Through the Door: David Krehbiel
The passion and desire to become a musician at an early age burned through the heart and mind of this author. Starting with the trumpet as a beginning and learning to read music was not the first steppingstone in his career as a musician of renowned proportion. The trumpet was his first instrument, but the French Horn became his passion, and he was one of the best orchestral horn players allowing readers to take the journey with him from the beginning as we experience the clinics, listen to those who instructed him and when and how he became the principal horn player in the San Francisco Symphony. The story begins in 1936 when the author was born. His first encounter with music was learning the trumpet which dramatically changes when in the 8th grade he meets James Winter who would become his teacher. It is at this point that he became enthralled with the sound of the French Horn. Beginning with playing with the Fresno State orchestra and then focusing at first on the trumpet before working and studying with Jim Winter where his passion for the horn soared. Then while at Fresno State a new symphony was created, and his teacher requested that he play first horn. Imagine playing Pavane by Ravel. Mistakes were made but in the end he was given the role as assistant to the conductor.
He loved the sound of the horn and could not get enough of the magically quality it provided just listening to it.IT gets better as he was chosen to be the first horn in this new symphony orchestra. The first time he played Pavane by Ravel and passing out afterwards shows that the was passionate yet afraid of failing and fear can hamper you. Changes are paramount in his life and career as his teacher, Jim Winter wanted him to go to Northwestern and transfer there to study with Philip Farkas, the principal horn who played with the Chicago Symphony. Fritz Reiner was a huge influence in his life. When things were difficult for this man he would take not conduct. He would as the author relates stand here and suddenly the members of the orchestra would have no choice but to listen to each other. When you watch a performance today you see conductors conduct in a much different fashion. He states that musicians at his level and expertise needed to play chamber music.
Our author learned how to lead by example hoping that others will follow his lead. The lead Principal Trumpet was Bud Herseth who sat three feet from his bell which was something the author never forgot. Next her meet Fiedler who came to conduct Oberon starting with a solo by the horn. Imagine hearing it performed Life and Farkas let the 22-year-old author play it. His first time in the limelight. But, what happened next and the one notes he will never forget was C # and the rest you need to read and learn for yourself.
We learn more about his experiences in Chicago playing with guest conductors like Stokowski, Szell and others. Playing at his level or that level was not that difficult and the support and confidence he received made it all come together. He was not nervous and at this point spending time as the assist to Farkas, he continued to play that role for 3 more years.
In 1962 the author was appointed as co-principal with Brough which turned out great. The manager of the orchestra told him that Reiner was happy with the situation. Hindemith conducted one of the author’s final concerts with the Chicago Symphony. He even got to speak with his before his death. He had signed a contract send him to Detroit but everything was not what it seemed. Next stop was the San Francisco Symphony where he split with first horn book with Herman Dorfmann. One of his great fears was going asked to play something that he had not looked at and sight reading something in a strange key. Being a music major in college I can identify with that. Bob Ward was in the orchestra and could read anything. He was the perfect match for him.
He heard Ozawa conduct Hayden Symphony # 52 and then he recalls one of his scariest moment as a horn player in a percussion section. He was not scheduled for this performance to play the horn he had to play the bells. He learned many lessons that day and now had profound respect for the percussion guys.
When it is time to conclude a career, the author completed his with Michael Tilson Thomas and she explains it: “ Like riding into the sunset to the glassing accompaniment of an emotional Mahler symphony. MY last two year in the orchestra were a heady time. Chapter 40 expands on these last two years. Music, mainly the horn, has been his life and substance, his venue and self-discovery and learning. Summarizing the past and including his teaching career, an earthquake that interrupted the World Series game between the Giants and the A’s. He replays for us many memories and then in 1998 he retired after 25 years as principal horn with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He and his wife moved back to Reedley, to be with this friends and family. But the picture on page 215 says it all. “ It is my sincere hope that the doors will remain open to each of you who open yourselves to all the possibilities in the universe.” The author includes an appendix of terms and other interesting material for those interested in learning more about the horn.
From 1957-1998 read each section and learn about his career using the timelines and then as you enter each period image as the author must that you too are walking THROUGH THE DOOR to your new adventures and life.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews