The contribution of Christlieb Products founder, Don Christlieb from 1938 to 1996 is well outlined in his book: Recollections of a First Chair Bassoonist - 52 Years in the Hollywood Studio Orchestras. Don's bassoon, Heckel # 7855 was purchased from his teacher, Frederick Moritz, who brought the instrument to Los Angeles in 1936 at the beginning of his long and illustrious carrier with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.The closely guarded secret of reed making and mystery surrounding the superior performance characteristics of the Heckel bassoon became two of the most dynamic challenges Don Christlieb would meet and overcome in his entire career.

With the publication of Notes on the Bassoon Reed, 1945 and his treatise on Measuring the Conical Bore of the Bassoon - a Clinical Report, 1968, Don Christlieb made good on his " promise to tell the world."

The beneficiaries of the Christlieb treatises were colleagues who incorporated his research with their manufacturing and production skills to produce a world presence in the double reed market: Wendel Jones, Jones Double Reed and Alan Fox, Fox Products Corporation. The research was equally beneficial to scores of music educators whose students would have the tools for more consistently successful reed making and the confidence of performing with American made bassoons.

When Don auditioned for Stokowski prior to the scoring of Fantasia, the conductor was satisfied that he had made the right choice for the bassoon section, but chided Don for preferring film score recording to performing in a symphony orchestra. The more than 750 film scores on which Don played first bassoon included some of the most memorable music composed for the medium by the most talented composer-conductors in the golden age of film: A Star is Born, Gone With the Wind - Max Steiner; Prisoner of Zenda, Wuthering Heights, How Green Was My Valley, Song of Bernadette - Alfred Newman; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Leigh Harline; A Christmas Carol, Rebecca - Franz Waxman; Adventures of Robin Hood - Erich Korngold; The Wizard of Oz - Herbert Stothart; Pinocchio - Leigh Harline and Paul Smith; Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Jane Eyre, North by Northwest - Bernard Herrmann; Laura, Forever Amber, Separate Tables, The Bad and the Beautiful - David Raksin. ( See Appendix 1. Recollections of a First Chair bassoonist - 52 Years in the Hollywood Studio Orchestras for complete Christlieb-composer filmography).

With the formation of his woodwind quintet which became known as The Los Angeles Woodwinds, Don's group attracted the attention of composers of the new music as well as the classical repetoire. With the efforts of Peter Yates and his wife, concert pianist Frances Mullen, the first Evenings on the Roof concert series historically launched chamber music in Los Angeles. ( See Evenings On and Off the Roof - Pioneering Concerts in Los Angeles, 1939-1971, Dorothy Lamb Crawford, 1995; University of California Press).

Don's life-long association with musicologist, Lawrence Morton, Peter Yates's successor and organizer of The Monday Evening Concerts series in Los Angeles, became the catalyst for premiere performances of new works by major composers. It was Morton's concert series that attracted Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, Arnold Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. It was Don's woodwind ensembles that performed new works of Schoenberg, Hindemith, Boulez's Le Marteau sans Maitre, and Stockhausen's Zeitmasse.

Lawrence Morton and his brother, Arthur were both talented arrangers. Arthur's accomplishments in film scoring are legendary ( See McCarty, C. Film Composers in America: A Check List of Their Work. New York: Da Capo Press, 1972) . Lawrence Morton's arrangements for 13 woodwinds are included in the Christlieb Music Catalog. (See Catalog items 26, 30, 31, 32: O Gott Du Frommer Gott, and Herzlich Tut Mich Verlangen,Brahms; Ein Feste Burg and Dies Sind Die Heil'gen Zehn Gebot, J.S. Bach).

The Christlieb Music Catalog is truly a carefully hand picked library of double reed music which includes that portion of the Christlieb musical archive Don knew to be fun for the musicians to play and a joy to for audiences to hear. Oboists need not shy away from the site because most of its emphasis on bassoon cane and tools. Most of the music chosen is composed and arranged for oboe and English horns and the choral preludes use 2 oboes and baritone oboe as well as flutes, clarinets, bassoons and contra bassoons.

Visitors to the Christlieb Products site will find frequent updates and whenever possible we will include some of the rare photo images from Don's archive of the great composers and conductors he performed for and often photographed from the orchestra pit or the studio sound stage.

Pearl Christlieb and I will endeavor to guide the direction of Christlieb Products forward into the twenty-first century with a renewed sense of purpose and a more heightened devotion to customer service to all of you ordering from our catalog and  from our new web site.

Good reed making!

Tony Christlieb

 

 

 

Igor Stravinsky

Don Christlieb

 

Don with Karlheinz Stockhausen

R.Craft with Igor & Pierre Boulez

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