big comeback

After last week’s rather tragic concert, I today achieved musical redemption through two much happier trumpet events.

First, a rehearsal with a brass quintet I recently joined. Oddly enough, I believe I enjoy the group mainly because I’m by far the worst of the five players. I mean, these guys can play. The French horn, for example, was formerly a member of the Israel Philharmonic. Playing with the quintet is a musical kick in the butt; in chamber music there’s nowhere to hide, and with this group I have to give my all on every piece just to keep up. While I have a ways to go before moving up from the back of the bus, at several points I shocked myself with the sound coming out of my bell; without a doubt, today’s rehearsal was some of the best, some of the prettiest, playing I’ve done in my life.

Following that, I had a performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor with the 92nd St. Orchestra. The piece is full of romantic period schmaltz, swelling strings, soaring brass. Beautiful in a movie score sort of way. It was one of the concerts where everything just lines up, where everyone is making music. At several points I almost missed entrances having become entirely too captivated by the group’s playing to count my rests.

On the subway home, thinking over the concert and Rachmaninov’s symphony’s enveloping richness, thinking about quintet rehearsal and the joy, the thrill of playing with such wonderful musicians, I realized that, should I ever produce a film involving a broad, lush, John Williams / John Barry sort of score, I’d have no choice but to insert myself into the studio. As third trumpet, the bottom rung of the group, so that my poor playing wouldn’t gum up the works. But still a chance to sit with the musicians and play, just play, until it’s time to go home.

June 9, 2002