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

9 June 2021, 10:31 | Updated: 9 June 2021, 10:47

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.

Read more: This oboe soloist’s reed split mid-solo… but he recovered like an absolute pro

London Symphony Orchestra trumpeters play with pla

“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.

The LSO is Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London. Listen to Classic FM every weekday from 8pm this week (7 - 11 June) for a celebration of one of the finest ensembles in the world.