As I continue working on The Top Shelf’s upcoming spotlight on Marvin Gaye and Tina Turner, I find myself thinking about French Horns, and in particular, dramatic octave leaps by a section of French Horns.
I love writing for the French Horn. It’s capable of such plaintive beauty as well as intense excitement … especially when octaves are involved.
Theme from Peter Gunn
Consider these two snippets from the Theme from Peter Gunn
Now that’s cool! I bet the players on the session (from 1958) weren’t expecting to get to play *that* when they arrived at the studio.
I had the very good fortune of seeing Les Miz opening night on Broadway. I remember thinking, as I was listening to a killer ballad in the first act, that I really wanted to hear a French Horn play an octave leap. Yes, really. That’s what happens when I listen to music. In any case, the composer and orchestrator did not disappoint, as evidenced here.
I Heard it Through the Grapevine
So, what does all this have to do with Marvin Gaye and Tina Turner?
Well, it has a lot to do with trying to get Marvin Gaye “right”. As with What’s Going On it’s essential to have a great lead singer and a great rhythm section, but to really do the arrangement justice you need those elements that take the performance to the next level, and one of those critical things is — you guessed it — a French Horn octave leap.
Doesn’t that just kick ass?
So, are we going to have a French Horn section at our January 10th performance at DROM? Well, we already have 12 people in the band so the answer is “No,” but I promise we’ll get this ever-so-cool lick into the live performance.
I hope you will swing by on January 10 and see (and hear) for yourself.