ELF

11 April 2011

  • Geoff Eales – piano
  • Dave Lee – horn
  • Andy Findon – flute

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a piece for his brother Julian entitled “Phantasia”. It also called for a solo violin and a large orchestra, exploring the wealth of melodic and dramatic music from his musical “Phantom of the Opera”. I played on the original recording and was struck by the thought that the cello writing could, in some way, be made to suit the horn. I was at the time trying to put together a horn trio and thought this piece might work. I asked Andrew for permission to try. Very generously he gave me a score and, being an ex-hornplayer himself, wished me luck!

The original arrangement was made by Geoff Alexander, an arranger and composer of note on many well-known films. The first thing to do was to have the piece reduced from an orchestral score to a convincing piano with solo instruments score. Who better to ask than Paul Bateman – another well-known arranger, composer, musical director and pianist. This was duly done.

A short while later, whilst having a chat on tour with my Michael Nyman Band friend and colleague of long standing Andy Findon, it became apparent that this piece might just work on flute instead of violin. We knew from working together with Michael Nyman that the sound of flute and horn together worked as a unison sound. So we tried.

I had known Geoff for as long as I had known Andy and we had all worked together on recording sessions, concerts and shows over the years. Geoff had branched out and developed his own style as a jazz performer making several albums on the way. He was the only choice for me – we gave it a go. The resultant “Phantasia” is on our new album “Reflections”.

What to do then? Do you know any pieces for flute, horn and piano? No, neither did we!

We had to create our own repertoire. Geoff came into his own, writing pieces, arranging pieces and generally being inspirational. Andy got his son to arrange some pieces from his solo album and things began to take shape and a programme came into being. The initial try out concert happened at Engelbert Schmid’s concert amphitheatre on a cold September night. Pictures can be found in the Gallery. We quickly learned what we could do and what we couldn’t do. What stamina was needed and what pieces worked together – and when I ought to take a break for chop recovery!!

So ELF was formed. Next, to make a recording, to get the pieces and our efforts into the public domain for both criticism and appreciation. We hope to get the pieces published asap. Keep looking – I’ll keep you posted.

ELF Trio

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