John Mack Interview 6/12/1977
Joint reed venture with Tabuteau.
Where, when, and how long.
Rapport with Tabuteau. Studio assistant.
Lessons with Minsker.
Making reeds for Tabuteau.
Tabuteau’s impatience with reed scraping.
Don’t apply a scrape to the reed; scrape the reed according to its needs.
Tabuteau’s distinctive knife stroke. Used an extremely sharp knife.
Lessons were fierce.
Pressure situation all the time.
Oboe lessons were 1/2 hour long.
Purpose of transposition: develop connection between the ear and the fingers.
Tabuteau was a counterpuncher as a teacher.
Working on Barret.
Mack considers Tabuteau “arbitrary” on purpose.
The idea of having subdivision come as a residue of a strong pulse was abhorrent to Tabuteau — the rhythm should have direction toward the strong pulse.
Tabuteau used metaphors and analogies to demonstrate concepts on the oboe.
Basic tenet: think before you play, and when you play, don’t think.
Mack’s disenchantment with “off the cuff playing.”
Barret, Ferling, Brod, Gillet.
work on: articulation.
movement of fingers.
Tabuteau’s number system.
First rule of music: keep your lines.
Vibrato was an undiscussed topic.
Vibrato: reflection of a person’s psyche.
Tabuteau avoided physical explanations.
Distinction between dynamics and intensity.
Use of the words “speed of the wind.”
Up and down impulses.
Physical things are not the answer.
The bar line is something to be crossed over.
Principles of articulation.
Taa and tee.
2nd slurred note — full length.
Tabuteau noticed who accepted concepts blindly and those who were more acute.
Scaling of articulation.
The Barret book. None of the most important teaching is done by books alone. The teacher is a critical component of the learning process.
Mack: “Tabuteau was very strong on contradictions.”
Tabuteau: wind players should learn from string players and singers.
Intervals — calculated leaps.
Place the notes on the wind and not wind the notes.
Practice a passage on one note.
Tabuteau did not seem to have taught breathing to any student.
(Mack disagreed with that. Mack thought that all important concepts needed to be covered with students.)
Concepts from Georges Gillet.
Influence on the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Perpetuating the Tabuteau Tradition.
Tries to avoid limitations.
Tries to get students all fired up like Tabuteau did, but not as mean as Tabuteau.
Tries to discuss all the things that Tabuteau did. And yes, uses metaphors as Tabuteau.
Tabuteau avoided actual physical things, but stressed imagination.
Both Tabuteau and Mack played for students.
Tabuteau’s boundless energy.
No help with orchestral excerpts.
Amplification of the dolce tone.
Use of rubato — playing straight was anathema to him.
One should blow obliquely across the reed and the air should be directed to the bridge of the nose.
Tabuteau at the Metropolitan Opera. In the process there of trying to expand the capabilities of the oboe.