Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Posts tagged “Mike Lovatt

John Wilson and Josh Prince – Singin’ in the Rain

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…

The BBC Big Band

Extraordinary lead trumpet player, Mike Lovatt (third from the left), invited me to bring my son, Zak, along to a recording session of the BBC Big Band.

That’s Zak (he plays trumpet), behind the extraordinarily stellar trumpet section.

The stars are (from left to right):

Brian Rankin, Derek Taylor, Mike Lovatt and Martin Shaw (my jazz trumpet teacher!) .

Meanwhile, over on the left side of the room there are more superstars:

Trombones, from left to right: Liam Kirkman, Gordon Campbell, Andy Wood

Conductor (and superstar jazz trombonist): Mark Nightingale

Drums: Tom Gordon

Piano: Gwylm Simcock

Needless to say, this band sounded ridiculously good!

They say the recording will go out on BBC radio 2 on a Monday evening, sometime soon, at 9:00.

Singin’ In The Rain

It is my extreme good fortune to find myself playing principal horn with the Philharmonia Orchestra for what must be one of the best gigs of all time.

John Wilson (in the photo he’s the conductor on the left – the one on the right is a singer, not a conductor) has reconstructed the entire score of “Singin’ In The Rain”, a film which has been one of my favourites for a very long time.  I never dreamed I would one day play all the wonderful music from it. The horn parts are a joy to play – just perfect writing – and the whole orchestra sounds incredible. Not only that, but John Wilson is a delight to work with. How many conductors can one say that about?

The biggest highlight, however, has got to be Mike Lovatt’s sensational trumpet playing.

The performance is on Sunday 7th November at 3:00pm in the Royal Festival Hall. I can’t wait!