On the 13th of October, KBB sent me spam that I could not resist:
Dear French Horn Player,
Visiting horn player Mark Paine will be joining forces with three other international artists to perform a concert featuring the first NZ performance of Benjamin Britten’s The Heart of the Matter for voice, horn, piano and narrator, as well as Schubert’s Auf dem Strom for voice, horn and piano at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Girls' Grammar School on Sunday 1 November 2009. more
During Mark’s stay he will also be available for private horn lessons between Thursday 29 October and Monday 2 November. To book a lesson, please contact Mark directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark is the principal horn of the European Union Chamber Orchestra and co-principal horn of the City of London Sinfonia. He specialises in playing high horn parts of the early Classical period, especially in the works of Haydn. Mark’s latest CD of Haydn Divertimenti and Symphonies has just become Editor’s Choice in UK’s Gramophone Magazine. Mark also plays natural horn, having done several projects with John Eliot Gardiner in the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Visit Mark’s website
Your KBB Music Team
I have never had a horn lesson in my life (which will not surprise some of my musician friends). Indeed, I have never felt the need of one. I have thought that in order to get anything from a teacher, I would have to attend lessons weekly for a year or something - and there was no question of that, either from the point of view of money or time.
But Mark was a one-off. And Mark is at a higher level of ability than any teacher I might have available in Auckland under normal circumstances.
I e-mailed him. And he answered!
In short, it was arranged. The lesson was arranged for yesterday, Saturday the 31st of October, at 11 in the morning. My children will understand that it was a bit of a trek when I tell them that Mark was located in Torbay (72.2 Km, according to Google Maps).
I am very glad I went.
I was very nervous about going. What was this world-class horn player going to think of John Jensen's feeble blatting?
He was, in fact, very helpful, both straightforward and modest - and I don't mean false modesty. I mean he recognised his own ability and worth - and honoured what I was able to do, without either puffing it or putting it down.
And his instructions gave me what I wanted. I have been at loose ends as to how to practise between concerts. I have not, in fact, done very well with that. Mark gave me an excellent run-down of what I might do. He also very patiently listened to me rattle on - I expected half an hour of time with him; he gave me an hour and a half.
We are now preparing for our final concert of the year. It is going to be challenging. We have just three pieces - but two of them are big enough. We start with an overture:
- Mendelssohn's Hebrides
Then the gut-wrenching (to me, at least):
- Tchaikovsky's Piano Concert No. 1
(which, if it doesn't bring tears to your eyes, nothing will).
And after the interval (ready for this?):
- Xian Xinghai's Yellow River Cantata
in Mandarin! (All the music instruction notes are in Chinese - I trust someone will tell me what they mean). The Music Association of Auckland is supplying the Chinese choir and soloists (some 20 of them, I think I have heard, being brought from China for the purpose).
I think we will be busy for a while.
I have to go now and put some of my lesson into practice :-)