Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Symphony Hall

Here are three anectdotal (but true) little stories about recordings, which do not render any opinion I don’t have. There is a recording of the Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with Munch conducting. Every clarinetist knows the first movement solos, the sweet little solo preceded by all of that syncopated tutti , which is repeated becoming a bridge to the slower section. On the recording, which was issued, the first solo played by Gino Cioffi was never put into the recording. Who knows, the tape(at that time) may be hanging up in some studio somewhere.

Number two happened to me in Symphony Hall. I went into the hall to see my teacher who was at the time Rosario Mazzeo (the personell manager). I stopped and opened a door to the hall and saw the orchestra playing. They had taken out all of the seats and the members were seated in pairs,(woodwinds and brass) each pair with a separate microphone. They were recording. I was transfixed seeing them in pairs.

Someone grabbed ne by the collar and neck and dragged me out of the hall. It was Peggy Burke, Mazzeos secretary who had gotten nervous about me coming in. Out in the hallway whe screamed in a whisper to me.”Sherman, don’t you know if you were caught in there, the orchestra would have had to be paid!” I said of course, ,”no”.
She went on telling me that when Koussevistsky had been the conductor he was so abusive that they passed the regulation to save aggravation on the players .
One more story. (true too)
The were recording Til, back in the days of 78s. Koussevitsky was conducting. At the time, an entire side had to be recorded. No editing was available. The first horn cracked (Wilhelm Vulcaneer). Koussy would not re-record. On the way out, Vulcaneer opened the conductors door and said, You Son of a bitch.
Koussy replied.”It is never too late to apologize”
(Story told to me by a dear friend, Tom Kenny, who was Szells first horn as well as Paul Parays for many years.


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