons.
Great ideas on phrasing.
Atmosphere generated by Tabuteau.
Angelucci in first years frightened and nervous.
You had to be prepared for lessons.
First lesson consisted of 1 note – “a.”
Had to produce the sound without stopping the wind at the throat.
Had to play on a forward motion, not collapse the wind at the throat.
After a few lessons played scales – very slowly, both detached and slurred, a major and minor scale. Each lesson started with two scales and progressed through the sharps and then the flats. Then began scales in 3rds and 4ths.
Worked in the Barret book and then the Ferling and then the Brod Sonata, Handel Sonatas and the Paladilhe. Then the Gillet and Prestini.
Scales always preceded the books.
Always finished lessons on time. Lessons were 1⁄2 hour long. Tabuteau kept on schedule.
Tabuteau was a great one for playing with imagination.
Meaningful tip from Tabuteau: little phrases within longer phrases – e.g. question, answer, conclusion.
Other important concepts: projection, floating sound, spinning the breath.
Important to pay attention even when Tabuteau was teaching another student.
Angelucci’s understanding of the spinning sound: involved what Tabuteau said, “Play on the pressure of the diaphragm” and the breath spiraled through the oboe in a forward motion.
Vibrato: Tabuteau never specifically talked about it – just said,” sing with intensity.”
In Barret book transposed articulated exercises.
Tabuteau stressed individuality; he didn’t like imitating or copying anyone.
Tabuteau did not demonstrate in oboe lessons.
Once Tabuteau was trying to get Angelucci to play more from the diaphragm. Angelucci touched Tabuteau’s stomach muscles which Angelucci noted were tight and strong.
Tabuteau was very good at telling you what he wanted.
Tabuteau did not work very much on reeds. Occasionally would give some pointers.
Tabuteau used a long scrape – first one to start using that kind of scrape.
Example of tips Tabuteau gave on reeds: don’t tie over the end of the tube; must use good knives.
Tabuteau: exhale at end of phrase and inhale.
Tabuteau didn’t use the number system with Angelucci. But he did use the number system a lot at that time with other students.
Angelucci understood the number system to be about the degree of intensity and tone color.
Tone color – not mentioned specifically.
Angelucci thought when Tabuteau used the words positive or negative interpretation, he was talking about color and feeling. It comes out in how you’re thinking or imagining what the music is about.
Interpreting was about playing in different moods and affects.
Angelucci vividly remembers Tabuteau using up and down impulses.
Up – down impulses were to get the motion in the music.
Tabuteau did not use tee long taa taa with Angelucci. It was long long daat daat.
He used long for the slur.
Tabuteau: if there is a slur on two notes, it’s only one note that is slurred.
Tabuteau: good musicians don’t need the bar line.
Angelucci: the up and down was more about intensity.
Tabuteau: one needed to play the articulation correctly.
Angelucci: thinks length of articulation can depend on the music; what’s on the page open to interpretation.
Tabuteau would let you phrase on the bar line if the music called for it. But, breathing was generally after the bar line.
In 9-note scales, breathe after the 9th note. In 5-note pattern, after 5.
Play a 9-note C major scale 2 octaves, you go to high “e,” so that you break on the down.
Clear distinction between dynamics and intensity.
Amplification of the “dolce tone.” Angelucci thought Tabuteau was referring to using support and a floating tone that would start to spiral.
Locomotive and smoke stack images.
Attack: attack with tip of the tongue on the tip of the reed. “You must attack like you’re going through butter with a hot knife.”
Tabuteau did not stop the tone with the tongue; only used the tongue for attacks.
Tabuteau created the [American] sound of oboe playing.
Because Tabuteau taught chamber music classes which included strings, Angelucci thought Tabuteau had quite an influence on orchestra playing.
Summary of Tabuteau’s contributions: Understanding of a phrase and understanding of the music and the spirit.
Angelucci refers to Tabuteau in his lessons with advanced students: especially the way the tone floated, the phrasing, the imagination, the artistry.
When he taught, Angelucci felt like Tabuteau was hovering around him.
Angelucci: Tabuteau not as mean as he appeared.
Tabuteau did not like negative personalities.
Curtis students had to refer to Tabuteau as Mr. Tabuteau.
Angelucci: doesn’t understand why students today want to study with a number of different teachers. For him, after 4 years with Tabuteau, he didn’t need anyone else.
Angelucci didn’t understand the concept on the Tabuteau recording about letting all the air out before an attack. He was under impression that Tabuteau always took a full breath.