Mark Nelson, Associate Editor
Materials Received November 1–February 1 with thanks:
Majestic Journey CD recording featuring Adam Frey, euphonium and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Passages CD recording featuring Tom Heasley, tuba and Toss Panos, drums
Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner transcribed for tuba quartet by David Sabourin
Perfecting Your Practice for Peak Performance text by Mick Hesse
Prelude and Fugue in G minor by J.S. Bach arranged for tuba quartet by David Sabourin
Ave Verum Corpus by W.A. Mozart arranged for tuba quartet by David Sabourin
Concerto for Tuba (piano reduction) by Darrol Barry
Concerto for Euphonium and Orchestra by Clarence Barber (score and piano reduction)
Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by Clarence Barber (score and piano reduction)
Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians text by Jeffrey Agrell
Tuba Helper: Solos for the Developing Tubist CD recording featuring David Zerkel, tuba and Paolo Gualdi, piano
Refractions CD recording featuring the Sotto Voce Quartet
Isolation CD recording featuring the pan-metropolitan trio (Stefan Kac, tuba)
One Clear Call CD recording featuring Nick Etheridge, tuba
Ryan Keberle Double Quartet CD recording featuring Jose Davila, tuba
Reviewed in this issue:
Waltz of the Marmalade Drinker for euphonium and piano by Ivor Hodgeson
Random Passages for solo euphonium, piano and percussion ensemble by Barton Cummings
The Prayer of Elijah for solo euphonium and wind orchestra by Jesse Ayers
Concerto for Tuba by Darrol Barry, piano adaptation by Roy Newsome
Sonata in C minor Op. 1 No. 8 by G. F. Handel arranged for tuba and piano by Ian Foster One Clear Call for tuba and piano by David Powell
Mood Swings for tuba and piano by Kenneth D. Friedrich
Confliction for unaccompanied bass tuba by Adrian Morris
Brass Quintet/Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble/Chamber Music
Americana Collection (The Star Spangled Banner; America, the Beautiful; Battle Hymn of the Republic) arranged for brass quintet by John Jay Hilfiger
Ave Verum Corpus by W.A. Mozart arranged for euphonium-tuba quartet by David Sabourin
Pastyme with Good Company (attributed to King Henry VIII) arranged for brass quintet by Adam Krosberg
Prelude & Fugue in G minor by J.S. Bach transcribed and arranged for euphonium-tuba quartet by David Sabourin
Suite for Six Tubas for three euphoniums and three tubas by Barton Cummings
Locus Isteby Anton Bruckner arranged for tuba quartet by David Sabourin
Adagio for Brassfor brass septet by Benjamin Foisel
Gran Fanfare DVD recording featuring the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble conducted by Thomas Clamor
Passages CD recording of Tom Heasley, tuba, voice, electronics and Toss Panos, drums
Legacy: Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble 40th Anniversary All-Star Ensemble CD recording with R. Winston Morris, conductor
Majestic Journey CD recording featuringAdam Frey, euphonium
Tuba Helper: Solos for the Developing Tubist CD recording featuring David Zerkel, tuba and Paolo Gualdi, piano
Perfecting Your Practice for Peak Performancefor Trumpet or Cornet by Mick Hesse
Inside John Haynie’s Studio: A Master Teacher’s Lessons on Trumpet and Life. Essays by John Haynie, compiled and arranged by Anne Hardin
Waltz of the Marmalade Drinker by Ivor Hodgeson for euphonium and piano. Warwick Music, 1 Broomfield Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, England CV5 6JW. www.warwickmusic.com. 2005. Catalogue #EU008. 6:30. $16.95.
I first came across the name Ivor Hodgeson some five years ago when a trumpet player friend of mine came back from the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Dallas, Texas, and gave me a conference program. In 2003, Mr. Hodgeson composed a trumpet concerto for Patrick Addinall (principal trumpet of the BBC Philharmonic) and the Dallas Wind Symphony that my friend raved about. So, seeing Mr. Hodgeson’s name on a new work for euphonium and piano catches my interest.
Currently a member of the bass section of the BBC Philharmonic orchestra in Manchester, UK, Mr. Hodgeson has six concerti to his credit: one for piano, trumpet, trombone, bassoon, contra-bassoon, and yes, accordion. So far as I can tell, this is his only work for euphonium, and I must confess that I hope more are on the way.
As the title Waltz of the Marmalade Drinker suggests, this is a work that is light in nature. Approaching the piece from that mindset, however, will lead to disaster. In a word, the composition is demanding, and depending on speed, can present a serious dilemma for an average player. While the overall feel throughout the work remains a waltz, the work is divided into three principal sections, each having their own set of difficulties. The second section, in particular, has a significant set of lines that demand serious preparation time, both individually for the clarity of the technique, and with the piano accompaniment, as many of the measures are trade-offs between accelerando, allargando, and rubato.
In terms of range, the work sits fairly high, with the lowest note being E-flat, and the highest being a1. While this sounds normal, the vast majority of the piece sits above the staff (in bass clef, and in the upper half of the treble clef). As with everything from Warwick (they have only 11 euphonium publications at this time), the appearance is smart, clean, and very legible. Don’t be deceived by the title. This is a challenging work that deserves a look.
~Jason D. Ham, Yamaha Euphonium Performing Artist
Random Passages for solo euphonium, piano, and percussion ensemble by Barton Cummings. Brassworks 4 Publishing, 461 Sunrise Pkwy, Farmington, N.M. 87401 (505) 860-8122; www.brassworks4.com. 2007. Catalogue # BW495 $18.
Barton Cummings has again shown his ability to successfully compose works for the tuba/euphonium family. He began his career as a tuba soloist commissioning new works for the tuba (nearly five dozen). Now he has transitioned to writing quality literature for the instrument.
In his latest work, Random Passages, he showcases the solo euphonium accompanied by piano and percussion ensemble. The writing in this does not appear unbelievably difficult at first glance; however, many new challenges will be presented to the soloist by playing with a percussion ensemble. The first challenge is recognizing when to sound like a percussive instrument and when to take the soloist role with the melody. The second challenge is maintaining the rhythmic integrity in the solo with complex rhythms over a rhythmic accompaniment. The third challenge is set-up and balance. The set-up of this large ensemble can tend to be problematic, and it is important that balance is a key focus within the set-up.
The percussion writing in this solo is very enjoyable to listen to. Mr. Cummings has done a wonderful job of not letting the accompaniment role detract from the true beauty of a percussion ensemble—the unique sounds and rhythmic playing. While the solo euphonium part is not challenging in regards to range (E to b1), the rhythmic writing will require thorough preparation. I believe the title of the work captures the essence of the solo perfectly. It seems like there are many “random passages” throughout the solo. Sometimes they relate to previous material and sometimes they are completely random. The score is set is quite “clean” looking, as are all the publications from Brassworks 4 Publishing.
