New Materials (Mark Nelson, Associate Editor, email@example.com)
Materials Received Feb. 1-May 1 with thanks:
Ten Studies by Johannes Brahms arranged for low and high Tuba by John Van Houten
Double Concerto for Euphonium and Tuba (piano reduction) by James Grant
One More Dance CD recording featuring Tom McCaslin, tuba
One More Dance for tuba and piano by Roger Kellaway
Stuff for unaccompanied euphonium by James Grant
Vortex for tuba-euphonium quartet by Lon W. Chaffin
Concerto in D major by J.S. Bach (after Antonio Vivaldi) arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by Jack Adler-McKean (after M. Höff)
Souvenir de Porto Rico by Louis Gottschalk arranged by Gretchen Renshaw for tuba-euphonium sextet
Calabrese by Antonio Bazzini arranged for euphonium and piano by Patrick Geren
A Practical Guide to Wind Band Excerpts for the Euphonium by Robert Pendergast and Ryan McGeorge
Tuba Tunes, Four Pieces for Tuba and Piano by Austin Boothroyd
Every Day An Alleluia for euphonium, tuba, and piano by Barbara York
Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Simone Mantia arranged for euphonium duet and piano
Carnevale Di Venezia by Giovacchino Bimboni edited for euphonium and piano by Henry Howey
Suite for Tuba by John Paff
Concerto 2 for tuba and piano by James Woodward
Four Paintings by Grant Wood for tuba and piano by Barbara York
Farandole from “L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2” by Georges Bizet arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by Mark Dundore
Schutzen-Quadrille by Johann, Josef, and Eduard Strauss arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by Steven Cross
Lacrimosa from “Requiem” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arranged for euphonium quartet by Matthew Glass
Tubas of the Apocalypse for euphonium quartet by Benjamin McMillan
In Storm and Sunshine March by John Clifford Heed arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by George Palton
Overture from “Messiah” by Georg Frederic Handel arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by Steven Cross
The Thunderer by John Philip Sousa arranged for tuba-euphonium sextet by Steven Cross
The Circus Bee March by Henry Filmore arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by George Palton
And With His Stripes We Are Healed from “Messiah” arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by Steven Cross
Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod arranged for tuba-euphonium sextet by Steven Cross
Sonata A Quattro by Arcangelo Corelli arranged for tuba-euphonium quartet by Steven Cross
Libiamo Ne (the Drinking Song) from “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi arranged for tuba-euphonium octet by Steven Cross
Reviewed in this issue:
Concert Piece for Euphonium and Piano by Fernando Morais |Concerto for Oboe by Domenico Cimarosa arranged for euphonium and piano by Pat Stuckemeyer
Two Spanish Dances by Enrique Granados arranged for euphonium or tuba and piano by Ralph Sauer
Two Spanish Dances by Enrique Granados arranged for euphonium or tuba and piano by Ralph Sauer
Brass Quintet/Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble/Chamber Music
Ten Christmas Duets arranged for trombones or euphoniums by Kenneth Knowles
Three Marches: The Thunderer, El Capitan, The Liberty Bell by John Philip Sousa arranged for brass quintet by Roger Vogel
20th Century Brass CD recording featuring the New York Brass Quintet
Notes from the Underground CD recording featuring Benjamin Pierce, (euphonium and tuba) and Kristy Mezines, piano
Pierce plays Bach CD recording featuring Benjamin Pierce, euphonium and tuba
Chicago Moves CD recording featuring the Gaudete Brass
Sonata CD recording featuring Toby Hanks, tuba and David Pearl, piano
Sound Habits, Brass Builder for Tuba and Sound Habits, Brass Builder for Trombone and Baritone. Both books by Robert Sayer
The Sight-Reading Workbook: Tuba Edition by Dr. Richard A. Schwartz
Improv Duets for Classical Musicians by Jeffrey Agrell
Improvised Chamber Music by Jeffrey Agrell
Sound Habits, Brass Builder for Tuba and Sound Habits, Brass Builder for Trombone and Baritone by Robert Sayer. The Music Class 1875 Old Alabama Road Suite 815, Roswell, GA 30076. (770) 645-5578. www.TheMusicClass.com 2012. $20.
