Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Mark O'Keeffe

A nice and eminent trumpet player called Mark O'Keeffe sent me a CD, Apocalypse, of some of his work. I had written him wide-eyed fanmail because this video clip from a 2006 theatre production is so wonderful and brilliant and extraordinary that when I came across it late the other night I thought my head was going to explode with amazement. He is a proper, good, skilled classical trumpet player doing weird*rse theatrical stuff that gives me goosebumps, against a sort of Cosmic Synth Disaster backing peppered with quotations from Kennedy's inaugural speech. Now don't get me wrong - I have nothing against mainstream trumpet playing and I like to hear the Hummel as much as the next man or woman (as long as it it not me who is playing it). Indeed Mark is the principal trumpet with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra so I imagine it's not like he doesn't do Mahler 5 if you ask nicely. But, sheesh, this is something else.

The reason I looked Mark up on the interwebnet was that I heard someone on Radio 3 a while back raving about his solo new trumpet music album Knight Errant. I'd give you a link if I could but it's on the excellent Delphian label. The R3 person admitted that he'd normally rather swim through a sewage farm with his mouth open (I may be paraphrasing a little here but to be honest the presenter's slight superciliousness about trumpet music did leave a touch of an unwelcome taste in the mouth) than listen to such an album - but then hit his unsuspecting listeners with the revelation that this one was actually rather good. Certainly, the bit I heard was excellent - I think it was the Peter Maxwell Davies piece Litany for a ruined chapel between sheep and shore, which I've heard a few times recently. So ... that CD's on order, I've got a bee in my bonnet about the Apocalypse video piece, and I am now the proud owner of a CD of that one too. I am a happy bunny, and very pleased to have stumbled across the work of this innovative and excellent player.


Strawberryyog said...

Yay and woo, as they say: my Knight Errant CD has now also turned up. Excellent!

Strawberryyog said...

Erm what is it with Scottish and Scottish-based trumpet players? Off the top of my head (and with apologies for obvious ones missed): Wallace, O'Keeffe, Gracie, Gargan, Greig ... blimey! I know there must be loads more there/gone there/from there/ancestors from there - but how's that for a start??

Strawberryyog said...

Small world... when I went to look Mark up on the web I thought it would be very obvious. Sure, you can get past Mark O'Keeffe quickly enough, they're accountants. But what about Mark O'Keeffe featuring Mark O'Keeffe, trumpet/cornet/arranger? That one did, I admit, give me a moment's pause ... Check it out - it isn't our man, Watson!:)