Last Summer, Paul McCreesh, Artistic Director of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, embarked on a truly staggering project to recreate the music heard in all four coronations of the 20th Century.
Grandiose in scale, resplendent in pageantry and heard by millions of people each Coronation must have been an extraordinary experience for the musicians commissioned to play and compose for the ceremony of a new King or Queen.
Last Summer over three beautiful sunny days I played music by Gibbons, Handel, Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Howells and Walton in beautiful Ely Cathedral. The recording released this year sounds incredible, capturing the atmosphere of the cathedral and the vintage sound of old recordings. This Summer I am back playing I Was Glad, Zadok and many, many fanfares in concerts to promote the album release.
I own an original English Hawkes trumpet, c.1920 that had been given to me by a family friend who had found it in her attic! With a smaller bore then a modern day instrument, it feels closer to playing a cornet but definitely has the direct trumpet sound that you hear in black and white movies. The sound really blasts if you play loud whereas on a modern instrument the tone is generally consistent across the dynamic range. It’s quite an exciting sound although the lack of a third valve slide means a plethora of alternative fingers and lip contortions are needed.
Paul McCreesh leads from a historian’s viewpoint. In rehearsals he talks in detail about the style he wants to achieve and the articulation in particular, it is quite rare for the trumpets to be given so many requests from a conductor - it often tends to focus on too loud or too quiet!
It is an absolute joy to play such fun music and I am delighted to be playing my Hawkes trumpet and the Natural trumpet for the upcoming concerts with the Gabrielli’s.
The album really is worth hearing, it's a huge achievement for all concerned!
'Rosie' a beloved old cornet that I borrowed for the project. I called her Rosie because she has beautiful flowers engraved around the bell...