This book is billed on the title page as being “a series of rock and jazz play -along exercises to develop the tone quality, listening skills, and embouchure of the beginning tuba player” and is to be used as a “supplement with your current method book.” I really do like the concept here – allowing the student to hear the very tunes and exercises that he is playing also being played by a professional on his instrument. In these cases it is Scott Sutherland, tubist with the Presidio Brass and Sean Reusch, trombonist with the same group.
There are two CDs with each book. On the first CD, the first nine tracks are taken up with buzzing and playing exercises that don’t even require the student to read music. These are basically flexibility exercises, and the student hears the musician buzz F to B-flat for instance (I’m indicating the pitches for the tubists – trombonists and euphoniumists would be buzzing and playing exactly an octave higher), then the student imitates the pitch and length of the buzz instead of reading music. The series of descending fingerings (or slide positions) is indicated in the book. This way the student is much more dependent on his ear to play the exercise successfully.
The remaining eight tracks on the first CD and all 18 tracks on the second have corresponding written music in the book. Most of these are tunes are easily recognizable tunes (although I have to admit I had never heard All the Pretty Little Horses – we all have gaps in our education). Everything on both CDs have accompanying sounds, mostly of a rock nature (although Old MacDonald definitely has a country flavor, and Motherless Child has a more wistful jazzy background), even the flexibility exercises and the scales. In addition to the music, the student can fill out a crossword puzzle that is looking for such words as embouchure, mouthpiece, posture, practice, tongue and wind.
Half of the first parts of the books are taken up with text, most of it for the teacher rather than the student; although I hope the assumption is that the student will be reading the text as well. Some of this involves how the student will improve his pitch accuracy by listening to the recorded musician and hearing what is played rather than being dependent on the written note. Modeling his sound after the recorded musician also would help to improve the tone quality that is produced, too. Establishing good buzzing habits is stressed and producing a glissando in some of the exercises to increase the flexibility is emphasized.
There was one page that confused me a great deal when I first looked through the tuba book, and I spent entirely too much time trying to figure this one out. There are two drawings showing mouthpiece placement on the lips, the first one showing the mouthpiece high on the embouchure (“one third on the top lip and two thirds on the bottom lip”) and the second drawing with the lips exactly centered on the mouthpiece. The first one was labeled “Correct” and the second one labeled “Crone”. I spent too much time trying to figure out what was meant by “Crone.” Was this something new to me? Finally I looked in the trombone/euphonium book. It was an elaborate misspelling of “Wrong.” I hope they fix this, as I’m sure I’m not the only one who could be confused by this label. And I don’t really agree with this particular concept – every student’s mouth and situation is different. Look at Philip Farkas’ “The Art of Brass Playing” and see which Chicago Symphony musician’s embouchure is perfect by the above definition. I think this page needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Having said that, if the rest of the book can be taken to heart by young musicians, we will have a better crop of brass players in the future! This series is also available for trumpet and French horn.
~Michael Short, Senior Teaching Artist of Low Brass, Drake University
20th Century Brass CD recording featuring the New York Brass Quintet. Crystal Records Inc. 28818 NE Hancock Rd. Camas, WA 98607. (360) 834-7022. Fax: (360) 834-9680. firstname.lastname@example.org www.crystalrecords.com CD569. 2012. $16.95.
This is the third CD in a series of releases that Crystal Records is calling “The Legendary New York Brass Quintet.” For my recent reviews of the first two recordings in this series, please see the archives of this magazine. You’ll need to read those reviews to see why the New York Brass Quintet deserves the designation “legendary.” This CD picks up in musical history terms a little while after where the second CD left off, with the St. Petersburg romantic composers.
My first thought on seeing the playlist was “Where have I been the last thirty years?” Not only had I not heard of most of these compositions, some of the composers names were unfamiliar to me. I had heard of Karl Pliss (although I had not heard his Scherzo for Brass Quintet), William Presser, Gunter Schuller and, of course, Robert Nagel (whose brilliant trumpet playing is front and center for most of this CD). But I had not heard of Vittorio Rieti, Edward Miller, Frank Bennet or Stanley Weiner. That oversight on my part has now been rectified.
