New Materials (Mark Nelson, Editor)
The ITEA Journal encourages submissions of materials for review within the following guidelines:
1. With rare exceptions, unpublished manuscripts are not considered for review.
2. Ensemble music larger than brass quintet unless written as accompaniment for tuba or euphonium solo is not reviewed.
3. Multiple submissions by publishing companies are often spread out over several journals. All submitted material will not be returned or acknowledged. Submission of material for review does not imply that a review will be published.
4. The editor of New Materials in conjunction with the general editor of the ITEA Journal reserves the right to edit any review for style, length, and accuracy. Unsolicited reviews are welcomed that conform to established guidelines although the editor reserves the right to determine whether it is published, especially if an assigned reviewer submits a review of the same work.
5. Short works or works of similar style may be combined into a single review.
6. Reviews are the sole opinion of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views of ITEA or its members.
7. Corrections of factual information in a review, especially bibliographic information, are encouraged and will be printed in the next available journal.
New Materials received Aug.1 – Nov 1 with thanks:
Tangents for tuba/euphonium ensemble by James Barnes
An die Musik CD recording featuring Robert Brewer, tuba
Tuba Magnifique CD recording featuring Ian King, tuba
Oration CD featuring Steve Mead, euphonium, and the Williams Fairey Band conducted by Howard Snell
Euphonium Concerto (piano reduction) by Vladimir Cosma
REVIEWED IN THIS ISSUE:
Introduction and Allegro for euphonium or trombone and piano by David Uber
Holiday Etudes for Tuba by Sy Brandon
Verdigris for solo tuba or solo euphonium by Gary Nelson
Sonata for Tuba and Piano (Op. 178) by Allen L. Borton
Noctumo,Op.7 by Franz Strauss arranged by Rudy Emilson for tuba and piano
Romance by Camille Saint,Saens arranged for tuba or bass trombone and piano; arranged by Michael Fisher
Rondo by Ludwig von Beethoven, transcribed for trombone/tuba or conical brass trio by Mark Prater
Tangents, An Overture for Tuba Ensemble by James Barnes
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming. 16th Century hymn arranged for tubal euphonium ensemble by Lennie Niehaus
In The Hall of The Mountain King by Edvard Grieg, arranged for tubal euphonium ensemble by Frank J. Halferty
Prelude, Dance, and Fanfare for euphonium and tuba or two tubas by Jeremy Beck
Largo from Xerxes by George F. Handel arranged for tuba,euphonium quartet or four,part ensemble by Joseph Skillen
The New When Tubas Waltz by Alfred H. Bartles
Entry of the Gladiators by Julius Fucik, arranged for four,part tuba,euphonium ensemble by J. Kelly Diamond
Air and Dance for tuba and violin by Arthur Frackenpohl
Le Livre d’Orgue de Montreal (The Montreal Organ Book) CD Recording featuring Damien Herisset (organ), with the choir La Maltrise de la Cathedrale d’Angers and Bernard Fourtet (serpent)
Svenska Messingkvartetten (Swedish Brass Quartet) CD Recording featuring the Swedish Brass Quartt)t
Elegie CD recording featuring Thomas Ruedi, Euphonium, and the Brassband Burgermusik Luzern conducted by Ludwig Wicki
Brass Band of Battle Creek CD recording conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos
Studio for Brass text by Colin Holdom
Introduction and Allegro for euphonium or rombone and piano by David Uber. Tuba ~Euphonium Pr s , David Mile , ditor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA 22003. Phone 703~916~0711. Email email@example.com $8.00. 1996.
Dr. Uber’s compositions are well known to the tuba community (I include euphoniums in that) and have a style and flavor all their own. This piece continues in the same vein, a challenge for most high school players and maybe worth a look by college freshmen. Starting with the Introduction in c minor, it is primarily a “call and response,” the soloist playing four sixteenth notes and a longer tone, with the piano echoing the figure. The Allegro is in cut time and is in the relative key of E flat major. It consists primarily of eighth notes. Mostly diatonic, the interest here consists mostly of the syncopation in the solo part. This is not a piece that will be counted as one of the great contest vehicles for euphonium, but could be useful as a melodic exercise for the high school player, and maybe as an introduction to Dr. Uber’s other works. The range is F to d, but over three quarters of the piece is above the bass clef staff.
~Michael Short Drake University
Holiday Etudes for Tuba by Sy Brandon. Tuba ~Euphonium Press, David Miles, editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA 22003. Phone 703~916~0711. Email firstname.lastname@example.org $10.00. 1996.
There are other books of elementary level etudes, but of course the main complaint against them is that they are not very interesting unless you know how to dig into the music and find it. This takes a certain amount of sophistication that is not usually found in students of that level. These Holiday Etudes give the student a handle on possible interpretations of the music, a suggestion of how to tell a story through playing the tuba. Each of the 28 etudes in this book ha a title associated with a holiday or time of year, and the music is ometimes blatantly suggestive of that holiday. The etude “New Year’s’ Day”p.nwiththd nd~ ing c Ie f”Joy to th W rld,” “Pr ident’s Day” i a march ~ lik pi c ,” t. Patrick’s Day” is a rollicking 6/8 tune and “Memorial Day” opens with Taps! The “Flag Day” piece is specifically “based n C han’s Your (sic) A Grand Old Flag, and “An Independence Day Collage” is a big production with The Star Spangled Banner (in 2/4 time!), alternating with Yankee Doodle, Dixie, Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, The Cassions Go Rolling, and Anchors Aweigh. These familiar tunes help the students visualize a story to tell through the hom. Dr. Brandon won the 1996 TUBA Composition Contest for Tuba Etudes at the Elementary Level with this set, and it was well deserved. I highly recommend it. It will be entertaining to the teacher, as well. The key signatures run the gamut from 0 major to A flat major, with everything in between. The range is about what you would expect: from FF to a.
~Michael Short Drake University
Verdigris for solo tuba or solo euphonium by Gary Nelson. Tuba~Euphonium Press, David Miles, editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale,VA22003.Phone703~916~0711. Email email@example.com $6.00. 1995.
The compositional style of this piece is of a sort you either love or hate. In this case, Mr. Nelson used a computer program to “emphasize… certain intervallic structures,” then played the piece to add the interpretive markings and other elements. Those other elements are primarily stage directions. The performer enters the stage playing, and at one point creates an echo effect by turning around and playing at the back of the stage. There is also a poetry recitation. I won’t critique the poetry, but my complaint is that all of the poetry except the last line has been spoken by the mid~point of the piece, leaving only the last two words to be spoken at the end. It might be more satisfying (if we must recite poetry) to spread it around more evenly in the piece. And, I wonder if it might be more effec~ tively done a a recording by Sean Connery or James Earl Jones, rather than by the voic s that some of us have.
The piece is printed on heavy paper on four eparatepag , 0 y un dtw tand to see the music.Each pag ha six lin , and each line i one complete measure. This creates havoc at times with accidentals because of distance between the symb 1 and the later affected note. This comes off as a little more tonal than, say, a 12~tone composition, and the rhythms are free, but in fairly organized segments. Particularly attractive, I think, is a muted section that imitates a Gregorian chant. The title refers to the greenish material that appears on brass instruments that have no lacquer or plating and results from a combination of acetic acid (in swear) and copper. In Ancient Greece, verdigris became a “symbol of inevitable demise… of all things. The tuba- an instrument which is at once comic and noble – seemed a fitting vehicle for a reflection on life and death.” This is more philosophy than most tubists are used to contemplating. If you are into this style, this is a good vehicle for you. The range on the tuba version of this solo is EE to e flatl . The euphonium version is throughout a fourth higher, thus the range is AA to a flat.
Sonata for Tuba and Piano (Op. 178) by Allen L. Borton. Press, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, Virginia 1832, www.tubaeuphoniumpress.com $10.00. Solo tuba range: EE flat b flat.
This work by Allen Borton, formerly music professor at Olivet College, Michigan, is in three movements. Overall, I see this as an addition to the repertoire for amateur B flat tuba players in your local community band or the like. As noted in the piano score, the piece was written in just two days in April, 2000. The work is in the typical sonata structure. The first movement is in and is marked Moderato (MM = 96). It consists largely of scale and arpeggio passages underpinned by similar material in the piano part. The second movement (in is Adagio (MM = 60) and presents the most technical challenge, as the pianist is required to play triplet quavers (eighths) against duples. The third movement (again in is marked Boldly (MM = 112) and has two march-like contrasting themes, which I’m sure will appeal to your local ethusiastic bandie!
The parts are well presented by Tuba-Euphonium Press.
~Jonathan Baker, Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand
Nocturno,Op.7 by Franz Strauss arranged by Rudy Emilson for tuba and piano. Kendor Music, Inc., 21 Grove Street, PO Box 278, Delevan, NY 2001. Price: $7.00. Grade 6+.
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music that could have been chosen for transcription. It is very romantic and lush and will require a tubist who can literally sing through the instrument. This is not a piece for those who think of the name Strauss and equate it with huge, heavy, loud playing. This is Franz Strauss, and his music is delicate and extremely fragile just the opposite of son Richard, who, by the way, also wrote some wonderfully lyric and delicate music.
The present arrangement is a masterful one and this arrangement will fill a void in our repertoire. To be sure, there are moments of drama, but this is not Don Juan. To make this arrangement work, the performers will need to spend time in rehearsal to bring out all of the delicate nuances the composer has placed in the music. Musically, this is certainly a Grade 6 piece. Highly recommended.
Romance by Camille Saint~Saens arranged for tuba or bass trombone and piano arranged by Michael Fisher. Tuba~ Euphonium Press, 2000. Approximate duration 3:00. Range: E~cl $8.00.
I was thrilled to see this piece in the package of review materials. Call me an old softy, but I love a beautiful melody on the tuba. In this day and age of works calling for astounding technique and range, it made me happy to see a tune one can hum. Saint~Saens’ Romance has long been a staple of the hom player library. Michael Fisher gives u a great arrangem nt of this unabashedly romantic work. He ha done a note-by-note tran~cription of this piece that also includes all Saint~Saens’ articulation and tempomarking. Th c0py is flawless and the piano part, as edited by John Cozza, is very legible.
This transcription is great for many reasons. First, and foremost, it gives the tuba player an accessible avenue to explore truly romantic music. While other tran~ scriptions are available, the Romance is immediately playable. Given its modest range everyone from a good high school player to the seasoned professional will be able to play this piece. Second, it works as a wonderful introductory piece to the F tuba. The tessitura lends itself to the F tuba. It will also work for those players who want to work on their melodic play~ ing in the upper register on the larger tubas. Lastly, this transcription will be at home on anyone’s recital. It could be a great opener or a piece in the middle of a recital to soften the mood between other works. I suggest that one listen to anyone of the recordings listed in various catalogues to get the gist of every nuance of the piece. Thanks, Mike, for a wonderful transcription and addition to every tuba player’s library. I will anxiously await a transcription of Saint~Saens’ Morceau de Concert next. Highly Recommended.
~Chuck Jackson Free Lance,Las Vegas
Rondo (originally in A major) by Ludwig von Beethoven, transcribed for trombone/ tuba or conical brass trio by Mark Prater. Wehr’s Music House. Fax 407~679~0208 http://members.aol.com/wehrsmusic WM #217 $9.00. 2001.
This is a nice little ditty that is nomi~ nally for trombone trio, but can really be used successfully by almost any combination of brass instruments. The basic arrangement is for two tenor trombones and a bass trombone. The first part has optional parts for tenor trombone in tenor clef, trombone or euphonium in treble clef and horn in F. The second voice is printed for either tenor or bass clef, and the bass trombone/tuba part is the standard bass clef part. When my group tried this, we had an E flat comet, B flat cornet, hom, euphonium and tuba, doubling a few of the parts. This worked very well, coming off as a great 19th century band re-creation.
It is in 2/4 time with a MM marking of eighth note = 108. The opening theme in B flat major is composed primarily of eighth notes. Shifting to D flat major, the principal theme is in sixteenth notes. After returning to the original theme (as rondos are wont to do) an E flat major section passes a sixteenth note triplet figure back and forth among the three voices and the original section closes the piece out. This is a well~arranged piece and worth putting in the rehearsal time to place it on a concert performance. The range of the first part is A to b flat1 , of the second part F to a flatl , the third part C to c1.
Tangents,An Overture for Tuba Ensemble by James Barnes. Southern Music C ompany, San Antonio, TX 78292. $25.00. 2001.
Written for The Wild Bunch, this is a piece of writing for professional level ensembles, and good college/university groups. It will require players of ex-teptional abilities to negotiate the articulations, range, dynamics and musical nuances that make this music work. It is fast, furious and uncompromising. It’s not for the faint of heart.
There are opportunities for resting, as there are some portions where one player plays and then is spelled by a second player, which will give a little rest for the players during a long concert. Mutes are needed for the euphoniums but not for the tubas. In these sections the tuba parts call for just one player and the dynamic is at a soft level, so this should work well.
