The large orchestral forces required for Ein Heldenleben include a massive brass section consisting of:
8 French horns
2 E-flat trumpets
By our extremely unscientific calculations, if you straightened out all these instruments they would stretch approximately 53 metres, longer than an Olympic-sized swimming pool! (Though if any brass players have some more specific measurements they can share then we stand corrected!)
During the piece the three B-flat trumpet players walk offstage to perform distant fanfares in ‘The Hero’s Companion’ section of the work.
We are grateful to brass colleagues from other orchestras for coming to boost our ranks for this performance! Here’s our extended French horn section in Madrid last week: