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A Great, Great Loss


crazy jane
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've written elsewhere about Larry, but I can say a little here too.

 

His rehearsals were down to the minute.  They started on time, ended on time, they were meticulously planned, no time was wasted.  He didn't talk too much, his instructions were usually short, a word or two, but what I remember most was how he taught us the structure of the repertoire by rehearsing us divided by musical idea, so instead of "strings together" or "brass" or "woodwinds" he would ask to hear "violas, second clarinet, third horn, and timpani."  He would weave the music together like this, putting together the different textures...  He had to have an amazing knowledge of the score in order to do this so effectively.

Most of the remembrances I've read by classmates and others who went to Rice mention, at least in passing, the fear which Larry inspired.  He could be cutting, and he would occasionally do the terrifying thing of asking for difficult passagework stand-by-stand.  But the fear inspired work and dedication and the Shepherd orchestras were often called the best college orchestras in the country.  Classmates of mine are now principals and section players in major orchestras around the world.

I quote him as saying in a rehearsal of the Symphonic Dances that he regarded West Side Story as the greatest American composition of the 20th Century.  I think he was right about that.

Anyway... it is very sad that he's gone, sad to think of the generations who won't get to experience a rehearsal under his baton.

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My daughter *loved* Larry (--despite her other issues with the music department). She was so fortunate to play in a benefit for the Shepherd School given by Renee Fleming.

Wnen they played "The Rite of Spring," Rachleff (who had become weary of bad entrances), instructed the French horn players to bring a lot of $1 bills, which he collected from them after each incorrect entrance.

Fixed that problem.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij224PH8N9I (beautiful)

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