Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Gavin Edwards

Horn

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Gavin Edwards studied Horn with Anthony Chiddel and Classical horn with Anthony Halstead, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After graduating he was appointed as principal horn of the Orchestre Sinfonica de Tenerife. On his return to England he joined the Hanover Band in their recordings of Beethoven’s, Schubert’s and Haydn’s symphonies. From here he started to work mainly in ensembles specializing in “period performance” principally with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and, of course, the OAE.

Here’s a bit about Gavin’s Horn:

How many instruments do you own?
Over 25! but probably many more. 20 are orchestral Horns from various periods.

Which one do you play most?
The last ever Paxman Hand Horn. I lost my previous instrument in a burglary and Paxman phoned up and gave me their last Natural horn bell to get me going again.

How old is it?
Getting on for 10 years now, but looks completely worn out.

Who was it made by?
Paxman, but completed by Nick Perry.

What are the main differences between your ‘period’ instrument and a modern version?
The lack of valves is most obvious and the use of crooks to get around this issue, but there are many subtle differences to do with tubing width and bell shape. Oh, and it isn’t shiney!

When did you start learning?
When I was 13.

What inspired you to take up a period instrument?
Anthony Halstead was teaching Natural Horn at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama, so out of an interest in how the Mozart concertos would feel and sound on the appropriate instrument, I asked him for lessons and he very kindly agreed. I’m still chasing the rainbow that is his sound and musicality.

How would you describe the relationship between you and your instrument?
I love them all, but treat them dreadfully. They pay me back with loyalty and a shower of wrong notes!

Who are your musical heroes?
All my teachers and then all the great composers.

Sum up your instrument in one word.
Mamihlapinatapai – from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego. When two people look at each other, hoping that the other will go off to do what neither of them wish to do. No, that’s too complicated. One word? Horn!

2 Comments

  • Gavin! Deborah and Tom here, writing from France. I hope you are well? Do you remember playing hosepipes in our garden? We are hoping to contact Uta on our next visit to the UK (at the end of Feb) but do not know her current address. She has sent Xmas cards saying ‘we have moved’ but without new contact details! Please can you help us? Thanks!

    Deborah and Tom EVE Thu Feb 6 2014
  • Hello! I really enjoyed your Prom with the King’s College choir on Sunday. As a (let’s say semi-pro) horn player myself, I was curious what instrument you used for the second half of the program (Faure). Was it a 19C French instrument? It all sounded beautiful by the way. Thanks!

    Tim Summers Wed Jul 20 2016