December 15, 2012 8 Comments
One of the many quotes from my recent interview with Danny Rothmuller, retired Associate Principal Cello of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, that didn’t make it into my original posts (Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE) was the following observation:
“French Horn is the only fallible instrument in the orchestra. Any other instrument, if you play a wrong note, it’s your own fault. But if a horn player misses and hits a clam, you can’t always blame them, and you kind of feel for them when it happens.” (Daniel Rothmuller)
So assuming that tolerance for horn miscues (even at the world-class level) is higher than it would be for other instruments, when does it cross the line from misfortune to malpractice? Wherever that line is, an increasing number of people feel that the Chicago Symphony’s Dale Clevenger is getting there — if he hasn’t crossed it already.
Lisa Hirsch’s most recent post on Iron Tongue of Midnight mentions the latest online article chronicling the list of grievences of the CSO’s legendary Principal Horn, and Lisa points out extra-musical issues which complicate the situation.
For my part, I sympathize with those hoping that such a well-regarded musician would step down gracefully and either take an emeritus position or retire outright. At the same time, I’ve actually heard the sub-par playing about which the critics are talking. In my review of the CSO’s appearance at Segerstrom Concert Hall earlier this year, I wrote: