Saturday, June 19, 2010

Susan Slaughter and Julie Landesman were honored last night in a concert by the Monarch Brass Ensemble. Susan is retiring after a 40-year tenure with the St. Louis Symphony, and Julie is retiring from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra after a mere 25 years. Monarch played well, with many service members in the group wearing performance uniforms of their various branches. Imagine Michael Jackson coming back as a suffragette. There were a few nice pieces that I would like to try next time I have a large brass ensemble at my disposal. If I hadn't spilled yogurt on my program, I could tell you what they were.

I went to a fascinating talk by the master brass repairman Don Partch who spoke about common problems with brass instruments. These are issues that may be invisible such as salt or minerals deposits that build up inside the instrument and have the consistency of cement. The player struggles against these unknown conditions until when/if they are corrected.

Julie Landesman, a brilliant goddess, discussed her career and technique beautifully, moving some to tears. I only was able to catch the final Q & A, but her audience was rapt.

I played some very nice piccolo trumpets by Yamaha. There was a P5-4 alike, another version with a crooked bell, and a rotary picc. All come with 4 leadpipes, A and Bb, for both types of mouthpiece shanks. The crooked bell version had a very nice sound, more complex that the P5-4 version.

Oh, and Carole Dawn Reinhart was kind enough to share some video of her past performances. She appeared on the Al Hirt show and played Bugler's Holiday with him! She of course played beautifully, and he wasn't bad either. She also had some performances from Japan, along with an interview and appearance on a Japanese variety show where she played a rubber hose with a funnell for a bell. She was surprisingly nervous watching the video of the 1980 performance!

More concerts tonight. Now I'm headed to a trumpet master class with some Yamaha performing artists.

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