Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgThe Clarinet BBoardThe C4 standard

 
  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-07-30 15:45

Hi Everyone -

I've been away from clarinet playing for 27 years (I took a side trip into early music, playing Baroque recorder, which then led me into early keyboard playing [harpsichord and clavichord]), and I am only now getting back to my clarinet.

When I was in high school, my clarinet instructor suggested I work on the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and to give me an example of performing it, she played a recording of Robert Marcellus playing it with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. He became the standard I tried to reach for.

I was wondering if anyone could tell me what happened to him. I couldn't find any other recordings by him. Is he still alive? I have no idea how old he was when he recorded the Mozart.

Thanks much!

Kathy


Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: steve 
Date:   1999-07-30 16:24

Mr Marcellus was forced to retire from the cleveland orch in, I believe 1975 or so, due to diabetic retinopathy. Playing the clarinet was adversely affecting the disease. He went to Northwestern University, and trained many top of the line clarinettists, who now play all over the country. He also conducted the university orchestra and was instrumental in bringing the NU music school to the top ranks of the world. Eventually, diabetes claimed his sight, but he continued to teach until shortly before his death several years ago.

The music critic for the cleveland plain dealer once described his tone as a "dark, warm globe of oil with a candle in the middle..."...imho, he was the best...

I don't know how old he was when he recorded the mozart, but he was a respected professional clarinettist with the National Symphony in DC as a teenager...

s.

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-07-30 17:09

Hi Steve -

Thanks for the information. What a shame about Robert Marcellus, but just think about it: now he's probably playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto under Mozart's direction! At least, I hope that's what happens when we finally sign off from this life - I hope so, anyway, because I'm counting on meeting all my favorite composers!!!

Kathy

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-07-30 17:13

Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
What a shame about Robert Marcellus, but just think about it: now he's probably playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto under Mozart's direction!
------------
From the anecdotes I've read:
he's probably telling Mozart how it _should_ be played :^)


Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-07-30 17:16

Hi Mark -

Tell me the anecdotes! I love that kind of stuff!

Kathy

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-07-30 17:24

I heard Mr. Marcellus' recording of Mozart's Concerto. Absolutely wonderful. I believe that both Mozart and Marcellus were at the top of their form when it was composed and then when it was played for the recording. A "must have" for any serious student of the classic clarinet.

I seriously need to try to find this recording, hopefully available via CD, of course. In a pinch, my very good early 1980's era LP record player is still available, somewhere in the attic.

Does anyone have the details of the recording, like publisher, distribution company, etc? It would make it a little easier for me to find it in local stores.


Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-07-30 18:18

Last i heard, the recording was discontinued back when my teacher gave it to me about 6 years ago. And i've never seen it since myself. Maybe they've re-reissued it.

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-07-30 18:24

Hi Paul -

Last week I bought a CD with that recording on it - and I just happen to have it with me here at work, as I write!

It's on the Sony Essential Classics label, # SBD62424. The
CD also has both of Mozart's flute concertos performed by Eugenia Zuckerman with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Pinchas Zuckerman (a little nepotism there!). The Clarinet COncerto, of course, is the Robert Marcellus/George Szell/Cleveland ORchestra one from 1967.

I bought mine at Borders Books and Music.

Kathy

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-07-30 18:28

Hi Paul -

Oops! The number for that recording is SBK 62424, not SBD.
(Slip of the fingers. Old age setting in, I guess!)

Kathy

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-07-30 18:32

Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
Hi Mark -

Tell me the anecdotes! I love that kind of stuff!
---
Search the Klarinet Archives for a few. Some were sent to me personally and I can't share those (they were sent to me by a couple of his students and a couple of teachers who worked alongside him at different times).

Greg - anything you can share with us?


Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   1999-07-30 21:57

Mark Charette wrote:
-------------------------------
Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
Hi Mark -

Tell me the anecdotes! I love that kind of stuff!
---
Search the Klarinet Archives for a few. Some were sent to me personally and I can't share those (they were sent to me by a couple of his students and a couple of teachers who worked alongside him at different times).

Greg - anything you can share with us?


