The day started with me being stuck in a traffic jam, which resulted in running towards the last train door that wasn’t closed yet. Catching it right in time, pfff, I felt lucky. From Lille to Amboise, it takes about three hours on the hst. The train stopped in Charles de Gaulle, the airport in Paris, where Owen Farr joined me. Or better, I joined him in the bar. He was going to Amboise as well to test new Prestige & Sovereign horns. We arrived in Saint-Pierre des Corps at noon, and once we finished a very nice lunch in a cosy restaurant in the historic centre of Amboise, we continued our journey to the factory.
Once we arrived at the old Courtois building, Benoit Meurin, responsible for the Besson brand in the Buffet Group, showed me around. In the factory, the attention for detail is of the greatest importance! Every step of the process is carefully monitored. This results in the fact that it is very difficult to tell the difference between the different instruments; the lacquer was fine, the intonation good, the new aluminium valves were excellent and so on. Owen was very aware of the importance of the testing. You don’t want to put any instruments on the market that are not 100% like they should be. Personally, I was very happy to find that Besson still makes instruments that have their own soul, character. This is due to the fact that f.e. the bell is hand made. All bells look the same, they share the same quality, but the pressure used by the craftsmen when making the bell, even if it is ever so slightly, can make a difference. To determine which instrument of those 18 available would suit me best, does take some time. You need to warm up, get used to the acoustics, calm down after a long journey…
To help me make a definite choice, Owen helped me by listening from a distance. Finally, I picked one that gave me that typically warm Besson sound. I’m very happy with my new instrument. The new besson prestige, developped by Owen Farr, is definitely a big step in the evolution of the tenor horn as an instrument. It brings the instrument to a worthy standard it certainly deserves.
French trumpet player Thierry Seneau takes up the tenor horn in Bigre, part of the programme of his big band. They performed in the prestigious international jazz festival ‘Jazz à Vienne’, France – summer 2012.
After a very long rehearsal of almost four hours, I experienced a serious tiredness of my lips. They were swollen, especially the left side of my bottom lip. As all brass players experience tiredness after a serious effort, I expected it to heal by the next day or maybe in two days. The general swelling disappeared, but a swollen sensation on the left side of my bottom lip remained, together with a sore sensation just below the left corner of my mouth. Result, I couldn’t even play a high D without a serious effort! It made me panic. If you love to make music, you don’t want it to finish so soon and in such a manner.
I started to look around on the internet and learned that many brass players suffer from lip and/or muscle injuries. It surprised me, because I had never heard of this kind of problems before. When talking to people that experienced problems, it seemed even that this is a subject brass players don’t want to talk about. I found a very good website on overuse syndrome embouchure.com, made by Lucinda Lewis, who managed Continue reading →
After the cancellation of 2 major solo events in the Brass Band movement, the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist of the Year and the British Open Solo Championships, I decided to apply for the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012 competition. The series itself leans itself towards instruments of an orchestral nature, in fact the instrument was referred to as ‘an unusual instrument’ by presenter Clemency Burton-Hill.
Regional auditions took place around the country, welcoming applications from anyone that wished to give it a try. My first stage took place in mid-October at the MediaCity UK Studios in Salford, Manchester, where I played alongside renowned accompanist John Wilson. I performed my own Continue reading →
Stijn Berbé is now an author for tenor-horn.com. He will be providing posts from a Belgian-Norwegian point of view. Chun-Shao Chu has a link with Scandinavia as well, he played in Solna Brass, Sweden. He’s from Taiwan and plays in the only brass band there, the Golden Hymn Brass Band. As a software engineer, he will be helping out on the technical side of tenor-horn.com. Anyone wishing to contribute posts, just send an email and you’re officially an author for this blog. Thanks.
Saturday 24th March 2012 saw the premiere of two new works of mine; one in London, one in Ohio.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend either concert, but I was really touched to receive so much positive feedback from both venues and I’m really looking forward to hearing recordings of the performances.
Many thanks indeed to Pat Herak, Tim Jameson and the DSB for the performance of Mearcair and, of course, a huge thank you to BASBWE, Mike Purton and BYMT for all their hard work on Ticket : 250654
(P.S. There is also now a link to the performance of Mearcair on the MUSIC section of my website http://www.lucypankhurst.moonfruit.com - thank you DSB!)
Lucy Pankhurst is a composer and tenor horn player. The latest news she has can be read in our blog.
During the five years I spent studying at music college, I was determined to make the most of the resources around me, and I now realise that it would have been a very different experience had that not been the case.
I hear several tenor horn/euphonium/baritone/cornet students complaining about their course having arrived at music college; “there isn’t enough for me to do”, “we don’t receive as many performance opportunities as everyone else” and “there’s just nothing designed or relevant for our first study instrument”. There are undoubtedly more ensembles, lectures and scheduled concerts for the average string or woodwind player but this is simply because they are more commonly composed for within ensembles and as solo instruments, and this has been the case for hundreds of years. Whilst this could be seen as a limitation for us, Continue reading →
The international alto/tenor horn project is off to a new start. Now, the project can be found on google and anyone who wishes to contribute can do so directly without sending a mail to the admin. A new facebook fanpage will be online soon. Thanks for your support.