Posted By kerryturner on June 22, 2008
It`s Sunday morning. I rolled out of bed to get a big cup of java and get ready for church, when I noticed something on my lip. Splashing hot water on my face, I came to realize that it was not so much something “on” my lip, but rather something “wrong” with my lip. It appeared to be sticking straight up. And it was stiff as an over-starched shirt. Just behind these nasty feeling and not much better looking lips lurked a few aching teeth. Did I go a few rounds with Mike Tyson last night or what?
Then I remembered. Last night was the “Fete de la Musique” (Festival of Music) in the city of Luxembourg. And my colleagues in the Luxembourg Philharmonic and I had been booked to excitedly interpret (read: blast through) 2 solid hours of soundtracks from Hollywood blockbuster movies. Gast Waltzing was at the helm, and we had been granted three rehearsals for this hyperactive concert which was to be performed outdoors on the Place Guillaume. Each instrument received it`s own microphone in order to further amplify the bombastic spectacle. On the program were some of the most famous horn pieces from the recent movie soundtrack repertoire:
Pirates of the Caribbean
Lord of the Rings
James Bond Medley
Star Wars the Phantom Menace
Raiders of the Lost Ark
(I think there was something else, but I forgot what it was.)
This, you may rightly conclude, is a program which should be executed using an assistant (or a bumper). Indeed, it really requires 6 players, maybe more! But due to a recent upheaval in the horn section, and conflicting schedules, it seemed that I was going to be left to fend for myself. My wife, Kristina, was holding down the 3rd horn desk, so there was some very welcome reinforcements (she`s strong as an ox, that woman!). Steve Boehm and Mark Olsen were wielding their axes on 2nd and 4th horn, and we fearlessly charged into this dramatic evening with horns-a-blazing!
And then, it became increasingly clear that we weren`t going to get an intermission. Now, I was counting on an intermission. We were up 200% in volume by the time Gladiator rolled around. I had it all worked out and had been pacing myself….thinking that I was going to get a 20 minute break. Apparently the rest of the brass began to grasp the situation as well. I listened for my allies from the trumpet section. Yep, they were pulling back. The trombones on the left flank were bringing it down as well. But not the tubist. He seemed to be rushing headlong into sure disaster. What a brave man, thinks I!
And then we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Only four more pieces to go and it would be “Miller Time” (or the Luxembourgish Beer equivalent thereof). When it comes to sheer heroics, I would match the horn parts to John Williams`”E.T.” against any Mahler symphony or Strauss Tone Poem. I simply couldn`t resist the temptation to test just…how…loud…this…horn….could go. And neither could my section. I was fairly lifted out of my chair at the end of the “flying scene”, as these brave lads (and lass) summoned all their strength, experience and talent to fulfill the obligation of horn sections around the world, who for some reason, feel that they are obligated to blow the instrument so loudly that their eyes go blurry and their stomach muscles ache like a Navy Seal`s. But what good fun it was! And how beautifully that first large glass of “Diekirch” beer washed past my horribly abused pair of lips!
You know, this little anecdote may sound a tad over dramatic. But I don`t really care. And horn players know exactly what I`m talking about.