The subtitle on the disc itself reads “Archival Performances 1971-1980.” To be entirely accurate, it should have read 1971 and 1980. Four of these recordings are the actual performances when the Quintet appeared at the Atlanta Brass Symposium in February of 1971. The remainder all were recorded in the studio in New York in 1980, except the composition by Nagel himself, which was performed at the New England Conservatory.
I won’t try to describe all the pieces contained on this disc. It is what you would expect from mid-twentieth century music, although I found Rieti’s Incisioni to be a sparkling gem, and very accessible. Actually, I found all of these pieces grew on me the more I listened, and I credit the performances much more than the music itself. Everyone is at the top of their form here, and I thought that Toby Hanks plays with a clarity and confidence that should be the envy of us all.
You won’t find out much about the actual pieces themselves in the liner notes. Most of that is given over to biographies of the composers, so it is definitely informative. What struck me, though, was the page given over to “Performance Thoughts” by trumpeter Robert Nagel. In it is insight to how the group worked, and had this: “The Presser and Bennet works on this CD recording were each prepared in the time of one rehearsal…We mostly polished our performance of a work, not by nit-picking rehearsal, but by constantly listening to each other as we played it as many as twenty times or more during a concert tour. And when you have been making music as an ensemble for over twenty years, there is a difference. You develop a style. You are a team.” That seems obvious, but it is well worth pondering over that thought. And in listening to this CD, you hear a team in action, making music that will be listened to for years to come.
~Michael Short, Senior Teaching Artist of Low Brass, Drake University
Ten Christmas Duets arranged for trombones or euphoniums by Kenneth Knowles. Cherry Classics Music. 5462 Granville Street. Vancouver, B.C. V6M 3C3 Canada. (604) 261-5454. info@Cherry-Classics.com. www.Cherry-Classics.com. CC-2547. 2012. $10.
The trees lose their leaves, grass fades from green to brown, snow shoveling becomes a weekly chore; this is the time of year when tubas and euphoniums come together to play their renditions of Jingle Bells and Komm süßer Tod. The latest publication from Kenneth Knowles is a duet book containing ten of your favorite holidays classics including; O Tannenbaum, Jingle Bells, First Noel, Silent Night, Away in the Manger, and Joy to the World.
This book of duets is written for either trombones or euphoniums, or if lonely enough – bassoons. According to the composer, “These Christmas Duets are intended to combine melodic interplay and rhythmic interest while retaining the beauty of the classic melodies.” Duets such as these are a great way for students to work on rhythmic accuracy and intonation, and are suitable for high school students or the low brass hobbyist. The ranges for the instruments are: Euphonium/Trombone I: F-b-flat1, Euphonium /Trombone II: F-g1
This music does not stray too far from the original tunes, and because most people are already familiar with the music, getting them polished for performance would not demand a great deal of time. This music inspires joy and happiness to all who hear it, and also you – who perform it.
~ Stephen Kunzer, Oklahoma State University
The Sight-Reading Workbook is a helpful aide in audition preparation and developing sight-reading skills. Organized in two parts, this 36-page collection of over 150 examples will challenge many collegiate and professional players. The first part has exercises with only notes and rhythms, while exercises in the second part include articulation, dynamics, and other expressive elements.
The Sight-Reading Workbook is available for all the orchestral instruments; this volume appears to be the same material transposed for tuba. As such, tubists can now take on the challenges that Schwartz originally intended for other instruments. The author, Dr. Richard Schwartz, has transposed this collection of exercises for tuba with most of the pitches lying in the mid to low range for BB-flat or CC tubas (slightly more than two octaves, from EE-a-flat).
Although the range is not overly demanding for university or college students, other factors in this workbook are more challenging. Even though this book probably proves useful for instrumentalists developing their sight-reading skills, some of the exercises seem purposefully difficult and complicated. They contain seeming random changes in meter, key, and articulations. With that in mind, however, players who can successfully navigate these exercises should have few (if any) difficulties sight-reading more straightforward music. It will provide useful sight-reading practice for university or college students, especially if they routinely apply themselves.
