Thursday, April 28, 2005

The British Horn Society: 2000 Horn News

The British Horn Society: 2000 Horn News: "One of Britain's leading principal horns, Claire Briggs of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, left the orchestra in October 2000. Deciding to do 'something a bit more stable', she is to study for a MA in Law at Bristol University. Claire already has a degree in History from the Open University, for which she studied over the previous five years. Making the move was never going to be an easy decision, and Claire said that she spent around six weeks before finally making up her mind. Her final performance with the CBSO was of Strauss's Alpine Symphony with Sakari Oramo at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in September.
We are pleased to report that Britain's First Lady of horn playing will not, however, be totally lost to the horn world, having every intention of freelancing while studying. Claire, who was featured in the July 1998 issue of the Horn Magazine, was principal of the CBSO for 11 years, during which time the orchestra rose from provincial to international status. She was previously first horn of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and before that, the Northern Sinfonia. During her time in Liverpool she recorded the Mozart Horn Concertos with Stephen Kovacevic conducting."

One of her predecessors became a postman in Sutton Coldfield - he had the most wonderful tone in the 1950ies and played on a narrow bore piston valve instrument in F - I heard him play with the Royal Ballet Touring orchestra in about 1960ish

The British Horn Society: Horn News

The universe is horn-shaped - official. This will not of course come as a surprise to horn enthusiasts, but according to Frank Steiner at the University of Ulm in Germany the whole universe is horn-shaped. The bore hasn't yet been measured, though our guess would be large. This new theory overtakes the old 'soccer ball-shaped' idea.

New Scientist Breaking News - Big Bang glow hints at funnel-shaped Universe: "Could the Universe be shaped like a medieval horn? It may sound like a surrealist's dream, but according to Frank Steiner at the University of Ulm in Germany, recent observations hint that the cosmos is stretched out into a long funnel, with a narrow tube at one end flaring out into a bell. It would also mean that space is finite.
Adopting such an apparently outlandish model could explain two puzzling observations. The first is the pattern of hot and cold spots in the cosmic microwave background radiation, which shows what the Universe looked like just 380,000 years after the Big Bang.
It was charted in detail in 2003 by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. WMAP found that the pattern fades on the largest scales: there are no clear hot or cold blobs more than about 60 degrees across. "

enlarged image

Statistical flukes
At an extreme enough point, you would be able to see the back of your own head. It would be an interesting place to explore - but we are probably too far from the narrow end of the horn to examine it with telescopes.

Both of the crucial observations are still ambiguous, however, and may be statistical flukes. Over the next year or so, WMAP and other experiments will test whether large blobs really are lacking and whether small ones really are elliptical.

If they are, then our Universe is curved like a Pringle, shaped like a horn, and named after a Star Trek character. You could not make it up.
nb posted in APRIL 2004

Department of Theoretical Physics - Frank Steiner's Group exists anyway !
Universität Ulm
Abteilung Theoretische Physik
Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
D - 89069 Ulm
also here QuantumChaosNetwork

Think of the great Tibetan horns OM (like straight trombones) and the universe beginning with a sound Oooommmm not a bang.

Mariposa Museum of World Cultures, Peterborough NH

Ceremonial Tibetan Horn Brand New 5 ft Rag-Dung Ceremonial Tibetan Horn
The Rag-Dung is a Tibetan ritual instrument that is made in sections that can be telescoped and is basically played in drones for chanting.
an easy name to remember

Monday, April 25, 2005

Writers Online Workshops - Writing classes from the publisher of Writer's Digest

Writers Online Workshops - Writing classes from the publisher of Writer's Digest
be suspicious of corrspondance courses of any type

Most people start them and pay, and then fail to complete them.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Jimmy Smith - farewell

Entertainment News Article | "COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Acclaimed Danish jazz bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen has died at the age of 58, Danish media reported Wednesday.
The musician, dubbed 'the great Dane,' made hundreds of recordings and accompanied jazz greats like Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald.
Orsted Pedersen played in his first band at 14 and made his breakthrough in 1973 when he joined the Oscar Peterson trio. "

died of heart failure at his home in Ishoef, Denmark Ishøj

Google Search: Henning Orsted Pedersen

the news just as I am listening to a retrospective for Jimmy Smith on BBC Radio 3
BBC - Radio 3 - Jazz Legends - Episodes , Jimmy Smith: "The Jazz World lost the undisputed King of Hammond Organ, Jimmy Smith, a few weeks ago. Julian Joseph revisits a conversation he had with Jimmy Smith in December 2000.

Smith talks about being impressed with his hero Wild Bill Davis and mastering the art of playing the Bass pedals on the Hammond. This programme also features his last commercial recoding where he duets with Hammond companion Joey De Francesco."

I heard them both live in Copenhagen - Tivoli Jazz Club

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Harp - Harfe - Harpe - Arpa - Harpa Web & Magazine

Harp - Harfe - Harpe - Arpa - Harpa Web & Magazine: Royal harpist Jemima Phillips: "I was incredibly nervous and as I sat there next to the Prince having tea and cakes I couldn't say anything - I just had a big grin on my face."

Sunday, April 17, 2005 - Interactive Online Guitar Tuner - Interactive Online Guitar Tuner - Interactive Online Guitar Tuner
when I standardised my blog templates I forgot to add my favourite guitar tuner !

google found it again!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Gwydion Brooke farewell

choosing a bassoon

In 1979 when Gwydion Brooke has his Adler bassoon stolen a chapter of british bassoon playing ended.
and today there was news of his death on BBC3. Obituary in "the Independent"

I went to him once for a master lesson, which took place at a small BBC studio in Maida Vale after a rehearsal.
a good example of a false memory - it was William Waterhouse
who checked on my breathing and that I tightened the whole of my abdomen down to my groin when playing. I was embarrassed about being touched there - but it was a good and correct point.