Kathy -

Marcellus was strongly influenced by George Szell's overwhelming musical personality and by his early training. He reached the pinnacle of his profession and would permit no contradiction of what he said, particularly if it went against something Szell had said. According to a series of postings on the Klarinet board, he was viciously contemptuous of even slight ornamentation in Mozart and would leave a student who tried it in tears.

You went to him for his marvelous playing and for the very important things he could teach, but you dared not contradict him, or even hint at alternatives to what he said.

Players at that level know so much, and hear so accurately, that they know exactly what to say to a student. The down side is that the necessary big personality can push aside everyone else in the room. When you're the 3,000 pound gorilla, you start to expect the lower forms of life to stay out of your way and crush them if they don't.

Such is life.

Ken Shaw

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-07-30 21:58



Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
It's on the Sony Essential Classics label, # SBD62424. The
CD also has both of Mozart's flute concertos performed by Eugenia Zuckerman with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Pinchas Zuckerman (a little nepotism there!). The Clarinet COncerto, of course, is the Robert Marcellus/George Szell/Cleveland ORchestra one from 1967.



Ah. Then it was re-reissued. The reissue was from the Great Performances series by Columbia (later bought by Sony).

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Greg 
Date:   1999-07-31 05:01



Ken Shaw wrote:
-------------------------------
Mark Charette wrote:
-------------------------------
Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
Hi Mark -

Tell me the anecdotes! I love that kind of stuff!
---
Search the Klarinet Archives for a few. Some were sent to me personally and I can't share those (they were sent to me by a couple of his students and a couple of teachers who worked alongside him at different times).

Greg - anything you can share with us?


Kathy -

Marcellus was strongly influenced by George Szell's overwhelming musical personality and by his early training. He reached the pinnacle of his profession and would permit no contradiction of what he said, particularly if it went against something Szell had said. According to a series of postings on the Klarinet board, he was viciously contemptuous of even slight ornamentation in Mozart and would leave a student who tried it in tears.

You went to him for his marvelous playing and for the very important things he could teach, but you dared not contradict him, or even hint at alternatives to what he said.

Players at that level know so much, and hear so accurately, that they know exactly what to say to a student. The down side is that the necessary big personality can push aside everyone else in the room. When you're the 3,000 pound gorilla, you start to expect the lower forms of life to stay out of your way and crush them if they don't.

Such is life.

Ken Shaw
------------------------------------------------------------
I would have to partly disagree with some of Ken's assessment of a truly complex personality such as that of Robert Marcellus. True, Marcellus said once that Szell was a terrifying authoritarian of the old school but that musicians also knew Szell was a supreme artist of terrific ability. I never viewed Marcellus as having taken on those terrifying qualities. Somewhat authoritarian ones, well maybe yes, especially if you didn't catch on how to work with the man.

The one thing that I have never understood about those that have complained about his resistance to contradiction is: what on earth were you doing there in the first place, to learn or to instruct Robert Marcellus? When I asked him once about onamentation in Mozart or why he thought the Mozart Concerto sounded best on clarinet as opposed to basset clarinet, I wasn't foolish enough to argue with the man after hearing his thoughtful answer. I just assumed that from his personal time and space, this was simply his point of view, not an answer from God. He was always firm and disagreed when he thought so, but as a whole was not essentially disagreeable. One can be one without being the other. Besides, that's not what I was there for. I just figured that I'd ask Tony Pay or Colin Lawson some time about ornamentation instead. Or Mitchell Lurie about tongue position or Clark Brody about legato, about Fritz Reiner, whatever! Gather what you came for (if you had any idea what it was) and move on!

As far as complaints about his down side....about reducing people to tears....I saw him in many situations over a 20 year period and can honestly say that I never witnessed this happening...in his famous summer masterclasses, in lessons, rehearsals. But we all knew he was frustrated in the extreme when he had put down the clarinet in 1973 at age 46 when at the pinnacle of his career - and when newly appointed music director Lorin Maazel in 1972 started to ruin everything that Szell had built in over 20 years - and that he was loosing his sight and would be blind in about 10 years - and would probably die early because of Diabetes - and was in constant pain - and on and on.

