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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000373.txt from 1994/05

From: Jim Freeman <collnjim@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: The *very* Mazzeo clarinet
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 00:50:44 -0400

On Fri, 20 May 1994, Dan Leeson: wrote:

> 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
> 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
> that!
> ====================================
> Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
> (
> ====================================
I just wanted to add my several cents on the topic of Rosario and
his clarinets. A couple of years ago he had his clarinet collection out
of the cabinets and on display when I was over for a lesson. Well, oddly
enough, the subject of his California Custom came up and he invited me to
pick up his remarkable clarinet (it had been sitting for some years so,
unfortunately, it was not playable). It felt ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHING. The
keys actually were where my fingers needed to be. It was very difficult
going back to my stock trombone to play the remainder of the lesson.
On the subject of Rosario as a human - it may not be possible to
overstate what a wonderful man and teacher Rosario is. It was my great
privilege to study with him for five years (I figure about 155 lessons).
His rabid devotion to music and his students has left a mark that pervades
every lesson I teach and note that I play.

Jim Freeman
(resting comfortably after a recent spasm of severe ((but
sincere)) corniness)

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