Careful Who You Put Down

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Paul4703, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Paul4703


    Mar 19, 2007
    The Scottish National Orchestra were rehearsing the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss, a 20th century German composer. Things weren't going too well and the conductor, Sir Alexander Gibson, was getting a bit tetchy.

    The horn player was an elderly character called Tommy who had worked all over and knew a thing or two. When the solo came Tommy didn't perform it the way it was written but played it his way. Sir Alex stopped the orchestra and everyone held their breath. After fuming for a bit he tore a strip off Tommy and told him to 'learn to read music', a bit of an insult for an orchestral musician.

    Nonplussed Tom leaned back and replied, 'When I played in the Vienna Philharmonic, Strauss said to me, "Tommy I want you to play the solo of my Alpine Symphony like this." He showed me and I've played it that way ever since.'

    Gibson never said another word for the rest of the rehearsal and Tommy played it his way.
  2. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
  3. No pics, no Horn player who knew strauss and played in the Vienna Philharmonic.
  4. Mr. Mig

    Mr. Mig

    Sep 7, 2008
    Good for Tommy. :hyper:
  5. A wise friend once told me, "the toes you step on today may be attached to the a$$ you need to kiss tomorrow." I've always tried to remember that.
  6. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Any chance Tommy was blind and played pinball?
  7. I think he looked like this.

  8. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    That's a really good story; I liked that.
  9. castleshade13

    castleshade13 Inactive

    Apr 26, 2009
    Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
    I was there.....

    i was allowed in that rehearsal!

    I was playing 3rd trombone

    My friends mom plays violin for the orchestra

    and i was aiding as they were a trombone short

    I was amazed! I would never DREAM of doing that to my conductor!
  10. castleshade13

    castleshade13 Inactive

    Apr 26, 2009
    Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

    oh also that is a trumpet,

    The only horn used in an orchestra is a tenor horn or a French horn and tenor horns were not used in any of Strauss,s pieces
  11. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    What about English horns... not that's it's technically a horn... but just sayin
  12. castleshade13

    castleshade13 Inactive

    Apr 26, 2009
    Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
    The "english horn" is not english or a horn

    its a german oboe

    i think
  13. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    More of an "alto oboe", but in the same family.

    "Horn" in the orchestral sense, usually refers to French Horn. There are plenty of orchestral parts for Trumpets, though. Strauss' Alpine Symphony calls for 4 Trumpets.

  14. castleshade13

    castleshade13 Inactive

    Apr 26, 2009
    Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

    but it originates in germany

    Yeah i'm in the junior orchetra and we wee playing a version of Holst The Planets Jupiter,

    We had 6 Trumpets 4 Trombones 3 Euphoniums 2 Tubas And 10 French Horns
  15. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Tommy must be pretty old by now, to have been playing with R. Strauss (who died 08.09.1949, no?).
    Sure has had enough time to know what he's talking about!
  16. spigmu


    Mar 25, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Conductors can be so dicky.
  17. Kevmove


    Jul 21, 2007
    I know you all find this very amusing, but don't bass players get accused of doing exactly what this guy did? Play the notes you were given to play. Especially in an orchestra. Why? Because the point is getting many voices (instruments) to make one sound. If you want to make your own sound, start a solo career.

    Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, until you sit in on a live recording that last 2 hours too long, because everybody is doing their own thing.
  18. George Himmel

    George Himmel

    May 16, 2009
    Boston, kid!
    Former Manager, Bass San Diego
    I can't speak to the validity of the story, but I think you get a pass when it's a solo. Orchestral solo doesn't exactly make you part of the rhythm section, where it's a bit more important to hold down your piece of the funk. As long as the conductor's cool with it, I think solos are subject to individual interpretation.
  19. Kevmove


    Jul 21, 2007
    I beg to differ. Orchestral music is totally about unity. Not even the soloist has the right to change the conductors vision. The "solo" brings a particular instrument to the forefront, not the performer. So as clever as a story this may be, the soloist would have known it was not his place to overrule the conductor. Point of fact, the conductor would have known who "Tommy" was and have given him the latitude, if it were warranted. Contrary to the "seinfeld theory of music", the title of "Sir" isn't granted just because you own a baton.
  20. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    For slab gigs? Yes, I'm sure it happens. By guys who didn't write anything for us to play and guys who don't know crap about music OR ensembles. The aforementioned orchestra conductor is probably not a hair-flinging Les Paul/Marshall devotee who wants to "write" all the parts to fit around his Hendrix/Page fantasy.

    Your analogy isn't the best one you could have chosen.