Music: King of the Reeds

"For forty years I have play the oboe." confessed Marcel Tabuteau, "and still I never know what is coming out. It is a perpetual anxiety. But maybe this is good —I have never the time to get myself bored."

Most intractable of all orchestral instruments, the oboe keeps all its players anxious. Their worries are perhaps responsible for the legend that oboists inevitably go crazy. The silvery, reedy beauty of fine oboe tone is won only by the most skillful and unrelenting war against squeaks. In this war no one is more skillful than Marcel...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!