IDRS Podcast with Anne Gilby

Terry B. Ewell, Interviewer

2018 Aug. 29. Granada, Spain

Discussion of Lťon Goosens


Terry B. Ewell: Lťon Goosens is famous for introducing vibrato to the United Kingdom.

Anne Gilby: Thatís right, in fact one of the people who I had contact with in Australia was the famous oboist JiřŪ Tancibudek, for whom the Martinů Concerto was written. He was in Adelaide for many years. I was in touch with him and he told me the story about Goosens coming through Prague. He, himself, was a student at the Prague Conservatory of Music and he heard Goosens playing with vibrato. In Czechoslovakia at the time they didnít play with vibrato. JiřŪ was totally taken with it and so on his final recital he played with vibrato and the report came out: ďVery good playing, but used vibrato.Ē

TBE: Did Goosens tell you of any of the stories of the resistance he met in the United Kingdom with being one of the first ones to use vibrato?

AG: No, he didnít. But I image that he would have met with some. But he was just such a wonderful player that people couldnít dispute his use of vibrato. You listen to his recordings now and you just marvel at what a human way he used vibrato] It wasnít a mechanical use. When you listen to people play there is always a sub current of what you can term vibrato. Now we can think of vibrato is being a very mannered thing that you practice and so on. And sometimes we lose the plot a little bit about what vibrato actually is. It is a decorative device, which is a human thing that we convey through the medium of the sound. When you listen to his recordings you hear him doing that. I am sure that is why he won people over.

TBE: Absolutely. You probably came with vibrato to Goosens already. You were already using that. Did he have any special advice on how to apply vibrato or did it organically happen throughout your studies with him?

AG: Goosens didnít give much technical advice at all. He was much more interested in broadening peopleís experience in different styles of music, what was possible. We had two types of lessons; I used to see him twice a week. He wanted to go to Malta for the winter, so my lessons needed to be crammed in. He used to give me eight pieces per lesson. Then the next lesson we would play them through.

TBE: By pieces, did you mean the pieces were studies? These werenít the Barret?

AG: No, they were pieces of music. That was how my lessons were. I donít know how he approached anybody else in particular. But, if I wanted a piece of advice then I would ask him. He would then say something. But his main aim was just to go through the repertoire. He would play the piano and I would have to semi-sight read my way through the repertoire.

TBE: So, he actually gave you the pieces at the lessons.

AG: Yes, I would have half a week to get through and then I would bring them to the next lesson. Then he would present me with my next eight.

TBE: He gave you the music and then you would return the music to him.

AG: Thatís right.

TBE: How interesting. Do you remember, off hand, what were the pieces?

AG: A lot of commissionings: Arnold Cook

TBE: The Handel sonatas were part of thatÖ

AG: Yes, it was often music that was specially written for him. So, what I particularly got out of him was the wealth of his experiences as a musician over the years. He would talk to me about how things got composed and his experiences. He would talk to me about them. I never had the chance to meet Lady Barbirolli, for example. But I feel that I know her because her would talk about her. And those sorts of things, yes. So, it was a fascinating time. I guess I canít say that he built my technique or anything like that, but he gave me a solid grounding in what it meant to play oboe.

TBE: So, the musical understanding and way in which he approached music, and understanding the composerís mind was really part of your training with Goosens.

AG: Thatís right.


Copyright © 2018 by Terry B. Ewell. All rights reserved.