Halloween Finale; Monster Horn Players
A monster of a different kind.
The final creature-feature in this week’s “Monster Mash” enjoyed an illustrious second career after retiring from horn playing. As the conductor of the Hollywood Monster Philharmonic, he brings respect and notoriety to an otherwise neglected ensemble.
“The Maestro’s beat is a little stiff,” says principal horn Frank N. Stein, “and it’s always a bit behind the orchestra.”
“But,” adds Stein, “there is no questioning his deep knowledge of historic performance practice. With his advanced age comes an incredible amount of experience.”
Third hornist Harry Wolfe offers a different opinion.
“He’s a real jerk sometimes, always giving me the ‘hand’ and saying that I am playing too loud,” asserts Wolfe. “I respect the Maestro, but I think that he has a problem with the kind of horn I play on – or maybe he is against my kind in general.”
“Sometimes I act out,” says Wolfe. “It’s in my nature. I can’t help it.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Wolfe – as well as all the musicians in the Philharmonic – regard the Maestro as a master and they treat him with the utmost respect.
Found in Mr. Wolfe’s forest lair for example, is a personalized photograph of the Maestro on display in a prominent location above the central hearth. It is carefully festooned with wolf’s bane, a rare perennial herb with broad rounded leaves and yellow flowers.
This appears to indicate that in stark contrast to his public comments, in private Mr. Wolfe remains loyal to – or perhaps in awe of – the Maestro and his musical prowess.