These trumpeters used plastic bottles as mutes, because… conductor said so

6 August 2020, 16:58 | Updated: 6 August 2020, 17:00

When you don’t have a trumpet mute to hand, use a plastic bottle...

Two trumpeters from the London Symphony Orchestra were playing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, when the audience noticed something a little... out of the ordinary.

Instead of using regular trumpet mutes, which are usually made from stainless steel, David Elton and Gerry Ruddock stuck plastic bottles into the bell of their instruments.

If you’re wondering just how much musicians’ salaries have fallen recently, worry not – it turns out they had a perfectly reasonable explanation for their unusual brass accessories.

“They’re just very quiet mutes, sent to us from a trumpet player in Japan,” Gerry explains.

“David and I played a different selection of mutes to Sir Simon [Rattle] for that particular passage of music; these were the ones he preferred.”

And David agrees: “Conductors have many different ideas as to what sound they’re after at this moment in the piece. It’s generally not the one you offer first!”

You can watch the full performance of The Rite of Spring, and those of The Firebird and Petrushka, on the LSO’s YouTube channel.