William's verdict on my playing was good too
"you are good enough to play in a provincial orchestra, but you don't play well enough in tune for London."

Gwydion Brooke's Adler was not patched, so much as fine tuned and adjusted in a unique way.
AS a bassoon player in the fifties - this was before the Fox and Puchner breakthroughs in design - and we all played one particuler bassoon compensating as best we could for its idiosyncracies.

In fifties London there were three schools of bassoon playing, the last of the French instruments. the first wave of German with a mixture of Adler (led by Archie Camden) and Heckel players


im Bau hochwertigster Holzblasinstrumente möchten wir zum Anlaß nehmen, allen Freunden, treuen Kunden und interessierten Musikliebhabern mit dieser Webseite eine illustrierte Darstellung des Familienunternehmens HECKEL - von seiner Gründung bis zum heutigen Tage - zu geben front page

over 160 years of family tradition - Johann Adam Heckel invented the german bassoon in the age of mechanisation of wind instruments - as against the french bassoon which continued to evolve from the Mozart or baroque instrument

Die Wilhelm Heckel GmbH, gegründet 1831 in Wiesbaden, gehört ohne Zweifel zu den ältesten Werkstätten des Holzblasinstrumentenbaus. Ihr Gründer Johann Adam Heckel beaufsichtigte zu damaliger Zeit die Musikinstrumentenproduktion der Firma Schott in Mainz. Er machte dort die Bekanntschaft mit dem Hofmusiker am herzoglich-nassauischen Hof in Biebrich, Karl Almenräder, mit dem er 1831 die Firma ALMENRÄDER und HECKEL ins Leben rief

Im Jahre 1845 wurde Johann Adam Heckel zum herzoglich-nassauischen Hofinstumentenmacher ernannt. Nach seinem Tod 1887 führte sein Sohn Wilhelm Hermann Heckel das Unternehmen unter dem Namen WILHELM HECKEL BIEBRICH fort.

Luckily the factory did not get bombed in WWII.

When I collected mine from the factory in about 1959, I met Edith Reiter nee Heckel who was the first woman ever to serve an apprenticeship as a bassoon maker, and a daughter of the previous owner.

my own bassoons

First, in January or February 1966,
came a no-name german bought second hand from my predessor Dominic Weir, when I was a beginner in the Royal Engineers Staff Band Aldershot
In effect the British Army paid for me to learn to play the basssoon, on condition I purchased my own instrument, and that I played the tenot trombone as a parade instrument.
In 1958 I replaced the trombone with an ebonite Boosey and Hawkes boehm system clarinet purchased second hand in Bill Lewington's first upstairs shop in Soho (I remember the interesting ladies you met on the stairs). On advice I had the standard orchestral lay put on the Selmer mouthpiece by the other Howarths (not T W Howarth the oboe builders).

Then I had the old bassoon keywork modernised and rollers added. The instrument maker (in Ealing) had an old ophecleide in his dustbin which I rescued and many years later sold at Sotheby for a goodly price.
While this was being done I played on the band's old Boosey with the french system keywork.

My first basssoon teacher was Archie Camden, who taught me privately in his study at The Priory Totteridge
When he played his Adler to me I was so impressed by the rippling motion of his fingers - which hugged the keys - and became the model for myself and all my students.

What I call intelligent laziness - less movement is more speed.
Thirdly a Schrieber with a Heckel crook
When I went to the Royal Military School of Musinc (1958 - 1959) while I was waiting for my
fourth bassoon
the Heckel, which I ordered under the guidance of Frank Rendell - the teacher at Kneller Hall and the Guildhall School of Music - and Eton too.

I studied with Frank for six and a half years at Kneller Hall 1958- 1959 and 1964 and the Guildhall School of Music from1959 to 1964 and I got the silver medal for the second highest marks in my LGSM teachers examination.
My ARCM was a bassoon perfomers exam and my LRAM is in military band conducting
(I played bassoon and simple melodies on flute, obeoe , clarinet and alto saxophone).

When I stopped playing I gave my Heckel to Bill Lewington to sell - I forgot to tell him it had solid silver keys so it only sold for about £1800.
I felt it was too good an instrument to keep under my bed - it should be out and in use.

The maple was particularly well chosen and dense from a slow growing tree off a mountain slope, and ebonite lined for the butt and wing joints. I always was a wet player (lots of saliva) so I had the silver ante spit tubes put in the finger holes.

A no expense spared fagot which cost as much as a decent car.

Handmade by Heckel and worth every penny - because it meant my only limitation was myself - and to do enough practice.

Heaven was to play in an all Heckel bassoon section and we listened to each other and made things fit.

When I arrived on the Faeroes a bassonist was needed for the local amateur orchestra so
after playing on a borrowed instrument,
my sixth and last bassoon
I got a top of the range Schrieber from the local music shop.

That one was stolen, with the bakelite clarinet, at the International School, Gammelkongenvej, Vesterbro Copenhagen when I left them in a locked room overnight,
so I don't play any more either.

Anyway better be remembered as a good player than let it be thought "once he was good but not anymore"
which was said to me about the historian Anthony Baines after he became the museum curator in Oxford.

Gwydion Brooke's Liverpool recording of the Weber bassoon concerto slow movement was played on BBC3 in Gwydion Brooke's memory - but my acute ear heard some uncertainties - today standards are higher and higher - each generation hears the failings of the last.
Even Dennis Brain plays out of tune - but Gwydion Brooke and him were both great musicians singing on their instruments with soul and sentiment.