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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000172.txt from 1999/06

Subj: [kl] Dan Leeson Pushing Buttons Again
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 18:15:06 -0400

I wasn't going to respond to Dan's diatribe, mainly becuase some of it made
sense, but I would like to say the following.

First, I was not at Mr. Pay's session at NU. I believe it happnened the year
before I arrived.

Yes, Marcellus was against original instruments and improvising in Mozart.
However, this was no secret. It was also no secret that getting into a fight
with Marcellus over this issue would prevent you from learning other things
Marcellus had to offer, which anyone would have to concede were considerable.
Therefore, Dan, your student, having been forewarned about Marcellus's
opinions on the matter, was a fool to have done what he did. Why even attend
the masterclasses if one's intention is not to learn, but to challenge the

One would no more expect Mr. Marcellus to accept musical ideas antithetical
to all of his principles than one would expect the Republican Party to
embrace liberalism just because the lost an election. Whether his principles
are ones you agree with is not the point. His views were well known to anyone
mildly interested. If you wanted to study with him, you knew in advance what
to expect.

I take issue when you state that his students blindly accepted all his views
on this sort of thing (there were some who did, there always are). Everyone I
knew in the studio admired Mr. Pay's recording of the Mozart and enjoyed it.
One colleague of mine, who is now principal of a major symphony, even played
some similar ornaments on a recital performance of the Concerto (Marcellus
rarely attended recitals). Inexplicably, he played the tape for Mr.
Marcellus, ouch. . .glad I wasn't there for that!

The man was a product of a different era of music making. Szell was an
autocrat with definate ideas about how music should go, and was very
persuasive with his interpretations around the world, particularly with
respect to Mozart. Szell's performances may not conform to today's so-called
'scholarly' performances, but that does not make them less great or moving.
Marcellus was 25 when he started in Cleveland, and Szell had been a god to
him long before that. One would not expect him to respond graciously to those
who would challenge Szell's ideals.

-David Hattner, NYC

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