Marcel Moyse: Voice of the Flute by Ann McCutchan (with discography by Susan Nelson and William Shaman)
Hardcover edition; 344 pages; pub. 1994
Drawing on five years of research and well over 100 interviews with students, colleagues and family members of flutist Marcel Moyse,author Ann McCutchan distills a truthful, vital portrait of this charismatic, complex and sometimes puzzling man.
Forward by Paula Robison
In the early 1960s a lucky band of American flute players gathered in Brattleboro, Vermont, to study with Marcel Moyse. We were all changed forever. I can only describe the experience as a kind of alchemy: when we walked into Mr. Moyse's studio we were one kind of player, and when we left we were another. We were richer, deeper. We wereshaken, exhilarated, and illuminated. How did he get me to play like that? we asked ourselves. And later, in the waiting stillness of our practice rooms, How can I ever play that way again? In our minds, we tried to recreate his gesturing hands, his sparkling eyes, his voice coaxing and pulling the music out of us. With life! Life! he exclaimed. But what did that mean? Happy? No . . .Tender? Intense? Vivid? Strong? His life was certainly all of those things. Maybe it was all of them together. His eyes! That's it. Think of his eyes. As the rest of his body grew frail, Marcel Moyse's eyes burned brighter and brighter. And sometimes he was impatient. Why? He wanted to give us something. He wanted usto understand what he held out to us: the culture of a proud people, a composer named Claude Debussy who could evoke joy and pain in a single note, another named Gabriel Fauré who had the look in his eyes of a lion longing for his far-off home, and whose music was ecstasy contained in a shapely classical form. But how can I play like that again? How can I find that SOUND again? Think of his voice now, singing gently. . . . Yes . . .Sunlight shining through the trees onto the forest floor . . . the brook . . . the line of the mountain range, each curve connected to the next . . like the musique de Bach. Now, the stamp of a foot, and the strong laugh: Hah!Marcel Moyse's touch turned us into pure gold, sometimes for an instant, for a phrase, sometimes for a whole piece. It then became our task to stretch those moments into a lifetime of artistry. How mysterious the process was! And yet, at the same time, how simple. Marcel Moyse taught us to dream for ourselves. He wanted us, on our own, to become honest interpreters, attentive to both the beauty and the meaning of the music we played, unimpeded by the limits of our instruments. And above all, Marcel Moyse wished for us to be brave enough to reveal, always, what was in our own hearts.
Paula Robison July 1993