Letters to the Editor
To The Membership:
Several years ago I wrote a similar letter (to this one) which was published in the Journal. It concerned a fundamental lack of professionalism as it is applied to sending programs and tapes to composers and arrangers. This is, for composers and arrangers, a most important matter and one that all of us need to be aware of when we perform or record any composition(s).
Composers and arrangers rely not only on professional performers for performances, but indeed, on student ensembles at all levels. We need to remember that it is through performances that these people learn their craft and correct errors in scoring, range, technical requirements and other things musical. Not every composition or arrangement is for the professional virtuoso, but in many instances, for the younger, less developed student. It is very important for composer/ arrangers to be able to hear their product in order to provide a better one for that level. This is not to say that professional musicians don’t offer the composer/ arranger that opportunity. They do, and that is why it is so important for all of us to take the time and make the effort to send composers and arrangers programs and tapes of performances of their music.
Why programs? Simply stated, most composers are either members of ASCAP or BMI and these organizations like to keep track of performances of their members, because there are benefits for composers and arrangers provided by the organizations that are important to those involved in composing and arranging.
On behalf of all of my colleagues in the composing and arranging arena, I ask, will you please take the time and make the effort to provide these materials to us? It is little enough to ask considering the amount of time and effort we expend on your behalf in creating compositions worthy of your performance.
The review of my Three Inventions for Trumpet and Tuba on page 29 of the Fall 2000 issue embodies a most interesting suggestion, with which I would not at all disagree: using the themes therein as a basis for improvisation. After all, there are classical precedents for this (Beethoven, etc.), as well as its being a most basic jazz procedure.
There is a recording by a group called “Pastiche” (innova 522, American Composers Forum, St. Paul, MN) including my Two Dances for Clarinet, Trumpet and Piano (Rag Tango, Slow Drag) to which – with my full approval – a percussion solo part (presumably improvised) was added, I think quite effectively. Why not take this one step further with the Inventions, and make a sort of jazz set with the themes of each improvised upon in succession, against a discreet percussive background of the same kind? If Mr. Short and friends were to do this, I would be most interested in hearing it.
Walter S . Hartley
Thank you for providing Joseph Skillen’s very kind review of the performance of the Albertasaurus Tuba Quartet recital at ITEC in Regina. I would like to provide two minor corrections and some additional information. Albertasaurus is based entirely in Alberta, where the members belong to the Edmonton Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestras. Although for some reason I was listed as Music Director, this is not the case. The ensemble has no designated music director. Our self-titled CD and our arrangements, both of which Mr. Skillen was kind enough to recommend, can be obtained from John McPherson at email@example.com.