Andrew McGregor, speaking on BBC Radio 3’s “CD Review” said:
“A new recording of Mozart’s horn concertos arrived this week and while we’re hardly short of library contenders I think there’s something a little special about this newcomer. It’s from Pip Eastop on the natural horn – the valveless length of tube with a mouthpiece at one end, the player’s hand inserted at the other, between them manipulating the instrument’s natural harmonics to get all the chromatic notes. Eastop calls playing the handhorn, “wrestling with nature”, observing that while the modern valve horn will cruise comfortably through the music the handhorn simply won’t cooperate with at least half the notes Mozart threw at it, and it’s that struggle to find them that results in the colour, drama and changes of timbre that Mozart expected.”
[then he played the whole of the Rondo from K495]
“Eastop tells us that before the horn sprouted valves its character was altogether rougher, wilder, more unpredictable, playful and idiosyncratic – more Robin Hood, he thinks, than James Bond – and he certainly captures that swashbuckling sense of adventure rather than the suave sophistication of the modern instrument.
Exciting performances, the hand-stopping negotiated with fabulous facility.
Peter Hanson leads the orchestra and it’s his period-instrument string quartet, The Eroica Quartet, that joins Eastop for a spirited and colourful performance of Mozart’s Horn Quintet. That’s well worth hearing in its own right so I might try and make sure you get the chance in the next few weeks …but it’s a major bonus after the four concertos – and they’re new from Hyperion.”
To find out more please visit Hyperion Records
Well, as I mentioned before this was simply one of the best gigs of all time!
It was the first EVER concert performance of the original film score of Singin’ in the Rain. The score was reconstructed by the brilliant John Wilson and conducted by the brilliant John Wilson. In one part it was also conducted by the brilliant Josh Prince, shown here in these three photos.
Congratulations to John Wilson for bringing this amazing music back to life! But how could it have got lost in the first place? Did people not realise at the time what absolutely fantastic music they had created? The score is clearly a work of absolute genius. I urge you to listen to it if you don’t already know it. Currently you can get a DVD of the film on Amazon for peanuts. It’s a great, great classic, believe me.
It wasn’t just the amazing music which made it such a great gig for me. I just love working for John Wilson as he makes everything fun, and he never takes himself too seriously. Somehow he makes everything sound superlatively good. He just KNOWS how to do it. He gets just the right syrupy sound from the violins, and he brings along his own rhythm section and lead trumpet player wherever he goes. Most notably the addition of Matt Skelton, drums, and Mike Lovatt, lead trumpet, to an orchestra instantly galvanises players used to Brahms and Mahler into a compelling, swinging ensemble. It’s quite fantastic. I feel so fortunate to have been involved in this unforgettable performance.
There’s a nice review in the Independent, by Edward Seckerson here:
To cap it all, this was the first time I played my new old horn, the Carl Geyer double horn made in Chicago in the summer of 1961. Having picked it up just the day before from the workshop of Gale Lawson, who had rejuvenated it, it felt so good to play that I decided to use it straight away. I took it with me to the Festival Hall to try it out there in the morning rehearsal and it convinced me I should use it for the show.
Having been taken completely apart and put back together again, it feels like a brand new horn and perhaps will benefit from a long period of “blowing-in”, but I love it. It’s very straightforward – no water keys, no detachable bell, no stopping valve. Just a basic, classic, uncomplicated double-horn. Lovely!
Some technical stuff about the photos:
I used a little Canon S90 and shot the photos in RAW, i.e. uncompressed. ISO was 640 and the shutter speeds were 1/100th second. Handheld, no problem – not too much coffee so no obvious camera shake.
I underexposed these by approximately 1.5 stops to avoid the stage lights burning out the highlights and to get a nice black i the background. Light balance was set to auto, which is excellent on Canon cameras.
Post-processing was done in Adobe Lightroom where I cropped a little, adjusted some of the luminance and saturation, particularly of the blues and was able to reduce the noise by a huge amount – one of the great features of Lightroom 3.
I added a little sharpening and took some bits of detail out of the black background (I even removed a music stand from one photo!).
Finally, I made the little row of house lights at the back of the hall glow and stand out a bit more.
I like the results – and I think the original sized versions (not the much reduced versions shown here) would make nice large, sharp prints…
Nov 11, 2010 | Categories: hornplaying, photos | Tags: Canon, Carl Geyer, Edward Seckerson, John Wilson, Josh Prince, Matt Skelton, Mike Lovatt, Philharmonia Orchestra, RAW, review, Royal Festival Hall, Singin' In The Rain, The Independent | 1 Comment »
The L.P.O. horns got a nice mention in a review in The Independent. Read it?
And there’s another nice one here, where I am described as “player unidentified”.
I was guest principal horn – we played Stravinsky’s Fairy’s Kiss, and Tchaikowsky’s First Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall.