This section, and the connected links are dedicated to all aspects of our art. I have also included many legendary quotes & stories, that I have heard oft repeated. Most are true, one or two are perhaps apocryphal, who knows…
“The trumpet is an inanimate object. It will only make a sound if you drop it.” John Wilbraham
“Always remember, the trombone is your natural enemy.” Michael Laird (Michael said this to me at the end of my last lesson but the quote has been correctly attributed to David Mason)
“Remember, my boy, marriage is a vastly over-rated pass time.” ‘Penny Lane’ Trumpeter, David Mason
“Philip Jones always told me I played too loudly on a small tube. Still; better than underblowing.” John Wilbraham
“…There is nothing wrong with your embouchure. It is merely reacting to a bad set of circumstances!” Kristian Steenstrup
On hearing a bass player complaining loudly about not being able to see David Willcocks conducting, John Wilbraham shouted, “…Don’t say that. Everyone will want to sit there!”
From Crispian Steele-Perkins, “… In 1956 the great British ‘Big Band’ conducted by Ted Heath toured the USA. One of the features of their concerts was the duetting of trumpeters Bobby Pratt and Bert Ezzard, of both of whom I was a huge fan. It was after their performance in Pasadena near Los Angeles that Bobby Pratt was making his way out of the stage door of the theatre (he was a well built, but rather shy man) when he was accosted by a diminutive figure, who grasped his hand energetically and effused: ‘Mr Pratt, that was just marvellous playing: I truly believe that you must be the greatest trumpet player in the world’. Somewhat overwhelmed, Pratt replied with customary modesty: ‘Oh no, you’re very kind, but the greatest player, I believe, is a man called Conrad Gozzo.’ The other, in his turn, was overcome with confusion. ‘Why, thank you’ said he, ‘I am Conrad Gozzo’.”
Legendary conversation between the BBC Northern Orchestra and The London Symphony 1977: The legendary John Gracie said to the legendary Maurice Murphy, “… How are you getting on with the LSO, Maurice?” “Oh, alright John… some film with a big bear in it.” (Star Wars!)
"F**king flutes! Always complaining about the trumpets. Stick 'em out of the bedroom window: first breeze that comes along, play 'emselves." John Wilbraham
“The one thing we do know about Bach, for certain, is that he didn’t want it to sound f**king awful!” John Wilbraham to John Eliot Gardiner
Brendan has gone on a diet. Fabulous comment from my mate Bryn Gerard, well known Liverpool Artist, “…I think your upper body is just over developed from all the trumpet playing.” Nice one Bryn.
John Wilbraham “…Don’t f*** up the easy bits, they’ll call you a c***. F*** up something difficult instead! They’ll say, “never mind, that bit’s hard.
John Wilbraham, “…Yes, well, Brendan; you can practice all your scales, do your slurs and all your tonguing; but you can’t take into account playing like a c**t!
John Wilbraham said that he couldn’t stand going on tour, “…the only thing I ever got from touring were sore lips and a sore arse!”
“It doesn’t matter how quietly you’re playing, if it’s with a bad sound you’re too loud!” John Wilbraham
‘A gold cup and cigar if you can play this correctly first time… Oh dear, better luck next time.” David Mason
“If I’d wanted to play in front of a clown, I’d have joined the f**king circus.” John Wilbraham to Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. Bizarrely, this conductor’s hairstyle always reminds me of Crusty the Clown from the Simpsons.
“I remember being at the bar, while studying at the RAM, and the light suddenly going out behind me. Stood there were John Wilbraham, James Watson & Bill Houghton all together [just about the tallest 3 trumpeters in the business]. “That’s right Paul, you get the beers in,” said James Watson.” Paul Marsden 2nd tpt RLPO [not one of the tallest trumpeters in the business]
John Wilbraham said he would form an organisation called Alcoholics Unanimous, for people who were thinking of giving up drinking. They could ‘phone AU and they’d talk you out of it!
“The most practice I have ever done was two hours in a day-two stints of anything from 40 minutes to an hour is sufficient. Too much practice sounds as bad as too little. Even graft my boy, even graft.” David Mason
“Well Jonathan, you’ll be able to tell all your friends in the CBSO that you have now played with the Philharmonia” – David Mason to Jon Holland [Principal Trumpet CBSO]
“It doesn’t matter how you do it, it’s the end result that matters.” David Mason
“I don’t care how you do it, or what you play it on, so long as it’s right.” Gerrard Schwarz
“I play what feels good to me! My Musicians dig it & so does our audience.” Maynard Ferguson
“Anyone can blow. It takes brains to play!” Harry Bentham
“Your Daddy didn’t want it like that!” Maurice Murphy to Maxim Shostakovitch
John Wilbraham to older lady viola player who turned round to complain about the volume of the trumpets, “… listen love, practice a bit harder and they’ll let you go and sit up at the front.”
Two Youtube videos of David Mason Playing and talking about his work with The Beatles on ‘Penny Lane’…
Brendan Ball is sponsored by Liverpool Organic Brewery. The company is the first corporate sponsor of an individual player in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra one hundred and seventy year history. Brendan is officially ‘The Liverpool Organic Brewery Principal Trumpet’. Visit Liverpool Organic’s Website to see where you can buy this marvellous beer.
During that embarrassing long pause at the end of a premiere of a new piece of contemporary music before the audience realised it had finished; Bill Houghton, Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, was heard to shout at the composer, “… You and I are now sworn enemies!”
At the Trumpet call from Brendan Ball,
They made a dash for the Philharmonic Hall.
Gathering speed across the car park they suddenly
realised “He only did it for a lark”
and with a quick about turn and a mighty cheer
“Let’s Drink More Beer in the Belvedere!”
Words by Bryn Gerard
For more Information and Articles about The Trumpet click on these links to Brendan’s Blog