by Ron Newman
“Soliloquy” & “Pavane” from Three Pieces for Solo Tuba
Originally from Howell, Michigan, Ron Newman has been a member of the Michigan State University faculty since 1980, where he served as Director of Jazz Studies from 1980 until 1995. He received an undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Music Composition from Michigan State University. Active in both the jazz and classical fields as a performer and composer he has received composition commissions from a variety of sources, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and The New York Concert Artist’s Guild, and has also received a “Meet The Composer” grant through Arts Midwest.
Composer Ron Newman
Three Pieces For Tuba was commissioned by The Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival in 1997, and premiered by Norwegian tubist Oyvind Grong that same year. The Festival selected it as the required piece for its competition in 1998 and then again in 2001. Movements one and two are reproduced here. Movement three, titled “Rich Matteson” is not, but some of the performance notes for it are included to give the reader an overview of its style and content.
Three Pieces For Tuba is published by Tuba-Euphonium Press, and we give our thanks to David Miles for permission to use it.
Due to the highly chromatic nature of this piece a large number of redundant accidentals are used. This may give the impression that accidentals are good only for the notes on which they are attached. However, accidentals do remain in effect through a measure.
This movement should be approached in a rubato manner, with the performer free to interpret the various changes of tempo. The exceptions to this are measures 10–13, 16–17, and 37–53, which should be played in a strict rhythmic manner which highlights the syncopation and clearly defines the metric modulations.
Originally a slow Italian dance form, the pavane is possibly best known today through the compositions of the French composers Saint-Saëns and Ravel. This movement is closely based on the solo cello works of Bach, and should be approached in that manner. There is an underlying tonality of G minor with the expected chord progression enhanced through the use of 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths, and tritone substitutions (including the final cadence which resolves to D-flat instead of G).
Rich Matteson was one of the great performers of jazz on both the tuba and euphonium. He was also an inspirational educator and mentor to the hundreds of young players, such as myself, who had the opportunity to work with him. This movement attempts to convey some of the virtuosity, musicality, and humor that Rich brought to his playing and teaching.
The piece is based on the chords of the George Gershwin tune “I’ve Got Rhythm,” commonly referred to as “rhythm changes.” There are four choruses plus a CODA. The entire movement should be played with a jazz “bop” feel. Choruses I and II would often be played in a “half-time” or 2/2 feel. Beginning with chorus III the “bop” 4/4 feel begins.
The ITEA Journal would like to thank Ron Newman and David Miles (Editor, ITEA’s Tuba-Euphonium Press) for providing movements from this great work for the ITEA Gem Series. It truly represents the philosophy behind the Gem Series, and, also, recognizes the Leonard Falcone Festival’s ongoing, invaluable, contributions to the international tuba-euphonium community.