A graduate of Temple University, the University of Michigan, and Boston University, Dr. Schwartz is the saxophone instructor and director of jazz studies at Southeastern Louisiana University. He has authored a number of other books including Circular Breath Now, Transitions: The Jazz Improvisation Workbook, The Turning C.D., and Mu$ic Money 101. Dr. Schwartz is holds several U.S. patents and aspires to produce a publishing web site that will carry some of his products and musical intonation training tools.
~Daniel C. Johnson, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Concert Piece for Euphonium and Piano by Fernando Morais is an excellent new addition to the euphonium repertoire. Fernando is unique in the sense that he is an accomplished horn and tuba player from South America. His academic training was focused towards chamber music, where he completed studies both in South America and in the US.
It is apparent that his emphatic feel for chamber music, and what works when collaborating between a soloist/accompaniment certainly rubbed off in his approach to composing this new work. Throughout the piece the euphonium has many sweeping lyrical lines, then suddenly a burst of sparse interjecting rhythmical figures. The piano accompaniment is very well written, enhancing the lyrical sweeping lines of the euphonium, and adding support to the moments of technical business that the soloist has.
This work would be a great recital opener, and should be doable by any able undergraduate/graduate student. I hope that it becomes a staple in our repertoire while receiving many performances in the years to come. Bravo!
~Aaron Tindall, DMA, Ithaca College. Buffet Group USA Inc. Besson/Meinl Artist
Notes from the Underground CD recording featuring Benjamin Pierce, euphonium and tuba, and Kristy Mezines, piano. Ribbet Records, 226 Music Building. The University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701 http://www.benpierce.com (479) 575-4197. 2012. $16.99.
Ben Pierce’s anticipated new CD, Notes from the Underground arrived in my mailbox and I immediately slapped it in the CD player to check it out. Wow, Wow, Wow is all I can say. After making us wait over three years, Ben has done it again! His album features a variety of works with a mixture of old, new, transcriptions, and original works. It includes two new commissions: the title track by Robert Mueller Notes from the Underground, and Cityscape by Allen Vizzutti.
Ben is the professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Arkansas and is the print editor of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association Journal. He has recorded three solo CDs and is a Miraphone performing artist. I have the honor of performing several times a year with Ben in the euphonium/baritone section of the Brass Band of Battle Creek along with Demondrae Thurman and Steven Mead. To read more of Ben’s diverse bio, please visit his website at http://www.benpierce.com.
Euphoniumists and tubists alike should purchase this CD because Ben’s playing is amazing on everything he touches. It is impossible to tell what instrument is or was his primary instrument His choice of works is cleverly laid out to keep you anticipating what is next. As expected, the CD begins with what Ben should title his next CD, Moto Perpetuo. Just when you thought you had heard him astound you with one Moto Perpetuo, he finds another one and does the same (as expected, in one breath)! Ben’s quick change from one style to the next is done with ease as he switches from euphonium to tuba and plays Eccles’ Sonata in G minor. Back on the euphonium, he plays three very difficult Spanish Dances as if he were playing the octave skips and leaps on a piano! Áron Romhányi’s Parallels is a three movement work that displays Ben’s ability as well as Kristy’s marvelous piano playing. I was not familiar with composer Joachim Raff, but upon hearing Ben’s rendition of his Cavatina, I did some research only to learn that Raff had composed 100’s of works varying from Symphonies, Violin Sonatas, Cello Sonatas, Suites for Piano, String Quartets, and many more!
Just when you thought you had heard it all, we arrive to the new commissions on this CD. Allen Vizzutti’s Cityscape is a concerto for tuba and piano that depicts the various parts of a City. My guess would be that this either New York City or Los Angeles! Uptown seems like rush hour as one hurries to work, Midtown depicts a stroll in the park or perhaps a lunch break away from the traffic and people, and Downtown sounds like a Friday night on the town that is full of excitement! Robert Mueller’s Notes from the Underground is a sonata for euphonium. Mueller serves on the faculty with Ben at the University of Arkansas where he is the director of the University Symphony Orchestra and teaches music theory and composition. His Notes from the Underground is one of the many highlights on this outstanding CD. It arrives at a perfect time on the CD just in time to take you to a sort of new place, “underground.” Each movement depicts a different mood and the interplay between the soloist and pianist shows that Robert is also a fine pianist as well as composer. Lastly, we arrive at the only unaccompanied work on the CD, Insects by concert pianist Elana Lebedeva. Also challenging, each movement depicts a different insect and requires a different mood. Some required techniques include: flutter tonguing, multiple tonguing, low and high register agility, as well as the ability to play expressively like that of a butterfly or dragonfly.
