Laurence Thorstenberg Interview, 4/13/1977
Studied with Tabuteau at Curtis ca. 1948 – 1951.
Tabuteau: insulting at lessons.
Lessons: “drives,” Barret.
Ferling etudes; Tombeau de Couperin.
Anecdote: “It’s on top!” Example of Tabuteau’s teaching: no real explanation, just emphasis on the same phrase.
One of most important ideas: phrasing and expression.
Formulas for phrasing.
Numbers: explained relative values of notes in intensity or dynamic level.
Ups and downs.
Embouchure and reed placement.
Woodwind classes at Curtis.
Numbers to balance a chord.
Interrogative and affirmative.
Certain preconceived style applied to all music.
Articulation: tonguing and slurring.
Scaling of articulation in a ritard.
Comments on “It is important to remember to place one’s notes on the bow or the wind and not to bow or wind the notes.”
The bar line.
The first note of the measure in 4/4 time.
Zero: not a concept Thorstenberg remembered.
Dynamics and intensity.
Tabuteau’s use of the numbers and ups and downs.
Most important: Tabuteau’s ideas on thinking through and organizing phrases.
How to end a slur.
Ending a note.
Fading away: outstanding element of the style.
Thorstenberg wanted more obvious vibrato, darker sound, more variety of expression.
Tabuteau’s admiration for his teacher, Georges Gillet.
Roller coaster image.
Tabuteau’s influence on: oboists, woodwind world; Philadelphia Orchestra.
Tabuteau’s ideas that Thorstenberg has passed on to students.
Breathing – not sure what Tabuteau’s ideas were.
Intervals – use of numbers.
Thorstenberg uses few of Tabuteau’s expressions.
Articulation: formulas limiting.
Grouping and punctuation.
Character of phrases.
Vibrato – Thorstenberg: concept of drives can be overdone; advocates variations in vibrato.
One instance where Tabuteau seemed to allow for individuality.
Production of up and down impulses.
Aims of distribution.
Taa, tee, long.
Thorstenberg’s comments on Tabuteau’s statement: “ Most important – for the attack, first get rid of the air in your lungs. Before playing say ah, ah, ah, ahh! Don’t inhale – and play with the pressure left at your command against the resistance of the reed. Direct wind on the reed is rather uncontrollable; no outlet!”