This is not to justify anyones behavior out of frustration but in the face of the supreme artistry that was taken from him and all of the health problems (during and after his tenure with Cleveland), it seems to me a colossal wonder that he was able to apply himself at all let alone become a greater, more dedicated teacher than ever, a masterful conductor, etc, etc. I would think one would be awe - struck in the face of such a human being - not argumentative.

The people that have spoken badly of him in a mean spirited way I have concluded were simply jealous that they never had his attention or commitment...hence it must have been THEIR problem.
One went to Marcellus to learn what he had to say, not to argue with him. Those of us that had some moments with him that were less than pleasant always refer back to those moments in a manner befitting that of a supremely talented and truly complex man...never couched in mean spirited terms....but in an ironic, witty, awe inspiring, and yes -even irreverant way. Just read the tributes in the Clarinet magazine shortly after his death from those that knew him best. All reflect rememberances in this fashion.

I believe that there will be a renaissance, a new appriciation by a new generation of young clarinetists for his work as player, teacher and conductor (already facilitated by the new Sony essential classics CDs with Szell or Lane conducting and 2 large CD sets issued by the Cleveland Orchestra with live recordings).

Robert Marcellus was known as the clarinetist's clarinetist. I hope others will contibute rememberances fairly to this bulletin board...ones not based in hearsay but in personal experience with such a wonderful artist and charismatic man.

Gregory Smith
Clarinetist
Chicago Symphony Orchestra






Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-07-31 14:56

Greg wrote:
-------------------------------
Thank you, Greg.

Unfortunately almost all of us have never met Marcellus and never will. We can only go by what we hear from anecdotes, sometimes 2nd or 3rd hand. It's always interesting to hear the 2 sides; those that benefitted from being with the great man, others who saw a different side. If Marcellus was anything like some of the finest teachers I ever had - I can believe both sides.

On a related note, most of you who've been on the BBoard know that my son's going to be studying with Franklin Cohen this fall at Cleveland Inst. of Music. The stories & letters I received about him were similar - some people highly enjoyed him as a teacher, some think he's an unmitigated tyrant. My son didn't care _what_ people said - he's going there to learn all he can.

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Greg 
Date:   1999-07-31 18:25



Mark Charette wrote:
-------------------------------
Greg wrote:
-------------------------------
Thank you, Greg.

Unfortunately almost all of us have never met Marcellus and never will. We can only go by what we hear from anecdotes, sometimes 2nd or 3rd hand. It's always interesting to hear the 2 sides; those that benefitted from being with the great man, others who saw a different side. If Marcellus was anything like some of the finest teachers I ever had - I can believe both sides.

On a related note, most of you who've been on the BBoard know that my son's going to be studying with Franklin Cohen this fall at Cleveland Inst. of Music. The stories & letters I received about him were similar - some people highly enjoyed him as a teacher, some think he's an unmitigated tyrant. My son didn't care _what_ people said - he's going there to learn all he can.

-------------------------------------------------------

That IS the entire point....thanks Mark!

Greg

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Tim2 
Date:   1999-08-01 00:50

It is a wonderful legacy that Marcellus has left us. With so many things that would cave a person in to only think of themselves, he kept giving us music. I have the Mozart Concerto recording on cassette. I first heard it in high school 30 years ago. Inspiring then as well as now. The control he displays is amazing. He was my idle then and is one of them yet.

Thank you for all the posts. It's wonderful hearing about Marcellus.

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: www.mytempo.com 
Date:   1999-08-02 00:40

Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
What a shame about Robert Marcellus, but just think about it: now he's probably playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto under Mozart's direction!

---------------
Unless your favorite composers were worms, it probably won't happen....

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-08-02 12:55

Well, if that's what you want to believe, that's your right. I prefer to think that all that talent wasn't in vain and that things DO go on after this life - that people like Mozart and Marcellus weren't meant to end up rotting in the ground - that there is more to this life than what we have right here and now.

www.mytempo.com wrote:
-------------------------------
Kathy Handyside wrote:
-------------------------------
What a shame about Robert Marcellus, but just think about it: now he's probably playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto under Mozart's direction!

---------------
Unless your favorite composers were worms, it probably won't happen....

