I’m stuck at home with a sinus infection/head cold (and I am too embarrassed to go out smelling of Vick’s Vapo Rub), so I thought I’d pound out the latest blog. Yeth, I will twy not to thype with a stuffed-up nothe accent, but no promithses.
George Vosburgh. Great trumpet player; Chicago Pro Musica won a Grammy for the recording he played on of Stravinsky’s L’ Histoire Du Soldat. When I was in graduate school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, we delighted in giving him an extra-hard time in Orchestral Repertoire class. Now, you understand that we all had (and still have) tremendous respect for Mr. V, but there was always something about him that made you want to back him into a corner and poke him with a stick just to see what he’d do. Fortunately, he had a great sense of humor about this, and even though he acted exasperated, we knew he secretly loved being tortured in this manner. So we just kept doing it. What a vicious cycle, LOL.
Now, George is a guy who, well, doesn’t really know the meaning of the term “gray area.” He’s got some pretty strong convictions and hell no, you aren’t going to talk him out of them. One of them is his hatred of Monette trumpets. I understand, truly I do. I am not fond of them either. Unfortunately, the other strong conviction is that the ONLY horn sound to have is the Chicago Symphony horn sound. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a lot about the CSO. One of my favorite horn players besides Bill is Dan Gingrich, who I consider to be one of the finest players in the world. I think the reason I admire both so much is that they don’t really fit in a “style” box. They just serve the music. One of Bill’s teachers was Richard Mackey (super-nice guy too, played with him at Bill’s wedding and we had some beers, eh?), who played in Cleveland with Myron Bloom prior to joining the BSO. Dan Gingrich is a Chicago guy, but his playing also does not fit inside a box IMHO. Always loved his work with the Chicago Pro Musica and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Never met him… I just worship from afar.
However, I play a Kruspe-wrap and I LOVE the way I can blow the crap out of my horn and the sound gets bigger but not fuzzy. Sure, I can put sizzle on the sound as I shhhhhwiiiing it to the back of the hall, but every time I tried to veer to the Geyer-wrap, well, it just didn’t feel natural to me. The sound would stop (it seemed) about 5 feet behind me and turn into sounding like, well, not my idea of how a horn should sound. WHITE NOISE! Others can accomplish better results; I’m just not one of them. I just can’t do it. Plus I grew up listening to Vince De Rosa, Mike Bloom, James Chambers, and Forrest Standley, so I had a distinctive idea of how I wanted to sound as an orchestral player.
So George and I were always butting heads over this. Bill Caballero was always one to be of the “whatever works for you” school, and the freaking awesome PSO horn section is a mixed-bag in terms of equipment, and it WORKS. INCREDIBLY WELL. Bless you, Bill. So I was like, well, bite me, George.
So my point… and I do have one. We’re working on Bruckner 7. I’m trying out some different bells on the 8D, one of which is yellow brass and I didn’t really care for it. George is rabid about brass French Horns, Lewis horns in particular (well DUH). I think he had already decided that he liked my brass bell before he heard me play on it. Anyway, I didn’t care for it, it was kind of uneven-sounding and I suspect I may have been taco-shaped once and then repaired. As I’m switching back to the nickel bell, George starts on his rant about the Chicago sound and blah blah blah blah blah. GAHHHH! He ends his sentiments with a comment about 8Ds and how he doesn’t care for that “style” of playing as a whole. Me and my colleague (another former Bloom student… well if there is such a thing as a FORMER Bloom student) look at each other and roll our eyes. I mean, really. Get over it and die of something else, OK? OK.
But no. He has to continue his diatribe and says something to the effect of “well, I don’t know why anyone would play in that style on that horn. It doesn’t blend with the rest of the brass section!” I pointed out that the horn doesn’t exclusively play as a unit with the brass section. We play well with others, too. Hee. In fact, there are times we just don’t need you at all, ha ha ha ha ha. He’s getting really steamed by this point. He continues his “Anti-8D style” rant and then we’d had enough and it was time for the proper response… “Well Mr. Vosburgh, some of us prefer a singing sound as opposed to that of a chainsaw.”
Needless to say… rep class was over. Everyone was rolling.
P.S. Just for the record, both of my horns that I play now are brass… one Patterson conversion (the hotrod) and a Patterson Custom horn. Kruspe-wraps, but brass. Oh! The colors! The colors! I luffs them!
So, I’m having trouble with the next post. I’ve just got a lot to tell. I’m still working on the “Why you don’t want Philip Myers to Eat Lunch During Your Horn Lesson” portion – and this is a good ‘un because I can perform during an earthquake FOR REAL. I think next up is going to be another Myron Bloom story. Those are shorter but oh-so-hilarious. I don’t know if he has any idea how funny he really is.