It will be noted that, in the score, the tenor clef is used for the euphonium parts to get rid of a large number of ledger lines, but the parts are written in either bass or treble clef. In terms of range, the last note for the first euphonium is a fourth line 0 in the treble clef! There is an ossia note, but this will give and indication of the scope of this work.
For those groups with the ability, this is a wonderful addition to the repertoire for tuba ensemble and is highly recommended.
~Barton Cummings [Ed. Note ~ Symphonia has just recorded this work. The CD should be available under the Mark Records label by the time this column is in print.]
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming. 16th Century Hymn arranged for tubal euphonium ensemble by Lennie Niehaus. Kendor Music, Inc. 2001. Price: $7.00. Grade 2+.
This arrangement by Lennie Niehaus is stamped with his own unique blend of harmonic writing and, as always, it is well done and tasteful. Whether it is in keep~ ing with the taste of others or not will be answered by performances. There have been several arrangements of this particular hymn, and each, in its own way, is different and worthy of performance. The grading of 2+ by the publisher is appropriate. This arrangement would be well within the grasp of good high school groups and perhaps even some junior high and middle school ensembles. Recommended.
In The Hall of The Mountain King by Edvard Grieg arranged for tuba/euphonium ensemble by Frank J. Halferty. Kendor Music, Inc. 2001. Price: $10.00. Grade 3+.
This a fine arrangement of a very well known piece from the Peer Gynt Suite. This one is a little more extensive than others, and yet, it falls within the Grade 3 rating by the publisher. All parts are of equal difficulty and all players will be required to have a light, clean and crisp style of articulation as well as good dynamic control. The first euphonium does go to Bb above the staff, which in some cases may make this a bit more on the 3 plus side rather than just a three. All in all, this is a good solid arrangement for better high school groups and certainly any group capable of making the most out of it. Recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
Prelude, Dance , and Fanfare for euphonium and tuba or two tubas by Jeremy Beck. Tuba~Euphonium Press, David Miles, editor. 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA 22003 USA. 703~916~0711, firstname.lastname@example.org. www.tubaeuphoniumpress.com. 2001 Approximate duration 7:00. $10.00
Jeremy Beck has given us a well crafted piece in Prelude, Dance, and Fanfare. The work calls for a sonorous, flowing sound and not a little bit of rambunctious technique. I read through the piece with two tubas and then with a tuba and euphonium. While the range of the first part, c#~f#1, seems relatively benign, most of the tessitura is at the top of or above the staff. This proved to be a real workout on the F tuba. The ease with which the euphonium plays in this range makes it a more palatable choice, given the dynamic contrasts and melodic structure. The range of the second part, Gb to d1, is well within the capabilities of a large tuba, but will prove to be challenge to the F tuba player as there are low, loud sections. The printing is first rate. There is a quick page turn in the Fanfare that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem as there are two beats rest to flip the page.
I really like this piece. Let me state very firmly, it is not for the faint of heart. This is a complex work that will require two strong players to bring out all the nuances. It is very adventuresome not only in its harmonic content, but also in its melodic writing. In the Prelude, long melodic lines centered on the intervals of the 4th and 5th weave together to give the music a sense of constant movement. Cadences are not standard. The melody rests here and there on the 9th giving the piece an unsettled air. Dance uses much of the same techniques as Prelude, but calls for more wide interval legato playing. Good ears will be required to hear and nail these leaps. Lastly, Fanfare, is a pointillistic romp. Legato lines are inter~ rupted with veritable explosions of sound. It is a hard driving, intense piece that will require pinpoint accuracy in ear training. Fanfare was my favorite. It reminds me of Bartok and Shostakovich combined with mid 20th century American pointillism. This work is very well crafted and belongs in every serious tuba player’s library. Highly recommended.
~Chuck Jackson Free Lance, Las Vegas
Largo from Xerxes by George E Handel arranged for tuba ~euphonium quartet or four~part ensemble by Joseph Skillen. Tuba~Euphonium Press 2001. Approximate duration 4:00. $8.00. Range: 1: c-f’ 2: A-d1 3: C-g 4: CC-f.
George Friedrich Handel’s oft played andmuchlovedtunegetsanewarrange~ ment in this edition from the pen of Joseph Skillen. Scored for two euphoniums and two tubas, this arrangement will be an immediate favorite of tuba quartets of all ability levels. There are some divisi parts in the two euphonium parts that, with judicial re~scoring, can be covered by 4 players. I received only a score for review purposes. I would suspect that individual parts are available. If not, there will be some VERY awkward page turns. The copy is very easy to read.
