Pines of Rome


from the ''Instrumentalist'' :

A Kinder Critic

In the mid-1980s Brian Perry played the solo trumpet part in Respighi's
Pines of Rome at the new concert shell in Chicago's Grant Park.

The first time he played during the rehearsal, the conductor stopped him and said he was too far off-stage. Perry tried a different location, and
this time, the conductor bellowed, "That's too close."

When he tried again, he was playing too fast. As the director stopped him for the fourth time, a voice bellowed from the park seats.

It belonged to a vagrant lounging in the summer sun. "Leave him alone! He's playing just fine."

The conductor did as he was told.

:lol: ...any similar stories?

Dave Payn

Active Member
I was told this many years ago. It's supposed to be true (I seriously doubt it!) but it's worth a read... perhaps. It does contain some asterisked obscenities so prior apologies to mods if it's a bit too naughty.

There was this amateur orchestra and they were rehearsing a brand new piece especially written for them. When it came to rehearsing a passage in 7/8 time, the orchestra were having trouble getting to grips with it.

The conductor suggested 'Think of the Nursery rhyme - '' Polly put the kettle on; polly put the kettle on; 1-2-3-4-5-6-7; 1-2-3-4-5-6-7' etc. etc.

Anyway, after a while the orchestra were getting to grips with the tricky passage when a rather bolshie percussionist interjected: 'Excuse me, I've got a good one for remembering 2/4 time' 'What's that?' asked the conductor' and the percussionist beat his side drum in time whilst uttering the words: 'F*** off, f*** off, f*** off.......'


Active Member
James Loughran was rehearsing the Halle:

JL: trumpet 1 from letter G again.
tpter: plays
JL: no, again please.
tpter: plays
JL: no, again please.
tpter: plays
JL: no, again.
tpter: plays
JL: no, again.
tpter: plays
JL: no, again.
tpter: plays
JL: no, again.
etc. etc. etc.
tpter, in desperation: what's wrong with my playing Mr. Loughran?
JL: What's wrong? I'll tell you what's wrong - it's not right!

Active Member
Sir Adrian Boult, conducting an un-named orchestra, to an un-named horn player.

AB; can you push in (tuning slide) a bit?
Horn player; pushed in a bit.
AB; can you pull out a bit?
Horn player; pulled out a bit
AB; no, can you push it in a bit less than last time?
Horn player; Excuse me Sir Boult. I can push in or I can pull out or I can push off!

Dave Payn

Active Member
Here's an article from MUSO magazine on 'How to be a brass player' I have a sneaking suspicion I know who the horn player is!

'Subtlety' comes between 's**t' and 's*phillis' in the dictionary. Although scarcely Johnsonian in wit or lexicographical profundity, the observation serves well for an area of the music profession that still attracts to its ranks yoof offenders, sufferers from Tourette's Syndrome and downright nutters.

After years spent playing nothing more than rhythmic exercises from the first dozen pages of Arban's Grande méthode complète pour cornet, it's little wonder trumpeters turn to drink. Trombonists, however, cannot use Arban as an excuse for their legendary intake of alcohol, which seems to be more a matter of evolutionary mutation.

Those looking for fast-track career success should take a leaf out the book of one celebrated brass-playing wheeler-dealer, who christened his new symphonic brass ensemble with a title that sounded incredibly like that of a more established rival. A booking at the Proms and other plum gigs followed before anyone spotted the difference. Alternatively, become a specialist on some awful early music instrument and prove to gullible audiences that Bach's clarino trumpet parts were actually written for 18th century Leipzig's equivalent of Dizzy Gillespie.

An irate librarian at one august conservatoire was overheard demanding to know why a trumpet student had not returned the scores of Haydn's string quartets marked against his library ticket. 'I've never taken a ******* score out of here in my life' came the reply, delivered with pride and no little menace. It's clearly best not to know too much about music history or its analysis when your daily grind involves hours of musical navvying and a few minutes of rectum-clenching clarino playing.

'Stick it on your face and blow' remains the best advice to aspiring orchestral brass players. Sadly, the theory falls down if the lips fail to engage with the mouthpiece and is sorely tested after the consumption of a dozen pints of Old Peculiar.

Remember, Joshua's trumpeters had the necessary lungpower to demolish Jericho's walls and make it into the Old Testament. Biblical history is on the side of any brass player gifted with the ability to blast asunder everything in sight. Honourable mentions are guaranteed for those intent on reducing viola players' eardrums to jelly and causing permanent pain to the wind section.

According to the brass player's bible, God created trumpeters, trombonists, horn players and tuba players to inflict maximum suffering on conductors. Who can forget the great Covent Garden horn player who stopped Georg Solti in full flow, persuaded the maestro to leaf through the monumental score of Götterdämmerung until he reached 26 bars after letter AA in Act 1, just to tell the Screaming Skull that he liked that bit? Or the epic tale of a former LSO trumpeter who punched the bouncer in a German brothel, was arrested, put in the slammer and finally bailed to appear that evening before the orchestra's conductor in concert?

Alcohol and Beta-blockers can never quite take away the fear of splattering the opening of Mahler Five or duffing up the big horn solo in Beethoven Nine - so you may as well leave caution to the wind section and go out in a blaze of glory.

Written by 'Teatime von Stockhausen'

Rebel Tuba

After performing a solo many years ago, taking the audience applause a voice from the back bellowed " Again Again".

Not wanting to dissapoint my public and with a quick word to the MD we played the piece again. Once again bellowing above the audience was the cry "Again Again".

After the fourth performance, my lungs now drooping past my diaphram and with my number one fan requesting the piece for a 5th time I put my bass down and when the applause had stopped I asked " how many times do you want me to play it".

The reply cames swift " Thall play it till thee gits it reet" :lol: :lol: :lol:


True story...before my time but I knew both the people involved.
A new drummer joined a local youth band of yesteryear. The drummer bashed his way loudly through the first piece drowning out the band.
Conductor to drummer "Can you play piano?"
Drummer to conductor "No mister I can only play the drums" :D

A J Foad

Who can forget the great Covent Garden horn player who stopped Georg Solti in full flow, persuaded the maestro to leaf through the monumental score of Götterdämmerung until he reached 26 bars after letter AA in Act 1, just to tell the Screaming Skull that he liked that bit?

This is a really fabulous story. I remember being told it many years ago by David Staff, the famous natural trumpet player. I believe it relates to the horn player Tony Tunstall, and took place on his final day at the ROH before retiring. Just proves that even the so called 'Great conductors' can have rings run around them by mere brass players...!!


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