Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Pip Eastop Hornplayer Photographer Trumpetplayer

My horn broke

I went with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, to Budapest to play a New Year’s Day concert of Haydn’s Creation. 

My horn went ahead of me in the orchestra’s truck, in a nice big padded crate, along with the basses, timps etc. When I got my horn out for the rehearsal – this was New Year’s Eve – I found that the linkage to the 2nd valve had broken. 

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It was pretty obvious to me that it couldn’t be fixed and that I had to decide whether to try to find a horn to borrow or play the Creation using handstopping. I went for the handstopping option. I really hate playing other people’s horns. 

In the end it went pretty well, I think, although it was quite nerve-wracking. For E horn and A horn I had to remember to turn the 2nd valve around, by hand, to the correct setting. I had to leave the 2nd valve cap off and use the notches on the top of the valve spindle to line it up. Then, crucially, I had to remember to rotate the valve back for A horn, F horn, Eb horn, D horn (third f-side valve), C horn and Bb basso horn. 

Also, it felt quite weird playing an eight-valved modern instrument using classical handstopping technique. Something like rowing a speedboat…

2 Responses

  1. Some years ago I was playing 3rd in Till Eulenspiegel. I’d just negotiated the solos at the return of the opening when the string on my 2nd valve broke. Once I’d realised what had happened I decided that the only option was to continue using handstopping. The 2nd valve had stayed down so basically I had an E horn. It was an interesting challenge, especially the passage starting at bar 558. I now play on an instrument which doesn’t have string valves.

    Dec 13, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    • I don’t think I’d be able to do that without a lot of preparation!

      Dec 17, 2009 at 1:48 am

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