Throughout this CD, the balance of piano and soloist are excellent. It sounds very “live” and “real” and it is not the usual low brass recording that sounds like it was recorded in a huge church. I guarantee that you will find something, if not everything, on this CD that you will enjoy. It is a showcase of great talent as well as a showcase of great composers!
The program listing consists of Moto Perpetuo, op. 2 by Petar Christoskov (b. 1917); Sonata in G minor by Henry Eccles (1670-1742); Three Spanish Dances by Pablo De Sarasate (1844-1908) arranged Benjamin Pierce; Parallels – Áron Romhányi (b. 1974); Cavatina – Joachim Raff (1822-1882); Burleska – Joseph Suk (1874-1935) arr. Benjamin Pierce; Cityscape – Allen Vizzutti (b. 1952); Notes from the Underground – Robert Mueller (b. 1958) and Insects – Elana Lebedeva (b. 1957).
Not only is Ben an astounding player, he is a fine arranger and transcriber. I am not sure if all the works on this CD are available for purchase, but I do know that several works are available through Potenza at http://www.justforbrass.com .
~Gail Robertson, University Distinguished Fellow, Michigan State University, , Adjunct Lecturer-Artist/Teacher of Tuba and Euphonium, Eastern Michigan University, Willson International Euphonium Artist, SymbiosisDuo
Concerto for Oboe by Domenico Cimarosa arranged for euphonium and piano by Pat Stuckemeyer. Potenza Music Publishing. 336 Production Court, Louisville, KY 40299. Fax: (502) 365-1431. email@example.com. www.potenzamusic.com. 2010. $14.95.
Pat Stuckemeyer was a member of the applied faculty at Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ. Pat is a fine player and seems to be off to a very bright start to his career. He has three recordings so far. His first, Just for Fun, includes Concerto for Oboe by Italian composer, Domenico Cimarosa. The piece is in four movements which were originally written by the composer as separate pieces, but later compiled by Arthur Benjamin.
Each of the four movements; Introduzione, Allegro, Siciliana, and Allegro giusto, have distinct sounds, but are still solidly based in the Classical era. Movement I is flowing and melodic, movement II is brisk and energetic, movement III is introspective and sorrowful, while movement IV is bright and spirited. Movement I has a tempo of eighth note = 60 with thirty-second note rhythms. Movement II is marked quarter note = 104 with sixteenth notes as the predominant duration. Movement III is slower with a metronome marking of dotted quarter-note = 68. Finally, movement IV should be taken at dotted quarter = 84 and utilizes sextuplets principally. Range for Concerto for Oboe falls between B-flat and c2. There are extended passages in the high range which involve a great deal of endurance, especially during II Allegro. Included with the piano score are parts for treble and bass clef euphonium. All parts, including the piano score are clearly easy to read.
I would not be surprised to see this piece appear in euphonium studios. I will certainly have students perform this in the near future.
~Jeremy Lewis, West Texas A&M University
Pierce plays Bach CD recording featuring Benjamin Pierce, euphonium and tuba. Ribbet Records, 226 Music Building. The University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701 http://www.benpierce.com. (479) 575-4197. 2009. $15.00.
Dr. Benjamin Pierce is professor of euphonium and tuba at the University of Arkansas, and has won more than fifteen solo competitions on those instruments. If you have never heard Dr. Pierce perform (which is unlikely, unless you recently began following the euphonium-tuba community), this CD is an excellent example of the exacting technical and musical standards that he maintains.
