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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000359.txt from 1994/05

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: The *very* Mazzeo clarinet
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 22:51:16 -0400

Rosario had that instrument made, but Clark was not in the area at the
time. A local repairperson named Norm Benner did it for him and I have
seen photos of the instrument in Norm's shop.

I don't know what ever happened to the horn. Rosy has not spoken about
it but that does not mean too much. He has a quicksilver mind and goes
from one topic to another with the speed of light.

On his 80th birthday, Clark, Mark Brandenburg (formerly assistant
1st in San Francisco), and several others including me gave a concert in Carmel
as a surprise to him and we did the Mozart Adagio for 5 clarinets, the
basset horn trios, the 6 Notturni for voices and clarinets, and within
a week, Rosario was off to give a talk about
the aged and their contributions to improving society.

When we did the Rite of Spring, I went down to coach the part with him.
It was not that I did not know the work, I wanted him to tell me
what Stravinsky did when he conducted it, and Munch, and Koussevitzsky,
and goodness knows who else. Working on that part with him was like
being in the BSO for 50 years. When I got done, I knew exactly how
every major conductor since 1932 had played it.

He is a wonderful, intuitive teacher and gave me one of the best compliments
I ever received. We played the Mahler "Das Lied von Der Erde" which has
a b.c. solo in it that sets the world on fire and he was in the audience.
After the concert he said, "That was very good." Coming from him, it was
the best compliment I could ever have gotten and I treasure those works
each time we play the work (though that time was with Jessye Norman).

Rosario's house has a fabulous clarinet collection lining the walls, rafters,
book shelves, cabinet tops, etc. His "very" Mazzeo clarinet is probably
in the collection and I missed it.

He is also a world class ornithologist and got me interested in the problem
of the now non-existent passenger pigeon, a species that was so numerous that,
in the late 1800s, its flocks would blacken the skies for days as they
flew overhead. The last one died in captivity in the Washington zoo around
1920. We had killed them all: in excess of one billion birds.

He still teaches and has a few students come in from around the world to live
in Carmel/Monterey and study with him for a year. The last one was a gorgeous
woman from Switzerland who was as brilliant a player as she was beautiful.
I don't mean to be sexist but she was beautiful and she was also a great
player. (In the current atmosphere, am I still permitted to say that?)

If I ever see his *very* Mazzeo clarinet, I'll steal it.

Also living nearby is the former 1st in the great NBC symphony under
Toscaninni, Alex Williams. Portnoy lives in the north bay. I am surrounded
by clarinet greatness. Even Kell used to live here in the 50s but I missed

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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