36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 078: Three days, three world-class horn players


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 78 — Three days, three world-class horn players
19-October-1971 (Tues.)


As I write this, I realize that my days here are awfully long—mainly because I’m tired. I wake up around 6:30-7:00 and usually sleep around 11:00–11:30 [pm].

Another encouraging day. (1) My practicing went so-so, a little better. (2) I talked with Prof. Kaufmann about
electronic music study and he said I could try it; but it would mean a lot of work—about 4 classes (some long) and aprox. 6 hrs. lab work. But, I’m going to try it. I feel like this can be a great opportunity and I’m all excited about it. Prof. Kaufmann seems extremely nice. I’ll also take solfeggio, piano, German, choir, and horn. I think I’ll drop Musik Theorie.

To add some more good news. I heard the BBC orchestra under Pierre Boulez and met the solo hornist—
the Alan Civil. They played Mahler’s 9th (which was typical Mahler—heavy, long, hard to listen to, but with a beautiful, slow finale), which also had a hell of a lot of horn parts. The horn section (and especially Civil) were really good. The rest of the orchestra was pretty good (Chicago–better.). I enjoyed it.

When we met Alan (notice the familiarity), it was really good. He’s very friendly—I think all horn player’s are. He asked us what were were doing, etc. We had a small talk. I asked him if he knew Mr. Hovey, and he did in fact. He said they had lunch last month in London. I’ll have to write to him. Then, I shook his hand and rubbed it over my lips—magic.

I hope I’ll meet him again after one of the other concerts.


Practicing. Hey, I’m complaining less. I think that I may be improving. As always, it takes time for change to take place and working at it will generally lead to improvement. Certainly, my playing will go up and down, probably forever.

Electronic music study. This is a new development. I get in touch with Professor Dieter Kaufmann. (I break my blog rule, and will use his last name, since he is a practicing and well-known Austrian composer of contemporary music.) We discuss the possibility of my studying electronic music. I have a strong interest in contemporary music and would like to do it. This would be my first formal study of musical composition (outside of that one class).

I plan to change my school schedule and drop, dare I say it, Music Theory.

Three days—three world-class horn players. Today, I go to a concert of Mahler’s 9th Symphony [Symphony No. 9]. It's legendary conductor Pierre Boulez and the BBC orchestra, both amazing. I absolutely love Mahler, so ignore my comment on hard-to-listen-to—remember, I’m tired. The incredible thing is that we meet Alan Civil (1929–1989), the English principal horn player for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, and the BBC orchestra. He was a world-class French horn player with recordings of the Mozart horn concertos and other pieces. In the Royal Philharmonic, he started as second horn to another legendary horn player, Dennis Brain. I used to own LPs (33s) of all of the major horn players during my school days. They have since vanished. It's a shame.

After shaking hands with Civil, I say in the journal that I rub my hands over my lips to capture that magic. [Looking back, I think this is my humor. Looking to have some talent "rub off" on me—ha, ha. ] Happy He was friendly as were all the other horn players.

[I think that my Academy school friends were the leaders of the "let’s-go-backstage-to-meet-the-artists" actions at these concerts. I have never been able to do that in the U.S., except at very small, local concerts. It’s a shame, because if young students could meet their heroes, like I did in Vienna, it would be a happy thing.]

The remarkable thing—over
the last three consecutive days, I meet three world-class French horn players. Hermann Baumann, Barry Tuckwell, and Alan Civil. That is almost unreal. Only in Vienna, the city of music.

I’m in heaven.

2007—Walter visits Vienna. In 2007, my stepson Walter just returned from a trip to Ukraine. He flew Austrian Airlines with a free stopover in Vienna, until his connecting flight the next day. Before he left on his trip, he said to me, “I’m going to visit your apartment in Vienna, take a picture, and you can post it as a 36-years-later picture.” How nice. I told him, instead, to go to the “center of Vienna” and just walk around, see the Hofburg complex and that area.

Well, Walter got to Vienna late. By the time he took the subway to “Mitte Vienna” it was already dark. While he did get to see a church and walk around a bit, he missed the Hofburg. I suspect that there would have been a better subway stop for the Hofburg complex. He stayed a couple of hours and caught the last subway back to the hotel. Thanks, for trying Walter. One day, I hope to take the entire family to see Vienna other parts of Europe. It would be nice if the dollar was stronger.

Marketing to Vienna. I need to find a way to market this blog to Vienna, so that I can get some local answers and responses to my comments on Vienna. A podcast may not be out of the question either. We'll see what happens. Take care.


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