This CD of music all composed by JS Bach is a monument to what years of hard work, determination, and intelligence can produce. Dr. Pierce recorded the entirety of the 24 tracks (60 minutes of music) of this CD in five days in late May 2009; though eight of the tracks are unaccompanied, the remaining 16 required overdubbing of up to three additional parts. In addition to playing all of the parts, Dr. Pierce arranged, recorded, edited, mixed and mastered the entire CD by himself.
As if this were not enough, the musical and technical content of the CD is more impressive. Although I appreciated his musical decisions and tasteful ornamentation in the unaccompanied Partita in A minor and the cello suites’ Preludes, what truly demonstrated his musical control was the accuracy of note lengths, fronts, intonation and temporal coordination in the overdubbing of Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Though I am sure he was listening to previously recorded tracks to coordinate accelerandos and note-lengths, his control and commitment to musical perfection is truly inspirational.
As much as I was inspired by the ensemble skills demonstrated by Dr. Pierce in Toccata and Fugue, I thought that it was interesting that he chose to play with less note-decay on the euphonium parts than on the tuba parts in the Two-Part Inventions. I suppose it could be argued that this was determined by the harpsichordal origins of the Inventions, whereas the Toccata was originally composed for pipe organ, which does not naturally decay in volume. However, Bach had indicated on his original manuscript that the Inventions were pedagogical pieces for keyboard, which could have been organ as much as keyboard instruments that do not sustain; thus this argument fails to stand under further scrutiny. Regardless, the performer remains consistent through the performance of each piece, and more importantly, it all sounds great!
I also think that Dr. Pierce made a wise decision in recording in a local church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as the resonance provides the CD with almost a harmonic accompaniment, particularly striking in arpeggiations and faster melodic leaps in the unaccompanied selections. But you can decide for yourself by listening to samples of each track at http://www.benpierce.com/?page_id=15.
Bravo, Ben, I will certainly be referencing this CD to my own students as an example of what a single musician can accomplish with modern technological tools, the highest musical standards, and a ton of hard work!
~Jason Byrnes, University of Northern Colorado
Three Marches: The Thunderer, El Capitan, The Liberty Bell by John Philip Sousa arranged for brass quintet by Roger Vogel. Cor Publishing Company distributed by Wiltshire Music Company. 204 Toronto Avenue, Massapequa, NY 11758. (516) 541-9233. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.wiltshiremusic.com. BE 204. 2012. $25.00.
It has been said that every concert must contain a march. Very often this comes in the form of a Sousa march. John Philip Sousa, also known as the “March King,” was an American composer and conductor well known for his band and military marches. This arrangement by Roger Vogel, contains three of his most famous marches: The Thunderer, El Capitan, and The Liberty Bell, all written between 1889 and 1896. Dr. Vogel is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Georgia. He has received numerous commissions and awards, and his works have been performed at conventions and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, and South America.
Dr. Vogel’s arrangements are all well suited for a younger college or advanced high school quintet, and I believe this was his intent. Ranges for all the instruments (Trumpet I in B-flat: d1 – c3, Trumpet II in B-flat: c-sharp1 – b2, French horn: g – f-sharp1, Trombone: F – f1, Tuba: FF – a) are appropriate for younger players, and Dr. Vogel chose marches that are not overly difficult to begin with. If you are looking for music for a July 4th, Veteran’s Day, or every day concert, you can do no wrong in programming one or all of these arrangements.
~Brian Gallion, Southeastern Louisiana University
Chicago Moves CD recording featuring the Gaudete Brass. Cedille Records. 1205 W.Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640. (773) 989-2515. www.cedillerecords.org . CDR 90000 134. 2012. $16.00 CD, MP3 download $7.00, flac 24-bit (studio quality) download, $12.00.
Gaudete Brass is an exciting new “youthful” quintet based out of Chicago. Known for their dedication to new music, they have made their debut recording, Chicago Moves, with Grammy award winning Cedille Records. Every piece on the album is a premiere, especially written/arranged for Gaudete Brass. Discs that feature never before heard/recorded works are personal favorites of mine, and Gaudete does not disappoint!
“Gaudete” means to “rejoice” in Latin, and James Woodward has certainly taken that into consideration in his composition Gaudete. This is the group’s opener at most of their concerts. The piece is energetic in nature, keeping a sense of drive alive amidst sweeping melodic lines intricately passed through each member of the group.
