Part The Second

Hello again, this time from sunny Belfast. I’m back for a week for some rehearsals with the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra before we go on tour to Italy. Having played with the orchestra in my school 5 years ago, I’m now back playing as guest soloist and conducting ?! thankfully for just one piece!

The band sounds great, and playing some truly challenging music including Rachmaninoff’s second symphony and the finale from Tchaik 4. The piece I’m now conducting is a work by Wagner, Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin arranged for brass ensemble by various people including my good self. Here is a recording from the home of Wagner, Bayreuth, complete with full orchestra and choir. Great music, and a gargantuan ending! Definitely going to sound epic with we play it in a rather large basilica in Roma…


Talking of huge noise, last thursday a brass section was assembled to rival pretty much anything else on the planet (can you tell I’m excited?) to record the second Vigilante Brass video. The tune which I chose was Muse’s Knights of Cydonia (check out the original here) and I have arranged it for a slightly expanded 7 piece band including scream trumpet maestro Louis Dowdeswell and Bass Trombone god James Buckle. These guys fit perfectly with the rest of the already stellar line up.

Cy Reyolds, who single handedly engineered the recording whilst playing, is still putting the final touches on a mix, but I really can’t wait to share it with you!

Here’s a few photos from recording just to whet your appetite!



Left to right: Francisco Gomez Ruiz, Louis Dowdeswell, Ross Knight, James Buckle, Cy Reynolds, Richard Blake, Will Morley. 


Drummist extraordinaire Ben Lewis.



Since last blog, I’ve also had a week away in Melk, Austria with the European Brass Ensemble, working under the baton ex Berlin Philharmonic trumpet Thomas Clamor. I’ve met some fantastic people and played some great music, and can’t wait for the next tour in October. Special mention must be given to the potency of Zoltan’s Hot Sauce (not a euphemism) and to Mozart the dog. 

Here is the Abbey or Stift in Melk where we played on the sunday:


and my slightly larger self (thanks to great austrian food and beer):




Finally, I’ll leave you with a bit of Jon Hopkins, master of lush synths and fat beats, who you’ve probably heard on the intro and outro of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida album. I’ve been totally addicted to the LP Insides, check it out on youtube here and buy it here!

This album has something for everyone, starting with some insanely lush strings, then dropping a horrifically filthy bass before retiring to some thoughtful and melancholy piano. Enjoy!