Den Haag

I visited Graham Nicholson in The Hague, in order to tune, fit and finish the crooks for the Steinmetz Horn - details of this instrument may be found in my earlier post. 

Taking the night boat from Harwich on Sunday evening meant hat I arrived at Hoek van Holland early on Monday morning. We spent the day making a mouthpiece in the workshop and starting work on the crooks. On Monday evening, at the invitation of David Staff, both Graham and I were invited to the Orchestra of the 18th Century's 'Frans Brüggen Memorial Concert' at De Doelen in Rotterdam. The orchestra played a Bach chorale, which had been arranged by Frans Brüggen (and it had also been played at his funeral), followed by Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, a Chopin Piano Concerto and finally Mozart's C Minor Mass. The orchestra was on excellent form.

Tuesday included more crook-making, with the ever-inspiring Graham. We spent nearly all day indoors on account of the wild weather - heavy rain and strong gusts, the remnants of the hurricane that hit America last week. Though a day spent with Graham is never a wasted one. Tube making, YouTube viewing, Darjeeling tea drinking, BBC Radio 4 listening, talking, researching and of course - eating excellent food!

On Wednesday evening, Graham had a training session for his dance class - so I decided to visit Amsterdam to hear the orchestra again. This time they were playing Haydn, Boccherini and Schumannn at the Cello Biennale. I listened to the concert backstage, from the wings of this impressive hall. Afterwards Staffy and myself visited 'de Wildemann' - an amazing pub, with hundreds of beers and the workers really know their craft.

Thursday was my final day in Den Haag. After a tasty breakfast, it was decided that Staffy and I should drive somewhere to go out looking for mushrooms and that Graham would carry on in the workshop. Upon our return, we ate fantastically - risotto with grilled porcini. It was divine dining.

It was such an excellent trip. I am so lucky to be able to spend time with such thoughtful, intelligent and kind human beings, and it is so great to be with other trumpet players who can offer so much to each other. It was also such a thrill to be able to listen to the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century again.

Russell Gilmour
Russell Gilmour Blog
writing on music, photography, engraving, travel and life as a freelance professional musician.