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   1999-08-02 18:23

Greg wrote:
-------------------------------
Ken Shaw wrote:
-------------------------------
According to a series of postings on the Klarinet board, he was viciously contemptuous of even slight ornamentation in Mozart and would leave a student who tried it in tears.
------------------------------------------------------------
I would have to partly disagree with some of Ken's assessment of a truly complex personality such as that of Robert Marcellus.


Greg -

I was summarizing what was said on the Klarinet board, not giving my own opinion. The thread on Marcellus has many stories from well known teachers who felt it necessary to warn their students headed for his master class not to deviate even slightly from his recording of the Mozart concerto, at the risk of being steamrollered.

This is nothing against Marcellus the player, or Marcellus the teacher. I heard him live with the Cleveland Orchestra many times, and I never heard anyone better. Everyone I have spoken to who studied with him had nothing but the highest praise for his teaching.

I attended Marcellus master classes, and I never say anyone in tears, but it was always clear that Marcellus was there to do what he came to do, and not what a student asked for. This was partly due to his incredible talent and depth of experience, which let him got to the essential point even if the student didn't realize it.

For someone that good, you take the riches that are offered and don't complain that other things are not there. I'm in the process of collecting every record available with RM on it. He was never less than excellent, and mostly he was head and shoulders above the rest. That's more than more than enough.

Ken Shaw

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: www.mytempo.com 
Date:   1999-08-03 01:26

No death, afterlife fantasys here.... Both led a very, very productive life, and will live on in the hearts of musicians, and students of music. Mozart is/was very immortal in that way. Same for the teachings of Marcellus.
Now, wouldn't it be a bummer if you got to that "place in the sky", and found the conductor to be Fritz Reiner? (who was said to curdle the milk of human kindness;)

David Blumberg

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Greg 
Date:   1999-08-03 04:03



Ken Shaw wrote:
-------------------------------
Greg wrote:
-------------------------------
Ken Shaw wrote:
-------------------------------
According to a series of postings on the Klarinet board, he was viciously contemptuous of even slight ornamentation in Mozart and would leave a student who tried it in tears.
------------------------------------------------------------
I would have to partly disagree with some of Ken's assessment of a truly complex personality such as that of Robert Marcellus.


Greg -

I was summarizing what was said on the Klarinet board, not giving my own opinion. The thread on Marcellus has many stories from well known teachers who felt it necessary to warn their students headed for his master class not to deviate even slightly from his recording of the Mozart concerto, at the risk of being steamrollered.

This is nothing against Marcellus the player, or Marcellus the teacher. I heard him live with the Cleveland Orchestra many times, and I never heard anyone better. Everyone I have spoken to who studied with him had nothing but the highest praise for his teaching.

I attended Marcellus master classes, and I never say anyone in tears, but it was always clear that Marcellus was there to do what he came to do, and not what a student asked for. This was partly due to his incredible talent and depth of experience, which let him got to the essential point even if the student didn't realize it.

For someone that good, you take the riches that are offered and don't complain that other things are not there. I'm in the process of collecting every record available with RM on it. He was never less than excellent, and mostly he was head and shoulders above the rest. That's more than more than enough.

Ken Shaw

_________________________________________________________

Many thanks Ken for your clarifiying comments. I found myself rhapsodizing late into the night when I wrote my post and meant it in no way a sharp criticism of yours.
My main thrust was that many that have criticised to the point of exaggeration or by way of 2nd or 3rd hand stories are done out of jealousy or self - aggrandisement. Obviously that was not your intention. He is not beyond criticism of course...but perhaps we recognise that he was an artist to be treasured above all. Sorry about the British spellings using the letter "s" instead of "z" - just a personal preference.

Greg Smith

Reply To Message
 
 RE: Robert Marcellus
Author: Kathy Handyside 
Date:   1999-08-03 12:16

Hi David -

Gotta agree with you on that one!

Kathy

Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 


 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Password:
 Remember my login:
   
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
is sponsored by:

For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

Reeds
Great reeds available from around the world

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Events
Major events especially for clarinetists

Service
Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

Instruments
Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Accessories
Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

Miscellaneous
Services and products too varied to categorize! Repair, recording, news

 
     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact charette@woodwind.org