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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000779.txt from 1999/01

From: "MARY A. VINQUIST" <kenshaw@-----.com>
Subj: [kl] Josef Marx (Ponte's Music Store)
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 11:03:51 -0500

About a microsecond after I hit the "send" button on my posting about
Charlie Ponte, I realized I had confused two stores. What I had remember=
ed
as McGuinnes & Marx was actually Lynx & Long, and Jack Lynx was the one w=
ho
made the micrometer. I'm very grateful to Dan Leeson for the correction.=
=

I can forgive him for that, but I'm not sure I can forgive him for steali=
ng
the next nostalgia piece I was going to write, about Josef Marx. =

I can add a few minor items to what Dan said. Josef had the only
heckelphone in New York, except for one in the Metropolitan Museum. (I
think he may have had two of them.) When you wanted a heckelphone, Josef=

came along with it. Exactly the same as someone who owns two basset horn=
s
when someone wants to do the Gran Partita.

He was a very fine player. I have a tape of him playing the Schumann
Romances that is remarkably good. It's hard to listen to, though, becaus=
e
he used circular breathing to play each movement in a single "breath." =

Listening to it, you want to burst after a few bars. He develolped
rheumatoid arthritis that stiffened his fingers and made his knuckles swe=
ll
up to the size of ping-pong balls, which forced his fingertips too wide
apart to play on normal oboe keywork. One of the unsung genius repairmen=
,
Carl Sawicki (who works mainly on bassoons) remade and extended the keys =
so
he could get his fingers on them. Despite the handicap, he played very
well up to the time he died, and his ability to inspire everyone within
hearing never faded.

For the last five years he lived, I was one of the lucky ones who got to
play at Josef's on Saturday night. (I played mostly recorder.) It got
going at about 10:00 and went past 2:00. My greatest thrills were playin=
g
the Mozart Quintet with 4 superb string players, playing a trio for
clarinets with a couple of guys who I think subbed in the Philharmonic (w=
as
one of them you, Dan?) and playing the Telemann Recorder Concerto with a
mini-orchestra. I started out the finale at an insane tempo, and 30
seconds later Josef came running in brandishing a fire extinguisher. =

"Rolling on the floor laughing" was literally true. I may have played in=

the last ensemble with him. We closed an evening with a trio sonata for
recorder and oboe. A couple of days later, he was gone.

Does anyone know whether the people who used to come to Josef's still get=

together? I miss that more than anything.

Ken Shaw

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