The work opens with a unison statement of the theme. This will require that all parties listen and play in tune. A t letter A, the balance of the piece becomes a vehicle for the 1st euphonium to sh ow off his/her sustained, melodic playing. The accompaniment is strictly chordal and is true to Handel’s treatment of the same. Balance problems could be an issue if a larger ensemble is employed, but soft playing should be in everyone’s repertoire. The 4th part descends to a pedal CC at the final cadence giving an organ-like quality to the work. This reviewer feels the piece is best suited to a mass ensemble with the only requirement being that everyone plays softly enough to let the solo sing forth. The only other problem I can see is that everyone plays the quarter note accompaniment in the same style. One can never have enough renditions of this old chestnut. Mr. Skillen has provided us with a vehicle to keep the history, charm, and beauty of this piece alive through the medium of the large tuba ensemble. Highly recommended.
~ Chuck Jackson Free Lance, Las Vegas
The New When Tubas Waltz by Alfred H. Bartles for 6~part tuba~euphonium ensemble. Tuba~Euphonium Press, www.tubaeuphoniumpress.com. (703) 916~ 0711, 2001. Approximate duration: 5:00. $12.00.
Here is a great new arrangement for 6~ part tuba/euphonium ensemble with a light, jazzy feel perfect for a college or accomplished high school group. Most of us are already acquainted with the piece “When Tubas Waltz,” and Alfred Bartles has given our idiom another delightful gem. The three tuba parts are written in a relatively comfortable range; the first tuba part goes no higher than d’, while the third part goes no lower than BBb. The euphonium parts are a bit more demanding, but still go no higher than d and no lower than F. However, the first euphonium part is written primarily in the upper range throughout, so endurance might be something of an issue for less experienced players. The work opens with the tubas playing syncopated rhythm in an easy waltz tempo that gradually cascades into a fuller texture as voices are added. The harmonics are scored somewhat closely, but attractively, and the rhythmic figures add a certain dance~like feel to the piece. The work is dedicated “For Winston,” and “To Bobbie,” undoubtedly for Winston and Bobbie Morris. One slight drawback to this arrangement is the small size of the font on the full score. Though the individual parts are easy to read, the print on the score is extremely small and diffi~ cult to read. This piece will be enjoyable to audiences and performers alike and warrants an enthusiastic recommendation.
~Dr. Sharon Huff Illinois State University
Entry of the Gladiators by Julius Fucik, arranged for four~part tuba~euphonium ensemble by J. Kelly Diamond. Tuba~ Euphonium Press, www.tubaeuphoniumpress.com. (703) 916~ 0711,1996. Approximate duration: 3:00. $8.00.
This arrangement of a very popular circus march should demand audiences’ attention. Kelly Diamond has done it again; his arranging skill is evident on this selection. Though better suited for college ensembles due to the technical and range demands, a mature high school group might be able to pull this one off. .A To perform the piece effectively and as the composer intended, however, requires a fair amount of expertise. Despite the fact that the highest pitch required of the first euphonium part is only a bb’, there are so many repeated high notes that stamina and accuracy will likely be an issue with a less~experienced group. The other ranges are as follows: tuba 1 from P todb’,tuba2fromAAbtod and euphonium 2 from A bto gbl. The printing on this particular arrangement is very clear and easy to read, and in the hands of reasonably strong players, this is a treat for all involved.
~Dr. Sharon Huff Illinois State University
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day arranged for brass quintet by Lennie Niehaus. Kendor Music, Inc. 2001. Price: $8.00 Grade 2+.
Another in a long list of arrangements by Lennie Niehaus, this is a very nice and pleasant setting of this Yuletide favorite. The grade of 2+ is fine, although the first trumpet does ascend to the high G directly above the fifth staff line which should be in the range of a good high school trumpeter. The harmonies are, of course, that special blend of Niehaus techniqueandthus,thisarrangement might be that breath of fresh air needed in a Christmas type concert. Recommended.
Air and Dance for tuba and violin by Arthur Frackenpohl. Tuba~ Euphonium Press, 1995. Approximate duration 5:00. $8.00.