John Cheetham needs no introduction to the brass world, and Gaudete gives a precise reading of his Sonata for Brass Quintet. The tempo/feel of each section is spot on, and the character remains consistent throughout.
Brian Baxter’s A Great Commercial City, infuses a rich harmonic texture throughout, while portraying through his intense writing what the great city of Chicago is about. This piece is a welcome addition to the brass quintet repertoire, and will be heard on many of Gaudete’s future residencies/tours.
Helios , by Stacy Garrop explores the sonic prowess of this fine brass quintet, while David Sampson evokes the powerful capabilities of the group through his ingenious Chicago Moves. The flugelhorn and horn writing here in Sampson’s work is simply exquisite, and the performers have certainly brought every ounce of passionate precision into line with what he must have envisioned. This is a stellar new piece, brilliantly played by Gaudete. Joan Tower’s Copperwave closes out the disc, and is a likeable piece for any adept listener.
Gaudete is an exciting quintet that is succeeding in an age where it is extremely competitive to make it as a touring group. They will undoubtedly stand the test of time, and are to be commended on their gleaming first recording, Chicago Moves.
~Aaron Tindall, DMA, Ithaca College. Buffet Group USA Inc. Besson/Meinl Artist
Improv Duets for Classical Musicians by Jeffrey Agrell. GIA Publications, Inc. 7404 South Mason Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638. (800) 442-1358 or (708) 496-3800. Fax: (708) 496-3828. www.giamusic.com. G-8381. 2013. $16.95.
Improvised Chamber Music by Jeffrey Agrell. GIA Publications, Inc. 7404 South Mason Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638. (800) 442-1358 or (708) 496-3800. Fax: (708) 496-3828. www.giamusic.com. G-8380. 2013. $18.95.
Jeffrey Agrell is Associate Professor of Horn at the University of Iowa. In addition to teaching horn, Agrell also instructs courses in improvisation and creativity. I had the pleasure of trying out and reviewing an earlier publication by Agrell in this journal (Improv Games for One, ITEA Journal, Vol. 37, no. 4). The last book on improvisation that I reviewed was for an individual performer. These new books are for multiple musicians and offer a great variety of suggestions for experiencing improvisation with a partner or a chamber ensemble. Many classical musicians approach improvisation with some anxiety, but Agrell provides simple instructions and exercises to eliminate some of the discomfort that many associate with improvisation. Some of the exercises in these books were developed in part for a course taught by Agrell entitled “Improvisation for Classical Musicians.”
Each book is divided into different game sections. Both books contain games in the following categories: warm-up, rhythm, melody, harmony, accompaniment, depiction, style, miscellaneous. Improv Duets for Classical Musicians also has additional games like aural games and technique games. Improvised Chamber Music also has nontraditional score games, timbre games, texture games, and vocal games. Each game has a set of instructions that establish clear boundaries and parameters for the performers with some suggested variations and tips. Some games even extend the performers beyond their primary instrument to percussion instruments, glasses, and their own voice. Both books include a resource section with information about scales, key patterns, and the names of musical styles, forms, and familiar tunes.
Many of these games push the performers to think abstractly and create music with minimal direction. As an example, one of the nontraditional score games in Improvised Chamber Music involves magazine ads. Each player selects an ad from a magazine and gives it to a different player in the group. Each player plays music based upon their ad. The improvisation is continued with variations lead by one player in the group like ad rotation, ad replacement, and ad modification. This game and others like it allow the player to access their own musical experiences to improvise. Many times improvisation is associated exclusively with jazz music, but Agrell’s improvisation games extend improvisation into a whole variety of situations and musical styles. Both of these books provide the performer with dozens of games to practice improvisation and musical creativity and are highly recommended.
~Daniel Brown, Artist-In-Residence, University of Nevada at Las Vegas
Two Spanish Dances by Enrique Granados arranged for euphonium or tuba and piano by Ralph Sauer. Cherry Classics Music. 5462 Granville Street. Vancouver, B.C. V6M 3C3 Canada. (604) 261-5454. info@Cherry-Classics.com. www.Cherry-Classics.com. CC-2545. $17.50. 2012.