I recommend this solo for the college soloist, not only because of the difficulty of the source material but due to the challenges of finding a competent percussion ensemble with the sensitivity and flexibility to accompany a soloist. This work creates a unique sound palette for the listener.
~Kelly Thomas, University of Arizona
The Prayer of Elijah for solo euphonium and wind orchestra by Jesse Ayers. www.jesseayaers.com. 8:00. $10 Solo part, $80 Band Accompaniment, $60 PDF License Band set, $40 Rental Band set.
The Prayer of Elijah is the latest work to come from the pen of Jesse Ayers. This is the middle movement of …and they gathered on Mount Carmel, a work based on the great contest in ancient Israel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The Prayer of Elijah is significant enough to be performed as a single movement.
For the performance of this work there are several performers offstage behind the audience. Ayers writes that this is the first of his “surround-sound” works. It appears in looking at the score that this effect will produce a unique experience for the audience.
The work starts off with all the brass section blowing air through the instrument creating a “lonely, eerie wind.” At the same time tubes are twirled creating a whirling sound. The euphonium presents the initial melodic material that was stated in the previous movement by the clarinets. Moments after the euphonium plays, offstage alto saxophones repeat the melody creating an echo effect. The euphonium continues to offer its “prayer” for the next 30 measures. The accompaniment consists of sustained chords in the woodwinds and the violins (or synthesizer keyboard). The piece dies away with the wind fading away and a few simple chords in the mallet percussion and the piano. The composer provides the following information about the work:
“The prophets of Baal having failed to call down fire to consume their sacrifice, it is now Elijah’s turn to call upon the God of Israel. The composer imagines an almost unearthly quiet, intensified by a low wind, as all eyes turn to Elijah. In contrast to the ranting and raving and bloodletting of the false prophets, Elijah utters a quiet prayer. The effect of the brass blowing air through their horns, the “whistling” of the plastic tubes being twirled, and the synthesizer “string” inverted pedal point creates the sense of eerie silence. The euphonium intones a prayer, which echoes about the mountain (offstage saxophones). Melody is the predominant parameter of this movement to contrast the emphasis on rhythm in the first. The euphonium solo is a development of thematic material presented by the clarinets in the previous movement.”
The simplicities of the textures created produce a work that is just as the composer intended, a beautiful prayer. The “surround-sound” aspect of the performance is a compositional tool that can be difficult to achieve correctly but formulates a wonderful and worthwhile result for the listener.
The notes included in the score include instructions regarding seating arrangement, positioning of off-stage performers, performance notes, program notes, and a short biography. Mr. Ayers should also be commended for his effort to make his composition accessible. Not only is there the traditional way of purchasing the music on his website, but it can also be downloaded in PDF format. I would highly recommend this work as a contemporary work that features the euphonium as the solo voice with a wind orchestra.
~Kelly Thomas, University of Arizona
Concerto for Tuba by Darrol Barry, piano adaptation by Roy Newsome. Studio Music Company, Cadence House, Eaton Green Road, Beds. LU2 9LD, England. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.studio-music.co.uk. 2006. 15:30. £15.
Darrol Barry studied music at Salford under Roy Newsome, Goff Richards, David Loukes and Geoff Whitham. After leaving Salford he studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London with Joseph Horowitz. He became a freelance composer and arranger working for several publishing houses including Studio Music, Wright and Round, Bernaerts Music, and Obrasso. Darrol also taught as a part time lecturer on the degree courses at Salford University, Barnsley and Accrington and Rossendale.
In March 2002 Darrol took up his position as Composer and Arranger-in-Residence to the Royal Guard of Oman and provides music for the bands, big band, pipe, and drums and the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra.
Written for Steve Sykes, the Concerto for Tuba was recorded by Les Neish with Foden’s Richardson Brass Band on the Polyphonic Label (Sunburst, QPRL 221D). Obviously, this virtuoso work presents many challenges to the musician. Mainly, the bulk of the difficulty rests in the writing that uses technically complex rhythmic passages that contain many varied articulations including some quick movements between staccato and slurred passages, as well as making distinctions between accented and unaccented material. This creates a varied landscape that keeps the listener engaged and interested throughout the duration of the piece. The interaction between the accompaniment and the soloist is varied and full of many beautiful lines and colors which in turn add to the virtuosic nature of the writing.
For example, the piece begins with some very decisive material in the form of an eight-measure sixteenth-note passage that leads into a very exciting ritmico section. This continues for some time until more melodic material makes an appearance, followed by a return of fast scalar material, which eventually concludes the movement in a flurry. The second movement, “Lento,” begins with very elegant writing that contrasts the first movement appropriately. Barry builds the energy steadily through the movement with the use of more technically demanding but beautiful material. He concludes the movement with a return of material from the “Lento” eventually bringing it to an end with a sigh. The third movement, indicated as “Energico,” immediately begins with a building figure that is eventually continued using the tuba. This interplay continues throughout along with a few dramatic moments that add to the already virtuosic experience and concludes with a wildly energetic ending. This gives a firm conclusion to a very demanding yet effective work.
The production values of the work by Studio Music Company are very high. The piece is thoughtfully laid out for the soloist and is very clear and easy to read, including the piano part. The range for the tuba is very accessible, DD-flat to f1, and is very appropriate to the bass tuba. A fine addition to the literature for tuba, The Concerto for Tuba by Darrol Barry will surely become a mainstay in the repertoire for years to come.
~Chris Combest, DMA Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sonata in C minor Op. 1 No. 8 by G. F. Handel arranged for tuba and piano by Ian Foster. Warwick Music, 1 Broomfield Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, England CV5 6JW. +44 (0)24 7671 2081; +44 (0)24 7671 2550 (fax); email@example.com; www.warwickmusic.com. 2007. Catalogue #TU023. $16.95.
This is a standard baroque four-movement sonata that is at times a little off the beaten path. The movements are arranged in the typical slow-fast -slow fast sequence. The first, an “Adagio” is also marked “Grave” with the eighth note as the fundamental beat. There are some thirty-second notes, but those are easily idiomatic for the instrument. The only ornaments are trills. The arranger has the next to last phrase at the bottom of the bass clef staff, but inserts an ossia up the octave that actually seems like it would be the correct place to play the phrase (although this brings the player to an f1). So maybe the ossia should have been the lower octave?
The “Allegro” second movement has a theme that moves in eighth notes through the chord progression, but in a way that almost has a twentieth century flavor to it. The chord tones in the melody have several tritone skips and sound a little odd when you are expecting to hear the Handel of the Messiah or Water Music. You will also find a four-measure run of sixteenth notes that some players would find quite challenging, and possibly force them to drop a note to make the phrase. The arranger is no help, you’ll have to figure that one out for yourself.
The “Adagio” third movement is in 3/2 meter, primarily in half notes, but with moving quarters and some thirty-second notes. Not having been able to put my hands on the original rendition of this sonata, I wonder if these are written out ornamentations. There are trills and a mordant ornamentation. The final movement is a “Bouree Angloise” (English Bouree). The form is AB, both repeated, and on the repeat the arranger gives embellishments to use, replacing a series of ascending quarter notes with triplets. In other spots, he adds a mordant, some grace notes, and a rallentando at the end.
I would use this Sonata with a very good high school player or a college student, but only after that student has played a few Marcello sonatas to ease them into the style. This would be a good addition to a young college player’s recital program, although for their senior recital, I would want something with just a bit more meat on it. There is, as we find with a lot of British publications, a part for E-flat bass, in treble clef. The range in use on this publication (in bass clef, of course) is D to d1. The ossia part extends the upper range to f1.
~Michael Short, Drake University
One Clear Call for tuba and piano by David Powell. Warwick Music, 1 Broomfield Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, England CV5 6JW. +44 (0) 24 7671 2081; +44 (0) 24 7671 2550 (fax); firstname.lastname@example.org; www.warwickmusic.com. 2006. Catalogue #TU022. $17.95.
Mr. Powell wrote this piece after he was invited by Kathy Gifford, conductor of the Aylesbury Music Centre Brass Band to play some solos as part of “Monster Brass Day 2003.” The piece he wrote was called Some Kind of Something, of which this is the first movement. It is dedicated to Mr. Powell’s wife.
Over a soft open fifth, F–C, marked “bell like” in the piano, the soloist plays his “call” at the top of the staff, outlining F minor in open chords, then in running sixteenth notes all the way down to low C. After running to g1, we see an entire line of black note heads, without the stem, like we used to see in music school doing twelve-tone rows. If this seems a bit improvisatory, it is. The composer writes, “The soloist is encouraged to play in a spontaneous way, as if improvising, and may vary or decorate the written line. In fact, the cadenzas at the beginning and end could be improvised….” The only exception is the last few measures of the piece, which he wants played as written. In fact, once the piano stops playing the open fifths and begins a rhythmic ostinato, the solo part retains an improvised feel.
This is one of the few recent compositions that I have seen where the tuba retains the solo role almost exclusively. There are a few extended piano only moments, where I’m sure in the original form were for the band to come to the fore, but these mostly change the mood. Only in one instance does the piano repeat material that the tubist has played. The piece ends as it began with the improvisatory section, the piano intoning its F–C open fifth and the solo evoking F minor until the last couple of lines, where the d-flat is retained, but pitch “a” appears more and more, and which serves as the ending solo pitch.
Technically, there is not a lot of difficulty here. The range is more indicative of the true level of difficulty here, which the publisher lists as “Advanced,” and I would agree. The overall range of the solo is C to g1, but 95% of the solo is above f, and playing six or seven minutes in that range is quite taxing. This solo is college level and above. I don’t think it is available yet with band accompaniment, but I would like to hear it that way. I think it probably deserves more colors than the piano can provide.
~Michael Short, Drake University
Mood Swings for tuba and piano by Kenneth D. Friedrich. Available as PDF download or printed copy through www.kfsbrasschamber.com. Catalogue #KDF-10069. $15.50.
I found Mr. Friedrich’s website very easy to navigate, including very helpful PDF and sound files of many works so you do not get the feeling of “buying blind” as is often the case. Also, the website offered the option to download a sound file of the accompanying part with each solo purchase to help with rehearsal if a “live” pianist is not readily available!
Kenneth Friedrich had his first tuba ensemble experience under Dr. Kenneth Singleton at New Mexico State University in 1983, and since then he has amassed a body of over 100 pieces mostly written for euphonium and tuba. He has done commission works and is available for school workshops and ensemble sessions. He is fortunate to have time for “a life” in Austin, Texas with wife and kids.
Solo part ranges are from EE-flat to e-flat1, with nice excursions to both top and bottom end without spending so much time dwelling in either. The moods do swing from “amoroso” to “happily” through a more introspective “adagio” before finally gathering steam for a rollicking finish! This through-composed work has nicely marked slurs, grace notes and different triplet figures. Much of the dynamic interpretation is left up to the performer, and there are several quasi-cadenza moments that can be nicely “juiced.” They serve primarily as lead-ins to the next mood section, working well, leaving only the question, “why the double flats?” It could easily be a music writing program issue, or a “this is how the key is really spelled” issue. Another notation issue was grouping some of the “swing” rhythms in the faster sections over two beats—once you take a moment to figure the counting out, the groupings do remain consistent throughout.
All aside, the piece really works. I would probably play this on F tuba but have also read it on CC and had a student read it on BB-flat. The accompaniment is complimentary and is a nice vehicle for the solo without becoming overbearing. We are fortunate to have another solid solo work, suitable for college, professional, or advanced high school players.
~Phillip C. Black, Wichita State University & Wichita Symphony
Confliction for unaccompanied bass tuba by Adrian Morris. Warwick Music, 1 Broomfield Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, England CV5 6JW. +44 (0) 24 7671 2081; +44 (0) 24 7671 2550 (fax); email@example.com; www.warwickmusic.com. 4:40. $10.95.
Adrian Morris is currently the bass trombonist with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester and teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has had an active career in orchestras and bands throughout England and Ireland. Newer to the game of composition he currently has two pieces available Confliction and Saddleworth Sounds, both originally for the bass trombone. Confliction was premiered by the composer at the Repton Trombone Festival in 2001, and Michael Johnson premiered the tuba version in 2003. More can be learned about Mr. Morris at his website, www.bass-trombone.co.uk
The range of Confliction is quite extreme, as the title would infer. The tubist is asked to play at least from DD to f1, with optional notes from AAA up to b-flat1. The score is computer-generated and very easy to read, with attention to detail in marking dynamics, articulations, and, even, the measure numbers. The page turn between measures 106 and 107 can be done cleanly by extending the niente figure ending measure 106, but it might have been easier to have a tri-fold page, rather than the booklet style. The upside to this booklet style is that the music itself is well protected by the full-color, card stock cover.
As with the range of the piece, the style changes in the piece are extreme and, often, quite abrupt, with little transitory material to link one to another. Confliction is something of a tour-de-force where the tubist can show everything they are able to do in less than five minutes. The program to the piece is interesting; the titular conflict is that between “serious” and “popular” musical styles. Orchestral brass players (like the composer) make their living playing symphonic music, but sometimes harbor a love for “lighter” styles.
Confliction opens with a slow, simple melody in D minor that will remind tubists of the solo from Mahler’s first symphony. This material is an opportunity for the tubist to show a sense of phrasing and a beautiful sound. It is followed by a waltz that the composer characterizes as “jazzy” but is played with straight eighth notes. The next section (“Heavy Swing,” m. 42) goes back and forth between 3/4 and 4/4 meter and between swing and straight eighth notes as the protagonist gets used to the jazz style. The orchestral mentality regains control for a brief “grave” section before the character moves into “another flight of fancy, this time with a quasi-Mexican feel to it. We wander in and out (of) a cheeky 5 and 6 in a measure with a happy holiday feel about it.” (warwickmusic.com). After a short section marked “reflectively,” the new music wins out and there is a recapitulation of the “Heavy Swing material.” The piece ends on a glissando from f1 to FF.
Because of the technical, range, and stylistic challenges of the piece, it is quite difficult and will probably be most readily handled by the advanced college student or professional. While the composer specifies “bass tuba,” much of the piece lies in the middle and lower registers, so there is an argument for using BB-flat or CC contrabass tuba instead of F or E-flat. This reviewer found it most comfortable on E-flat tuba.
~Thomas J. Ricer, DMA Student, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
Brass Quintet/Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble/Chamber Music
Americana Collection (The Star Spangled Banner; America, the Beautiful; Battle Hymn of the Republic) arranged for brass quintet by John Jay Hilfiger. Brassworks 4 Publishing, 461 Sunrise Pkwy, Farmington, N.M. 87401. wwww.brassworks4.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. Catalogue #BW451. $16.
A search found much biographical and published music information at http://users.penn.com/~jhilf. In a nutshell, John Jay Hilfiger’s musical career has spanned over thirty years. He studied horn at the Eastman School of Music, received a Ph.D. in music from the University of Iowa, and has since played professionally and served on the faculties of several institutions. Currently, provided my information is current, he is on the faculty of Castleton State College of Vermont and devotes much time to composing and arranging.
This is a most excellent collection at a very reasonable price to add to a quintet’s basic library—perfect for interspersing with marches on July 4th, providing reflective or triumphant “patriotic moments” depending on the selection. Great care is taken throughout to pass the melody around the group, and pairings are switched often enough that both listener and player will perceive these as a breath of fresh air blown into some very familiar tunes. Tuba range is from FF to e-flat and would probably “feel” best when played on BB-flat or CC tuba. While still playable on the higher e-flat or f tuba, the player might be fighting clarity at times. Range for the other instruments is no issue, and they too would probably relish a reading of this composer’s treatment of these classic hits. On this, an election year, you never know who your quintet might be asked to play for—but this set would be very handy!
Score, parts, printing, all live up to the high standard we have come to associate with Brassworks 4 Publishing.
~Phillip C. Black, Wichita State University & Wichita Symphony
Ave Verum Corpus by W.A. Mozart arranged for euphonium-tuba quartet by David Sabourin. Touch of Brass Music, 1984. Cherry Classics Music, 5462 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6M 3C3. (604) 261-5454; www.cherry-classics.com. Catalogue #125. 3:00. Medium difficulty. $7.50.
This famous choral work by Mozart arranged by David Sabourin is another great offering from Gordon Cherry of Cherry Classics. It presents the classic challenges to ensemble playing in conjunction with familiar, easy to hear writing. The thematic material is shared among all the parts and is very straight forward in nature. The top euphonium part does include the use of one single grace note, and the lower tuba part utilizes divisi sparingly, both are very minor in use and should not present any problems whatsoever. Being at a medium difficulty level allows for access by a wide range of groups from high school into college. Though this is primarily a quartet composition, this may be effective as an ensemble piece as well.
Ranges for the different parts are euphonium 1 from c to a1, euphonium 2 from a to f1, tuba 1 from F to g, and tuba 2 from FF to d. I liked the addition of a first tuba part in e-flat and a 2nd tuba part in b-flat to maybe facilitate some more varied use from players of different backgrounds. The production values are high as the parts are very clean and easy to read (all parts are contained on one single page) and the score is very straightforward to read as well. This is a very functional piece that would be very useful in anyone’s gig book or school library. (Editor’s note, this work is one of many acquired by Cherry Classics from the now defunct Touch of Brass library).
~Chris Combest, DMA Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Pastyme with Good Company (attributed to King Henry VIII) arranged for brass quintet by Adam Krosberg. Brassworks 4 Publishing. 461 Sunrise Pkwy, Farmington, N.M. 87401. www.brassworks4.com; email@example.com. Catalogue #BW450. $14.
Adam Kosberg is listed as being a trombone music performance major at Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois where he has had good luck in finding a performance outlet for his compositional and arranging skills. He wrote music and arranged for several groups while attending Collinsville High School. Even at his current “ripe young” age, this quintet arrangement shows the mark of a mature hand.
The tuba part ranges from FF-sharp to b-flat with only two spots that might cause a younger player a bit of consternation. One is a leap to the top of the staff with two measures to “think about it,” and the other is a measure with some very low 16th notes in octaves with the trombone, which must be in tune and balanced for clarity. It appears that King Henry VIII (or so they say) has written a very pleasant tune with a regal G minor feel, suitable for a courtly dance while quaffing a pint with the squires.
The ranges, dynamics, rhythms, phrasing in all parts is clearly marked and very nicely published. Adam divides the parts nicely, so that most often two or three voices are playing at once. The work builds to an eight-measure section, which appears in the middle and end of the piece where all the players reach their full dynamic climax.
Since King Henry is not around to collect “royalties,” it seems to be a bit pricey to pay so much for a 30-measure tune, 38 if you count repeats. Even so, the score is but one page printed front and back. This work might “work” better as part of a period dance set on a recital, but does seem to need “good company” to fit the bill.
~Phillip C. Black, Wichita State University & Wichita Symphony
Prelude & Fugue in G minor by J.S. Bach transcribed and arranged for euphonium-tuba quartet by David Sabourin. Touch of Brass Music, 1983. Cherry Classics Music, 5462 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6M 3C3. (604) 261-5454; www.cherry-classics.com. 2007. Catalogue #118. 4:00. $15.
Considered one of Bach’s greatest fugues, this new addition to Cherry Classics Music is a great contribution to the tuba-euphonium quartet repertoire. This arrangement by David Sabourin is top notch and presents some challenges to the performers. The difficulties would not be the tuba parts but the demands in terms of range with the euphonium parts. In general, the parts stay relatively high and tend to cross voices regularly. Sharing the duties of providing the primary thematic material, the first euphonium part range goes below the second part in some places. Though some works for quartet generally transfer well to large ensemble settings, this work may work better for the smaller group.
Ranges are euphonium 1 from A to a1, euphonium 2 from c to a1, tuba 1 from D to c, tuba 2 from FF to e. Overall, the work is very nice and presents interesting material for the euphonium players but tends to be a little on the light side for the tubists. Combined with the range demands and the somewhat moderately difficult rhythmic complexity of the writing, this piece would serve as a good challenge to any college level tuba-euphonium quartet let alone anyone’s personal library.
~Chris Combest, DMA Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Suite for Six Tubas by Barton Cummings for three euphoniums and three tubas. Brassworks 4 Publishing. 461 Sunrise Pkwy, Farmington, N.M. 87401. www.brassworks4.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. Catalogue #BW494. $18
The Suite for Six Tubas is a veritable study in contrasting styles, consisting of the four movements “Spanish March,” “Elegy,” “Fantasy on Chester,” and “On Parade.” The Spanish March (3 min.) has the tuneful melodies reminiscent of movie soundtracks of the Wild West, including a barn burning accelerando to the last flourish. Its percussive character contrasts well with the slow, smooth, and thickly textured second movement, “Elegy (5.5 min.),” which contains a surprising variety of timbre effects while maintaining a flowing style throughout. Although the chorale-style writing of “Fantasy on Chester (4 min.)” initially appears to contrast less with the style of the second movement, the piece soon turns to a Persichetti-esqe middle section of frequent changes of meter and tempo before returning to a grandiose version of the original chorale. The last movement, “On Parade (2 min.)” is a light march, complete with well-voiced harmonies for the euphoniums and a boisterous dogfight section in the low register for the tubas.
Every movement in the Suite could very easily stand on its own, yet fit well together by offering such a variety of styles and compositional ideas. Tessitura is quite reasonable for a college-level ensemble, with c1 being the highest note in the first tubas and a1 in the first euphoniums; pedal Es appear in the third tuba part. Dynamic and articulation marks are perfect for each stylistic effect, and the orchestration is effective. Because of these attributes, I would not anticipate a great expenditure of rehearsal time to bring the piece up to performance level, though the “Fantasy on Chester” would require more than the others in tightening up the metric and tempo transitions. This is a great example of traditional music in that works well for tuba-euphonium ensemble, and contributes a great deal of valuable learning opportunities in a relatively short work.
~Jason Byrnes, University of Northern Colorado
Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner arranged for tuba quartet by David Sabourin. Touch of Brass, 1982. Cherry Classics Music, 5462 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6M 3C3. (604) 261-5454; www.cherry-classics.com. Catalog #120. $12.50.
If you have been playing in tuba ensembles long enough, then you have undoubtedly played arrangements by Vancouver Opera tubist, David Sabourin. After looking at his website, it appears that Gordon Cherry has acquired all of David’s arrangements, and has made them available to us again in new transcriptions through Cherry Classics.
The Gradual “Locus Iste” is traditionally sung at the dedication of a church. This work by Bruckner was written in 1869 for the dedication of the votive chapel at the cathedral at Linz. The Latin text roughly translates to “This place was made by God, an inestimably holy place. It is without blame.” This is a truly lovely work that will test the musical abilities of any quartet or ensemble. The title does say tuba quartet, but the meaning is clear, two euphoniums and two tubas. This reviewer has used the piece many times with the large ensemble as well and has had great success. The top note in part 1 is b-flat1 and the lowest note in the low tuba part is an optional pedal e-flat. The piece is technically playable by a good high school group, but the musical demands are very high.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the arrangement is that it is has been generated using a computer notation program. Many of you will remember the hand manuscript of the originals being charming, yet somewhat difficult to read. The notation is generally clear with the exception of some staff system collisions on page 2. The parts are clear with measures numbered every 5. Enclosures around the rehearsal numbers would make them clearer. The copying leaves a bit to be desired as there are several smudges, smears, and line breaks in this particular copy. It appears to be a heavily darkened photocopy, which only aids in losing clarity of print.
This piece is highly recommended. We should all look forward to seeing the rest of these standards of tuba ensemble repertoire.
~Tony Zilincik, Capital University
Editor’s note: As with other David Sabourin arrangements reviewed elsewhere, this piece was originally published by Touch of Brass.
The Adagio for Brass is scored for flugelhorn, 3 trumpets in b-flat, horn in F, euphonium, and tuba. The range of the tuba part is EE to e-flat. The euphonium range is G to f1. The range of the 3 trumpet parts is g to b-flat2.
According to the information this reviewer could find, composer Ben Foisel is a trumpeter at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. This work is a short lyrical piece for brass. The motive of ascending perfect fourths is introduced by the flugelhorn in measure 8 after a short introduction. This motive recurs frequently, but never quite gets itself into a full-blown melody. The harmonies are jazz influenced, but they do not flow as such. There are far too many ambiguous bass progressions that do not work with the melody. That is not to say that ambiguity is not a viable aesthetic, but when you do write in a certain way, certain expectations will occur, and some must be met. Many harmonic problems occur through misplaced non-harmonic tones. It is as if the composer was trying to do too much in a short span of time. There are some very nice moments, such as the misterioso section at m. 28, but it never reaches its true potential. Some of the harmonic ideas are really quite good as well, but again, they are never carried through to a logical conclusion. I hope that Mr. Foisel will continue to write and seek instruction so that he can get these obviously good musical ideas on paper the way he wants them.
~Tony Zilincik, Capital University
Gran Fanfare DVD recording featuring the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble conducted by Thomas Clamor. www.euroarts.com. EuroArts DVD2056788. 84:00.
The Venezuelan Brass Ensembleis a product of Venezuela’s system of orchestral education created by Jose Antonio Abreu back in the 1970s. Because of his vision, a quarter of a million children and adolescents now play a musical instrument. This “sistema” covers the whole country and consists of hundreds of children’s orchestras and choirs.
In 2003, The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble was formed under the combined directions of Abreu and Thomas Clamor. Comprised of fifty of the finest brass and percussion players, aged between eighteen and twenty-six, from the sistema, all of them are pursuing their own musical careers as well as being active teachers within the system.
The present DVD was recorded live at the Konzerthaus Berlin on September 4, 2007 and features a wide variety of music ranging from a complete transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition to “Mambo” from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.
Opening the program is the Gran Fanfare by Giancarlo Castro who also performs as a member of the trumpet section of the ensemble. This is a lively and spirited piece and is written for a virtuoso ensemble of brass players. The performance is stunning and as a beginning piece on a concert sets a very high standard for the rest of the program.
Next is the Elgar Howarth transcription of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Suffice it to say that the playing is extraordinary and that the entire ensemble gives it a one hundred percent effort. There is some wonderful tuba playing and, although Howarth did not use the tuba for the famous “Bydlo” solo, he did provide some outstanding tuba parts in his transcription.
The third piece is Canaro en Paris by Alejandro Scarpino and Juan Calderella and was arranged by Jose Carli. This is a light piece that shows off many of the different colors available from such a large brass ensemble. It’s a very tastefully done arrangement and a joy to hear.
Tico Tico by Zequinha Areu needs no introduction. It has been arranged for every instrument including tuba solo with concert band. This arrangement is by the well-known and respected John Iveson. It is a showcase for trumpet soloist Tomas Medina. There are some interesting effects in the arrangement such as trumpeters playing into the bell of the tuba and horn while the respective players move the valves rapidly giving a tremolo effect.
Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, arranged by Eric Crees are next. Included are “Fuga,” “Somewhere,” and “Maria.” This is a wonderful arrangement that showcases the ensemble. Several soloists within the ensemble get a chance to display their abilities. After the Dances is Guerra de Secciones by Felix Mendoza, a percussionist with the group. A dramatic and powerful opening statement leads into a lively and spirited section where the members of the ensemble provide some vocal “cheering.” This leads to a lyrical and lush section that does not slow down in tempo. As can be imagined, lots of percussion passages are a feature of this piece. And a nice effect with conch shells and a call and response section between a soloist, the ensemble, and audience. A virtuoso display and played to perfection.
Alma Llanera by Pedro Elias Gutierrez arranged by Luis Ruiz is a lively up-tempo piece that showcases the brilliance of this group and the élan with which they approach their performance. All sections of the ensemble shine through brilliantly. Another American composer is featured as the ensemble plays a great arrangement by Roger Harvey of “I Got Rhythm” from Girl Crazy by George Gershwin. This arrangement should be pleasing to all and a few vocal effects are an added attraction. It is a bravo performance of this standard. A little bump and grind from the trumpet section is a nice effect. So is a nice little section of trading off from tuba and horn soloists. The last piece on the program is an encore of “Mambo” from West Side Story.
This recording is so great that it is difficult to single out any one piece from the rest. Suffice it to say that if this is what can be done when music education focuses on music rather than dancing around a football field, then we need to take a long, hard look at just what we are doing in our music education system from elementary through college. Remember, the players are not “seasoned” professionals. They are young performers just starting out. Listening to this recording would give one the impression that the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble is a professional ensemble second to none.
Music Director Thomas Clamor, who in 1986, at the age of twenty-three became the youngest member of the Berlin Philharmonic as a trumpet player has a long and brilliant history as a soloist, chamber recitalis, and teacher and is a visiting professor at the Hanns Eisler College of Music in Berlin. The joy and enthusiasm he brings to his conducting is felt by the ensemble, which in turn makes this concert all but too brief. One can only hope that this is just the first recording that will bring about more and more. An absolute must have for everyone to own. Highest Recommendation!
Passages CD recording of Tom Heasley, tuba, voice, electronics and Toss Panos, drums. Full Bleed Music, 9663 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 125, Beverly Hills, Ca. 90210. www.tomheasley.com; www.tosspanos.com. 2007. 73:23. $15.
Passages is Tom Heasley’s fourth solo CD and was recorded live in December 2006. Though considered to be “ambient music,” Heasley’s experimentation with multiphonics, valve clicks, buzzing on various lengths of tubing, and the electronics that can affect them create effects from relaxing to haunting. The tuba works well in this context, at least in the hands of Heasley, and I was most pleasantly surprised with the compositional integrity inherent in each of the five works on this CD, each with its own mood, pacing, and collection of unworldly sounds. The first track, Different Worlds, begins as a prime example of space music but experiences slow but major changes in intensity and content that demands the listener’s attention. 98% Pure is a haunting study in using moaning tuba sounds as a motives element, which is quite effective paired with the driving energy of Panos on drums. Elegy for Philip Berrigan employs loops, overdubs, and reverb to explore an interesting harmonic palette as Heasley plays in harmony with himself as well as many other effects. Zephyr begins with tuba alone and gradually adds additional voices (drums, Heasley’s voice and then looped recordings of Heasley’s tuba) until it all fizzles at the end. Cliffs of Moher employs multiphonics to a new level bringing the harmonics resulting from the position of the tongue in the mouth to the level of a central feature of interest. Throughout the album, the wide variety of sounds created by both Heasley and Panos keep the gradual changes interesting; in fact I am most impressed with their ability to work with such large musical sections yet keep transitions smooth and well-metered throughout. If you enjoy the genre of ambient music, I highly recommend Passages.
~Jason Byrnes, Northern Colorado University
Legacy: Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble 40th Anniversary All-Star Ensemble CD recording. R. Winston Morris, conductor. Mark Masters.10815 Bodine Road, Clarence, N.Y. 14031-0406. (716) 759-2600; www.markcustom.com. $15. Repertoire includes Bassa Nòbile by John Cheetham, Three Profiles by Tony Plog, Pinnacle by Greg Danner, Fasolt’s Revenge by Adam Gorb, Epitaph VI: Phoenix Rising (Coventry/Dresden) by Martin Ellerby, Basso Cantante by Eric Ewazen, Refrains by Gunther Schuller, Blues Odyssey by David N. Baker and Dynamo by Aldo Rafael Forte.
Frederick Fennell gave us the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Philip Jones brought us the famous brass ensemble that bears his name. With the release of Legacy, (the 23rd recording affiliated with the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble!), Winston Morris should be assured of the same iconic standing for developing, and damn near perfecting, the tuba- euphonium ensemble.
Legacy is comprised of nine new works commissioned by Winston Morris on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble. This collection of works received four live performances– at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN, at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, at the Army Band Tuba Euphonium Conference in Washington DC, and finally at Carnegie Hall in New York. I was fortunate enough to hear the concert in Washington and was enthralled by the quality of both the performances and the compositions.
The works on this CD are brilliantly performed by an all-star cast of 24 of Tennessee Tech’s favorite sons, all of whom are currently making a great impact in the music profession, either as teachers or performers. The level of playing on this recording is phenomenal, which speaks not only to the great ability of these players, but also speaks to Winston’s incredible impact as a teacher. I’m not sure that that are ANY teachers who could assemble their best two dozen players of all time and have them sound as technically sound and musically unified as Winston’s gang. Every musical challenge– and trust me, there is one around every corner in these new works– is met with remarkable confidence and meticulous clarity of purpose. Bravo to each and every musician associated with this project!
As Winston lined up his list of composers for this project, it is immediately evident that he has earned a great deal of respect in the world of music. The works on this CD are all composed by active, relevant composers with long lists of commissions pending. It speaks volumes about the energy and influence of one man to be behind the simultaneous creation of nine substantial works for one ensemble. (Ask the president of any Big Five orchestra when the last time was that they had nine commissions in the oven at the same time!) For this, our community owes Winston Morris a great debt of gratitude.
Upon listening to the initial track, one immediately gets the sense that the 24 musicians assembled have been here before! The sensitivity to the potential pitfalls of the tuba-euphonium ensemble is palpable and the result is a masterful blend of voices. Recording Engineer Mark Morette establishes the signature sound of the ensemble brilliantly. As opposed to some other recordings, one is never distracted by the recording technique utilized to achieve the amazing blend that this group enjoys. I listened to this recording several times—both on headphones and the speakers on my home stereo. I would recommend headphones for an optimal listening experience.
The first composition on the CD is Bassa Nobile, by John Cheetham. Cheetham establishes a mysterious and anticipatory mood in this work and it is clearly evident that he understands this medium extraordinarily well. The work features frequent metric shifts, but the listener never has the sense that these shifts come at the expense of the melodic material. This is a very accessible work and is a welcome addition to the repertoire.
Next on the program is Three Profiles by Tony Plog, a work that pays homage to several tubists who have been influential in Plog’s musical life as a performer and composer. The first movement, entitled Mr, P, is an obvious reference to Dan Perantoni, one of Tony’s good friends from his Summit Brass days; the second movement, The New Breed, is inspired by the fine playing of the next wave of great tubists; and finally, T.J. Bozo is composed to showcase the aggressive possibilities of the tuba that Plog heard from Roger Bobo and Tommy Johnson when he was a young player in Los Angeles. Fans of Plog’s writing will be happy to know that this work is very reminiscent of his other compositions for large brass ensemble. Winston and his forces pull off this piece incredibly well, passing off difficult lines and shaping generous musical lines while making it all sound incredibly easy. This is a complex work that would test the mettle of any ensemble, but is worthy of every bit of effort.
Pinnacle by Tennessee Tech faculty member Greg Danner, is the longest piece on the CD at a little over eleven minutes. It is a lovely and thought-provoking work, quite reminiscent of the Barber Adagio. Winston does an excellent job of creating a sense of forward motion in a piece that could sound static under the baton of a lesser musician. At first blush, this would sound like one of the simpler works on the program, but, due to the sostenuto character of the work, I would guess that the players would suggest otherwise! One of the most impressive aspects on the CD from a performance perspective is the incredible control of the pedal register demonstrated by the low tubas. Bravo, Gentlemen!
Next on the recording is Fasolt’s Revenge, by the fine British composer Adam Gorb. The work is programmatic and is based on Fasolt and Fafner, two giant brothers who appear in the Wagner opera Das Rheingold. The orchestration of this work is incredibly dense, and the ensemble plays with appropriate savagery. Of all of the works on this CD, I found this one to be the most “tuba specific,” that is to say that it would only work with these instruments. Special mention again to engineer Mark Morette for enabling us to clearly delineated voices (especially the very feisty bass drummer!) in such a thickly scored work. The clarity presented on this recording is nothing short of miraculous.
The first of my two favorite works to come from this set of commissions is Epitaph VI: Phoenix Rising (Coventry/Dresden), by Martin Ellerby. Ellerby’s Epitaph series began in 1986 as a set of works to memorialize the events of World War II. The works are not intended to be representations of historical events or political statements, but instead reflections upon the events and the way that they have impacted the inhabitants of the European continent. This work is commemorative of the air raids in the twin cities of Coventry and Dresden, yet is remarkably beautiful and serene—at times seeming to memorialize the victims and at other times eliciting a sense of optimism. Winston produces a warm ensemble sound that remains controlled throughout, even though much of the playing is done at the sotto voce level. Again, the control of the pedal register in the low tubas is worthy of commendation. Ellerby’s use of chimes and glockenspiel provides a lovely timbral change of pace.
Basso Cantante by Eric Ewazen delivers what we have come to expect from Ewazen’s compositions- harmonically engaging and accessible music. The antiphonal exchange between the two choirs is easy to discern, not only because of the placement in the left and right channels, but also because of the consistently different tone qualities produced by each group. The rapid triplet passages that occur in the back half of the work are handled with a sense of ease that may be difficult for lesser ensembles to achieve.
The work that accounted for the bulk of the discussion (most of it spirited!) by the players in the group was Gunther Schuller’s Refrains. When Schuller heard that there would be ten euphoniums and twelve tubists in the ensemble, he commenced work on a 22-voice work with no doubling of parts. This presents a daunting task for each member of the group, to say nothing of the conductor and recording engineer! The result however is my other favorite work on this CD. It is a serious piece of music that could have easily been composed for chamber orchestra and hailed as cutting edge. The piece is very reminiscent of the music of Alban Berg, both in terms of the post-tonal harmonic style and the brevity of the movements. In a Tuba-Juba-Duba world, this piece (as daunting as it is) is a breath of fresh air! On the liner notes, Winston feels compelled to apologize for the lack of perfect execution on the part of the ensemble, but I really feel that no apology is needed. While it isn’t likely that this piece will receive many performances due to its complexity, it is a landmark work that receives an excellent performance by this ensemble.
Next on the CD is David Baker’s Blues Odyssey. As Monty Python would say, “…and now, for something completely different!” The tune starts with a haunting blues progression that is subsequently treated in a modal jazz style, a boogie-woogie treatment, a “second line” New Orleans variation, a nod to rhythm & blues, and finally a bebop treatment. What is evident (especially following the Schuller work on this CD) is that the players in this ensemble are both flexible and adaptable! Finally, hats off to the set player who lays down a nice groove throughout.
The final work on the disc is Dynamo! by Tech alum Aldo Forte. This work is played in one continuous movement, but chronicles the development of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble in music, with each section depicting a different era of progress. Although the work is somewhat programmatic in this regard, it would stand alone just fine on any program.
I come away from this recording with a renewed and profound appreciation of the legacy of one R. Winston Morris and his talented protégés. Regardless of how you might feel about tuba ensembles and their ultimate role in the development of our instruments, what cannot be denied is Winston’s contribution as an artist, as a teacher, and as a catalyst for our community. Bravo for a great CD, but more importantly, bravo for a life well-lived!
~David Zerkel, University of Georgia
Editor’s Note: In addition, an extensive account of the music commissioned for the 40th Anniversary of the TTTE can be found in the Volume 34:3 (Spring 2007) issue of the Journal, entitled “40th Anniversary Celebration of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble: A Carnegie Hall Concert Review David Chamberlain.”
Majestic Journey CD recording featuringAdam Frey, euphonium. 7230 Cloverhurst Court, Cumming, Ga. 30041. www.euphonium.com. $15.
Adam Frey’s Majestic Journey is the first euphonium recording released that features original works for euphonium and orchestra and is entirely accompanied by symphony orchestra. Majestic Journey is recorded with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. It should be mentioned that it is great to see the euphonium featured on the Naxos label, a recording label that generally tries to appeal to the more general audience classical consumer. I find it interesting that the first section of the program notes is a brief history of the euphonium and its role in various ensembles. I wonder if this is standard practice for all instrumental solo recordings, like the clarinet or the viola. It is unfortunate that this type of explanation still needs to occur for our instrument.
The playing is very high quality. The recording quality of both the soloist and the orchestra are of the highest. I especially enjoyed hearing the Cosma euphonium concerto accompanied by an orchestra. In my opinion, the version with band accompaniment tends to be too heavy for the soloist, and the orchestral accompaniment on this recording resolves many of those problems.
I also applaud Mr. Frey for successfully finding a new composer to be a champion for the euphonium. Kevin Kaska presents two works on this recording, both with distinct and memorable melodies.
Another unique aspect of this recording is that all of the sheet music can be purchased directly on Mr. Frey’s website www.euphonium.com. You do not need to worry if it is the correct version/edition anymore; the work has been done for you. It should also be mentioned that mp3 samples are available for reference on a majority of the solos for sale on this website—another valuable tool on this easy to navigate webpage. While the majority of euphonium players will not have the opportunity to play these works with a symphony orchestra, this is a significant step in bringing more validity to the euphonium being considered a solo instrument.
It is imperative due to the youth of the euphonium that leading soloists are active in commissioning/creating new works for the instrument. Mr. Frey is fitting this mold quite well. This recording is highly recommended.
~Kelly Thomas, University of Arizona
Tuba Helper: Solos for the Developing Tubist CD recording featuring David Zerkel, tuba and Paolo Gualdi, piano. Mark Masters. 10815 Bodine Road, Clarence N.Y. 14031-0406. (716) 759-2600; (716) 759-2329 (fax); www.markcustom.com. 7070-MCD. 2007. $15.
David Zerkel has been a busy man releasing this new CD on top of his recent release of American Music for Tuba—Something Old Something New (5348-MCD) in addition to his busy performing schedule and his full-time teaching schedule at the University of Georgia. Like previous recordings of repertoire suited for the advanced high school and undergraduate tuba student such as Ron Davis’s SoloPro: Tuba cassette recording through Summit Records (now out of print) and Jeff Funderburk’s Passages CD (2199-MCD) among others, Zerkel has come up with seven gems that countless students have learned over the last couple of generations.
The repertoire for this recording includes the Suite for Tuba by Don Haddad, Andante and Rondo by Antonio Capuzzi arranged by Philip Catelinet, Concerto in One Movement by Alexei Lebedev arranged by Alan Ostrander, Sonata in F by Benedetto Marcello arranged by Don Little and Richard Nelson, Six Studies in English Folksong by Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged by Michael Wagner, Suite for Unaccompanied Tuba by Walter Hartley, and the Air and Bourée by Johann Sebastian Bach arranged by William Bell.
Many of these compositions have been recorded previously but not as a group by a single performer. Quite frankly, this CD is definitely a cut above any other recording of these works. Zerkel recorded the entire CD on his Perantucci PT-6P CC tuba giving each performance a robust and resonant sound. Paolo Gualdi provides flawless accompaniment that is balanced and sensitive. I could listen to the Six Studies in English Folksong all day as a lesson on the contrabass tuba sound! While the CC tuba is not as nimble as the smaller E-flat or F tuba in range and accuracy, none of those characteristics are evident in this recording. I wish I could have had such a superb recording to help me through some of this repertoire when I was an undergraduate!
David Zerkel is to be applauded for taking on this recording project. Rather than spending his recording efforts with the next round of virtuosic works, he has chosen to use his virtuosic playing to provide our next generation of tubists with a top notch recording of some of our most performed compositions. Bravo!
~Mark Nelson, Pima Community College
Perfecting Your Practice for Peak Performancefor Trumpet or Cornet by Mick Hesse. Brassworks 4 Publishing. 461 Sunrise Pkwy, Farmington, N.M. 87401. www.brassworks4.com; email@example.com. 2007. $11.95.
Ironically, in just a few days, I am performing Mick Hesse’s arrangement of the second movement of the Bohme Trumpet Concerto, set for euphonium solo with brass quintet accompaniment. So, to receive his 2007 method book is certainly intriguing, as I have gathered from Brassworks 4 Publishing that Mick is a trumpet junkie. Obviously, the importance of a book like this for euphonium and tuba players should not be overlooked, as I know that I learned so much of my own pedagogy for euphonium playing, in large part, from trumpet books.
The book is, overall, basic in its scope of performance, but takes some original twists. It has six chapters and 37 pages and contains a healthy amount of information in a relatively short space. It is based around the concept outlined in the first chapter, “Ascending Bending.” To quote Mick:
“To play in tune with others we often bend our pitch up or down while playing together in ensembles. In time this skill becomes second nature to us…. The practice of purposely bending a pitch a half step or more is a bit different. Training your lip to bend the pitch us much like body building or calisthenics….”
From this opening idea, Mick basically takes this concept through the rest of the book, incorporating other concepts such as warm up, scales with trills (which I found a nice idea), and arpeggios, all with an emphasis on proper practice. Of particular note, I was glad that Mick included how to properly tune with a piano in his book. I don’t think I have ever seen the proper way to tune with a piano actually written down in a method book.
Mick (and company) has done a great job with the layout of Perfecting your Practice. He has some really great ideas in here that have wonderful application in the world of the euphonium and tuba.
~Jason D. Ham, Yamaha Euphonium Performing Artist
Inside John Haynie’s Studio: A Master Teacher’s Lessons on Trumpet and Life. Essays by John Haynie, compiled and arranged by Anne Hardin. University of North Texas Press, P.O. Box 311336, Denton, Tex. 76203-1336. (940) 565-4590. $27.95.
John James Haynie is a name that will be familiar to Texans and trumpeters (and doubly so to trumpeters from Texas) but may not be to the tubist. He taught applied trumpet at the University of North Texas from 1950 until his retirement in 1990. Over the course of his forty-year career, Haynie wrote an astounding number of essays and articles. Much credit must be given to former International Trumpet Guild Editor Anne Hardin for collecting and editing this extremely thorough resource.
Inside John Haynie’s Studio is an entertaining read that walks the lines between scholarly, conversational, and personal. Subjects range from a discussion of “abnormal occlusion of the teeth” to a suggestion that much could be learned if one would “go out on a country road and play a concert for the cows,” and the array of topics are so inclusive that room is not available in this review to list them all. The essays are generally one to three pages in length and are each separated by a page of reminiscences from Mr. Haynie’s students. While these sections are rather personal and people who are not familiar with John Haynie may be tempted to skip over them, there are quite a few gems of pedagogical knowledge to be gleaned from, as Anne Hardin dubbed it, “The Other Side of the Stand.” Also included are 44 pictures, presented in chronological order through Mr. Haynie’s life, giving the reader an understanding of when and how he developed as a player and teacher.
This is an extremely effective resource for the brass teacher or advanced players, who could easily apply Haynie’s methods to their own playing. Some of the material may be a bit controversial, such as his discussion of the “shift” and tongue position, but all of the ideas put forth are backed up by years of experience with students of varying levels (and further supported by “videofluorographic” research of the oral cavity while playing). Because of the well-organized table of contents and brevity of the articles, this will be a valuable resource to keep on hand in the practice room and teaching studio for quick reference, in addition to a solid stand alone read.
~Thomas J. Ricer, DMA student, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester