Top Trompes

Top Trompes

In February 2020, John Humphries visited Turin to present a paper at a conference on the history of the hunting horn organised by the Accademia di Sant'Uberto in Turin's magnificent Reggia di Veneria Real.
The Reggia di Veneria Reale, a Baroque hunting palace built in the 17th Century for the Dukes of Savoy is an extraordinary place: said to be one of the biggest palaces in Europe, its vaulted, marble-clad galleries are breathtaking, and its formal gardens are reminiscent of Versailles. There is a Sal di Diana - a formal hall named after Diana, the goddess of hunting, now doubling as a concert hall, and a magnificent chapel dedicated to Saint Hubert, the patron saint of hunting.
The official, rather loose, theme of the conference, "Music at Court: The hunting horn in Piedmont and Europe from 16th - 19th Centuries" allowed the 16 presenters to come at the subject from a wide range of angles, from an explanation of why St Hubert is the patron saint of the hunt (touching St Hubert's stole was said to be a protection against rabies, and who was more likely to come into contact with the fatal disease than those hunting wild animals with dogs?) to an account of the revival of the hunting horn in 19th Century France. My own paper on "The uses of the horn in 18th Century England: hunting, water parties, pleasure gardens, concerts, the military, mischief and merrymaking", sat chronologically somewhere in the middle. A highlight was a video of Cristian Bosc, showing him making a trompe de chasse from a flat sheet of brass, but it was the participation of two groups of hunting horn players at the conclusion of the conference which stole the show.
One, the Equipaggio della Regia Veneria use French-style trompes de chasse pitched in D and play with a wide vibrato, an idiosyncratic heavy tonguing style and a ripping, razzing tone that could strip paint at twenty metres. The other, the Accademia del Suonatori di corno da caccia dell'Alto-Adige/Südtirol has a completely different concept of horn playing, their members making a strong and clean sound on instruments which are pitched in E flat, have a tuning bit on their lead pipes and, for the players on the lowest parts, wide mouthpieces to enable firm articulation. Apparently, many of the villages in the German-speaking South Tirol still have their own similar ensembles, performing on these rare E flat Jagdhörner, and long may they continue to do so. Hearing the groups playing in turn underlined just how different their playing styles are.
What else is there to say? Well, in addition to the horn talk, horn playing and good company, the sun shone, the sky was blue, temperatures were balmy and there were copious amounts of excellent food and drink. What more could one ask?

London Brass Recording with Edward Gregson

On 20th and 21st June 2019, London Brass are recording with Edward Gregson on the Chandos Records Label. The sessions are not open to the public unless a donation is made, but a CD of the recordings will be available at a later date. For more information .
If you would like to support the project and receive a complimentary CD on its release, please email Edward Gregson and he will personally reply: edward@edwardgregson.com
Watch this space for film footage of the recordings.
It sounds like London Brass are as busy as ever!


Our friend Jeffrey Wilson (Clarinet and Saxophone) has joined forces with Catherine May (Soprano) and Christopher Weston (Piano) to form Tryptych. They introduce themselves in this YouTube video CLICK HERE

You can see them perform at the Maldon Festival this year on July the 5th.
Timpani Concerto

Timpani Concerto

We have a great youtube video provided by Jeffery Wilson of his Timpani Concert with soloist Scott Wilson. Docklands Sinfonia conducted by Spencer Down. To view the video click here

If you fancy having a go yourself, then the music can be purchased HERE