Enrique Granados (1867-1916) was a Spanish composer bridging the late 19th and early 20th centuries primarily known for his piano works. The two selections in this arrangement are second and third dances respectively from 1890 composition 12 Danzas Españolas for solo piano. Other arrangements that have been done from this collection of pieces include saxophone quartet as well as cello and piano. The keys for the tuba version are D minor and F major respectively. The euphonium keys are B minor and D major. Because the euphonium range is F-d2 and the tuba range is AA-f, this work has a somewhat larger range than its difficulty rating since most of passages are melodic and feature step sequences much more than arpeggios or awkward leaps. The first movement, Oriental, is a dance that is rather slow with a middle 6/8 section that exploits some of typical Spanish embellishments so popular with many dance forms. The second movement, Fandango, is much quicker with happy-go-lucky melodies and a lighter texture. The final arpeggiated sequence requires nimble fingers and a strong sense of pitch to get all of the notes in their proper order.
I found these two dance movements to be delightful as I recently performed them in a recital. They would work well for many undergraduate or graduate level recitals on either instrument. Kudos goes to the arranger Ralph Sauer and the Cherry Classics Music Company for their continual output of quality arrangements.
~Mark Nelson, Pima Community College
Sonata CD recording featuring Toby Hanks, tuba and David Pearl, piano. Planesong Records. PS101. 1996. Exclusively distributed by Crystal Records Inc. 28818 NE Hancock Rd. Camas, WA 98607. (360) 834-7022. Fax (360) 834-9680. email@example.com. www.crystalrecords.com. $16.95.
Toby Hanks was tubist with the New York Brass Quintet from1967-1984. He was also tubist for many years with the New York City Ballet Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra. Before that, he played with the San Antonio, Puerto Rico, and Minneapolis Symphonies. He was a long-time teacher at the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and the New England Conservatory. This CD recording, originally released in 1996, is now exclusively available through Crystal Records. Many of the now standard works for tuba are found on this CD. The program includes the Jacques Castérède Sonatine for Tuba and Piano, the Sonata for Tuba and Piano by William Schmidt, Alec Wilder’s Elegy for the Whale, the Jan Kostier Sonatina for Tuba and Piano, Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro originally for horn or cello and piano, and ends with the Louis Pisciotta Sonata for Tuba and Piano.
As a reviewer, I am always interested in the sound, balance, and repertoire on a recording. This recording has it all. The sound is clear and resonant and the balance is just about perfect. I think if anything, the piano is occasionally not loud enough to balance the robust tuba sound Hanks achieves. For teachers, students, and professionals, the repertoire on this disc represents many of the finest works that tout melody above all.
Of all the works on this recording, I admire above all the performance of the Pisciotta Sonata, written in 1961 and premiered by Ivan Hammond in 1962. It is a work I was not familiar with but it captivates the imagination with more contemporary harmonies but always within the context of melodic solo lines. It is a work worthy of many future performances. I have played and taught students the Kostier Sonatina for years. I am a bit disappointed the energy and slower tempi of this performance did not move me as much as other performances on this disc although the Sonatina is a terrific work for tuba and piano. The other works are on the program are all excellently performed. In fact, the performance of the complete Castérède Sonatine is the best I have ever heard and there are many recordings of this work currently available.
Toby Hanks is one of the great American tubists who carved out a huge niche in orchestral playing, chamber music, and solo performances at the highest level. His Toby Hanks, Tuba recording (CD 395), originally called SAMPLER Toby Hanks, Tuba (S395 LP), is also available from Crystal Records. It has long been sought as a must-have recording. The Sonata CD now follows that same path and also shares the same recording engineer, Mike Farrow. It is curious that the Toby Hanks, Tuba CD includes the Elegy of the Whale work by Alec Wilder which must be the same recording in the Sonata CD since the original Sampler LP released in 1978 does not have this work. Very curious!
Crystal Records, Inc. is to be commended for seeking out and distributing older recordings like this Sonata CD as well as the New York Brass Quintet series, and others. Sonata is just as “top drawer” as many of the more recent tuba recordings released within the last decade or so.
~Mark Nelson, Pima Community College