Yup it’s true!
I had a lesson with Alex yesterday and man oh man I’ll just never be the same. I don’t even know where to begin. I got to her place yesterday and she had laid out all of her beauties for me to try! Talk about being a kid in a candy store! I could not believe my eyes. There before me lye treasure this pirate wanna-be would kill for!
Her new Cornet immediately commanded my attention. What a beauty of an instrument. Leigh and the gang at Eclipse really have a fine product in this horn. I picked it up and started to play a couple of things on it. I was amazed with the ease of blow and buttery smooth feel of this horn; darn near right off the bench! Don’t get me wrong I love my Getzen; but it just doesn’t hold a candle to the Eclipse. I can’t wait to play it again many months from now. I’ve noticed that as they ‘break in’ they only get better. I can’t imagine how much better the horn will be. I was pleasantly surprised to pick up my student notebook off of Alex’s desk and see the entry “Sweet Cornet Playing!” written in it. This Cornet is really a treat to play!
I then picked up Alex’s Eclipse C and started to play it. I had played it not long after she got it the first time and loved it then but now; holy cow! It just has a wonderfully free blow and shimmer that I can’t replicate on any other horn I play on! I was astounded and mesmerized by how much better I sound on those wonderful horns of hers then I do on my own. I have composed a descant for Beethoven’s 9th (Ode to Joy) that I plan to use at the grand opening mass of our new Catholic Church down here in Georgia before I leave. I thought that it sounded pretty good on my Bach but I must say that Alex’s Eclipse gives it wings!
I then played on her Bb MR and Solar Bell. Both are exquisite horns and my observations were very much the same. They are broke in and again I sounded incredible on them. I think that I like the MR over the Solar Bell as it has a sound that is more me. I like the mushy fluff; the lyrical sweeping types of music. I believe that the MR and I really clicked for that. Now don’t get me wrong the Solar Bell is just as fine a horn; but I think that I’d favor it more if I played Latin, Salsa, or Big Band types of music.
The moment of truth then came for me. As of late I’ve become mystified with the Piccolo Trumpet. I don’t know why; I’ve never played one in my life until yesterday. So I picked up Alex’s Piccolo and started to play on it. I was surprised when I was able to play a bit on it. I then started to struggle a bit with it; Alex said to me,” Five minutes and I’ll have you playing that!” I’ll be damned if she didn’t. We put some wedding music up on the stand that I had purchased which was notated for Picc in A and away we went. I was playing Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary on Piccolo. Now don’t get me wrong it could use some work but it was not half bad! I was shocked! With some suggestions on how to blow and a more “dah” as opposed to a “tah” type of sound and I was playing Picc for the first time in my life; and playing it fairly well! It took some getting used to playing a note and having it sound one octave higher then it appeared. It was an absolute blast!
Alex also had out her D/Eb and a beautiful German Rotary either of which I did not play. I was just on over load! My senses were shorted out! We then got to doing some of the things I love to do best. Bach Chorales! I really enjoy the overtones that Alex and I can produce while playing these simple pieces. The beauty of the sound intertwined and distributed through her home is just breathtaking! It really is a sound to behold! Whenever I get to feeling that I’m a sub-par player I recall fondly those exercises with her and know that I would not be able to produce resultant tones with her if I were not a good player!
Now while I was fooling around and playing most everything in sight; so was Alex! She never ceases to amaze me with her style and sound. It doesn’t matter what instrument she has in her hand; it’s a lethal weapon! She played on the Rotary; and had just a tremendous sound. It was dark, clear, and room filling. What a treat to be able to hear such fine playing! Then she lit it up with the Solar Bell. She played Mendez’s La Virgin de la Macarena and I swear fire was flying from the bell! Her sound on the Eclipse C is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. She plays with such a shimmer and depth of sound. I could just pull up a chair and listen all day long!
Then there was the Piccolo playing. Wow; I was just blown away. She picked it up and started getting after it and I’ve not witnessed anything quite like that ever! I don’t even know how to describe it other then to say that she played with absolute brilliance and command! Her playing is second to none and in that moment I suddenly realized just how fortunate I have been to study with such an accomplished player and gifted teacher! Alex carries herself with dignity and grace and it shows in her playing. All I can say is this. Leigh; Get an Eclipse Piccolo in this woman’s hands pronto! If your Piccolo plays anything like your other fine instruments; anyone who hears her play an Eclipse Piccolo will be subject to an experience just shy of biblical majesty and beauty.
I have to say that I will sorely miss the opportunities to study with Alex as I place some miles between us. Had it not been for her I’d surely not be the Trumpet player I am today. She has a mastery of the instrument and the techniques with which to play it that I only wish I had. Some how or another she’s managed to pour some of that into me and the result has been nothing short of amazing. She is a top shelf teacher and player; and I’m most grateful that I also get to call her friend!
From the bottom of my heart Alex; thank you for showing me the way. Know that I will be pouring over your notes in my student notebook and executing each one of them to the best of my abilities. I can’t wait until we see each other again. Thank you for teaching me how to become a better player and more importantly how to be a better musician. I also want to thank you for helping me to realize that mourning the past is a waste of energy. I now believe that I’m a much better player then I ever was. I haven’t quite caught up technically yet, but musically I’m 10 times the player of my youth.
Leigh and Eclipse; I don’t know if I should thank you or curse you. If I could afford your fine products I’d hold funerals for mine and bury them! When I play my C and then play Alex’s Eclipse C; I don’t even sound the same! There’s no comparison; the sound that I get from her Eclipse C is just superb! I spent most of the evening yesterday trying to re-create it on my Bach C but just couldn’t do it.
What can I say? I’ve been Eclipsed beyond belief!