Corrections in Standard Euphonium Solos
by Dr. Brian L. Bowman
Regents Professor of Euphonium, The University of North Texas
Fantasia by Gordon Jacob
One of the first important solos written for euphonium and concert band is Fantasia by Gordon Jacob. I remember first hearing about this solo when I was with the United States Navy Band in 1971. It was exciting to know that a recognized composer, Gordon Jacob had written a solo for euphonium and band. I immediately wrote the Boosey and Hawkes Publishing Company, which was in the process of publishing the piece and was sent copies made from the engraving plates for my use. A portion of that original copy of the plates showing the final cadenza is in figure 1.
Figure 1. Original printed plate
The Fantasia was written by Gordon Jacob in response to a request by Michael Mamminga, a Fulbright scholar from North Texas State (now the University of North Texas) studying brass band in England. Mr. Mamminga currently lives in the Dallas area and was invited to a University of North Texas Wind Symphony concert the evening I was playing Fantasia with the band. After the concert, Mr. Mamminga mentioned that I had played different notes in the cadenza than originally written. He sent me a copy of the original manuscript that showed that the high note in the cadenza was not a high D but actually a D-flat! All these many years, euphonium performers had “sweated” the high D and in actuality it was an error in the printing (as shown in the original plate copy—Figure 1) that had perpetrated this mistake.
Also, following the high D-flat the second quarter note should be an E-flat not a G as printed. In the original manuscript copy, not only are these notes written but the names of the notes are written above them to clarify the manuscript.
Figure 2. Original Manuscript.
After over 25 years of hearing a high D and G instead of the D-flat and E-flat the first hearing seems a little strange or almost wrong. Upon further examination, the tonality and progression of the cadenza are much better served as the composer originally intended.
Thanks to Michael Mamminga for showing us this correction after over 25 years of playing the “wrong” notes.
Symphonic Variants by James Curnow
From original conception to actual printing there are often small errors that are perpetrated by possible copying mistakes. Such a case is in the secondvariation of James Curnow’s Symphonic Variants. As written in the original manuscript (Figure 1) the last two notes leading into one measure before 22 are written as G-flat and A. In the recording of the premier performance of this piece with Philip Franke as soloist with the
University of Illinois Band, I believe that he played G-flat and A-flat to match the octave changes in the following measure even though the A is not flatted at that point in the solo part. When I first performed this piece I also played G-flat and A-flat in that measure.
Figure 1. Original manuscript solo part showing G-flat and A.
The original manuscript score from which the solo part was copied actually shows the last two notes in that measure as notes as E-flat and F. I believe that these notes are the correct ones that should be played.
Figure 2. Original manuscript score showing E-flat and F.
When the score was printed by Jensen and later Tuba-Euphonium Press, these two notes were changed to be G and A-flat in both the score and the part (see Figures 3 & 4). While this is consistent in both editions, I personally like the original score version of E-flat and F going to the G in the measure before rehearsal marking 22.
Figure 3. Published Part (Jensen/Tuba-Euphonium Press) showing G and A-flat.
Figure 4. Published Score Showing G and A-flat.
This is another example of how original writing can be altered by simple mistakes in copying. If you look carefully at the notes in the original manuscript score, the bars for the sixteenthnotes cover up the bottom line of the staff and a copyist might have mistakenly written the solo part on the wrong space although there is a bass clef/tenor clef difference in the part. At any event, it is a wonderful piece and hopefully this small correction will add to correctness of the composer’s intention.
Author’s supplement: The following correspondence between James Curnow and Brian Bowman validates this correction.
“Your article is absolutely correct. I went back to my original “sketch” score where everything for the euphonium was written in bass clef and what I have, and intended, was E-flat and F. Somehow in the change from my original to tenor clef or in the publication editorial process (and many hours of editorial proofing) we seemed to miss this error.
I am really pleased that you are going to set the record straight. It is still amazing to me that it has been 30 years since I wrote it and 29 years since it was first published, and it still is performed at least a hundred times a year. Not bad for a poor kid from Michigan (Michigan State, that is!).”
~excerpt from an email sent by J. Curnow to B. Bowman, June 4, 2008