There probably isn’t a brass player alive that hasn’t come in contact with Mr. Frackenpohl’s music. Whether it is his Concertina for Tuba and Strings, his various suites, or plethora of quintet music, we are much the richer for having him as a friend. The aforementioned comments hold true for his newest addition, Air and Dance for tuba and violin. The printed music is very easy to read. A word of caution: the violin part will take a good violinist who is thoroughly adept at 2nd,4th, and 6th position. It is an awkward violin part, but very playable after working out some of the shifting ranges. Ranges are Violin: g-a3 Tuba: G-d flat1
This music has all the hallmarks of Mr. Frackenpohl’s music. Lovely melodic lines and fun technical passages abound. Foremost is the sense that we are to have fun with this music. The Air is a lovely song in C Major. The violin and tuba get equal time with the melody and each instrument gets to play some wonderful counter melodies. The tuba part is very straight~ forward with a few large leaps. The violin has some double stops that will take working out. It is well worth the effort as this is one of the nicest melodies ever given to the instruments in question. Dance is a quirky piece that jumps around and has a general air of each instrument chasing each other around in some colossal game of tag. At first glance, the tuba part doesn’t look too difficult, but pitfalls await. There are many instances of difficult melodic jumps, accidentals that appear out of nowhere and time changes that tum you around. The violin part is troublesome in that it is written very awkwardly and will require some slow practicing to find the right position to ease the burden of some of the intervals. All~in~all, this piece is a great addition to our repertoire. It is this reviewer’s hope that more composers will start experimenting with the tuba in more varied settings. This is a strong addition to anyone’s recital and all tuba players’, and violinists’, libraries. Highly recommended. ~ Chuck Jackson Free Lance, Las Vegas
Le Livre d’Orgue de Montreal (The Montreal Organ Book) CD Recording featuring Damien Herisset (organ), with the choir La Mattrise de la Cathedrale d’Angers and Bernard Fourtet (serpent); Ateliers du Fresne # 300002.2; Ateliers du Fresne, B.P. 12,44370 Varades, France. Obtained from Ecole Maitrisienne Regionale des Pays de Loire, 10 rue du Vollier, 49100 Angers, phone 02Al~88~60~61, email email@example.com, approx. $40 US with shipping.
This recording is a fine example of the serpent in its original application in the accompaniment of plainchant being perform, ed by the leading practitioner of this venue. The tracks consist of a mass for organ and unison choir, a Magnificat, and a few hymns taken from the famous Montreal Organ Book of Jean Girard.
Girard was a schoolmaster and trained church musician when he set foot in the new world at the small town of Quebec, New France, which counted 5,000 inhabitants in 1724. He brought ith him tWO organ books, one of which numbered 540 pages of manu cripe This volume is now considered to be the most significant example of French organ music from the time of Louis XlV.
The selections on the recording are either composed by, or are obviously influ~ enced by, the king’s organist, Nicholas Lebegue, and share many characteristics with the masses of Couperin. The form of the music generally alternates short segments between the choir and the organ, and the musicians on this recording adhere to the original version, including serpent doubling of the unison voices on all vocal sections. Girard was himself a serpentist from his youth as a choirboy.
Besides the Mass and Magnificat, the hymns on this recording include the Pange Lingua and Tubas Cum Citharis; both of these had special significance to Girard. It is thanks to the Sulpicians of the seminary in Montreal, where Girard made his career, that these works have been rediscovered in our time. This CD features what are probably the only recordings of most of these selections.
The recording was made in the church where Girard grew up in Bourges. The acoustics are excellent for the style. The choir has the appropriate sound, and the accompaniment by the instrument the CD booklet calls Les Grandes Orgues de la Cathedrale de Bourges is powerful yet complimentary to the voices. Fourtet’s serpent is rich and sonorous, and does a fine job of supporting the vocals without overwhelming them.
I recommend this recording as one of the best examples of the serpent in its original venue. For those interested in obtaining a copy, please consider the source listed above; I had great difficulty in locating a source, and it was with the help of Doug Yeo of the Boston Symphony that the source in France was finally utilized. Also, be aware that there are at least two other recordings of the same name which are quite different; one of these is readily available from Amazon and Tower, so don’t be misled into buying the wrong version.
~Paul Schmidt Heavy Metal Music
[Ed. Note: Since the serpent is part of our heritage, we occasionally have reviews devoted to it.]
Svenska Messingkvartetten (Swedish Brass Quartet) CD Recording featuring the Swedish Brass Quartet. Caprice # C A P 21593. Caprice Records, Stockholm, Sweden. Obtained from SwedishMusicShop.com, approx. $1 7 US.
Svenska Messingkvartetten is an ensemble made up from members of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra who perform on antique brass instruments of Swedish design and manufacture. They specialize in performances of older, period music of the sort appropriate to the instruments, primarily transcriptions of operatic tunes, polkas, waltzes, and other light fare.
The group was formed to give life to a collection in manuscript form of late 19th century brass quartet music, completed in 1905 in Gothenburg by military musician Carl~Albert Holmqvist. This individual was responsible for quartet arrangements for the Gata Artillery Regimental Band in that city. All selections on this record~ ing come from his collection, which numbers some 432 musical pieces.
Brass ensembles of the sort written for by Holmqvist, and realized on this record~ ing, were popular in the Sweden of the late 1800’s for light concerts at fashionable resorts, parties, private clubs, etc. Until the middle of that century, brass instru~ ments in Sweden were imported primarily from Germany, and their ensembles had little to distinguish them from those on the continent. After 1850 or so, Swedish makers had developed their own unique versions of brass instruments with consis~ tent characteristics with versions ranging from the comet to the tuba. These featured rotary valves, wide bores, minimal bell flare, and small diameter conical mouthpieces. They were notable for a soft yet bright timbre easily distinguishable from the brasses found elsewhere. Instead of slide trombones, the Swedish ‘family’ included tenor pitched rotary valve instruments.
The players on the recording include Mark Schrello (B~flat cornet), Hans Larsson (alto horn), Christer Torge (valve trombone), and Aldo Johansson (tuba). The instruments are all old Swedish types, and the CD booklet features numerous group photos and close~up shots showing details of the horns.
The CD includes 28 tracks and clocks in at about 73 minutes duration. There are some Swedish tunes such as Gota Coldinu and the Sharpshooter Polka, wedding marches, and medleys of popular tunes compiled by Carl M. Bellman and known at the time as Bellman Potpourries (including one of Swedish national melodies). There are well known tunes by von Weber, Richard Wagner and Offenbach. Dance numbers by various German composers are listed. The French are represented by Valse Bleue. Finally, one cannot fail to recognize Under Dubbelomen (Under the Double Eagle).
The performances are all expert and cleanly played. The instruments are remarkably in tune, and the unique Swedish brass timbres sound like no other. The recording itself was made in a studio environment and sounds the way one would expect given the best of modem audiotechnology.Onelistenerhascom~ mented that the recording overall sounds almost too perfect, given the period instruments and aged tunes. I heartily recommend this CD both for pure listen~ ing enjoyment and as an archival example of the instruments and music of the time and place.
~Paul Schmidt Heavy Metal Music
Elegie CD recording featuring Thomas Ruedi, Euphonium adn the Brassband Burgermu ik Luz rn conducted by Ludwig Wicki. Bauer Studios CD 875. No price given. 2000. Total Time: 59:32.
This is one of those discs that just blows your socks off when you hear it for the first time and any number time after. Thomas Reudi is one of those true virtuoso players of the instrument and breezes through this disc as if it were a grade school reading primer. The music includes Elegie Op. 30 of Henri Vieuxtemps, Zigeunerweisen by Pablo de Sarasate, Variations on a Rococo Theme Op. 33 by Peter Iljitsc Tchaikovsky, Chants russes by Edouard Lalo, Fantasie Originale by Ermano Picchi, Nocturne Op. 19 by Tchaikovsky, Banjo and Fiddle by William Kroll, Meditation by Frank Bridge, Danse du Diable vert by Gaspar Cassado and L’Heure exquise by Reynaldo Hahn.
Each of the works features extraordinary playing by Ruedi in terms of articulation, phrasing, tone and overall musicianship. He possesses a beautiful, singing tone that is never forced, pinched or strained regardless of the range. He ascends in such a way that his tone simply appears and because of his projection, one is is not overwhelmed when he does this. He descends into the depths with the same kind of projection and ea e. At no time is there any indication of “wow, listen to how high I am going,” or “gee this passage is so low.” He simply plays the notes.
As for the music, the high points are, in the opinion of this reviewer, the Sarasate, Kroll, Bridge, and Hahn. All require exquisite musicianship, total control of the instrument in all ranges, dynamic nuances and musicianship.
It would be easy to dismiss this ing as just another “show off” disc from someone who is blessed with these gifts. However, after repeated hearings, the musicianship is what remains as the constant and the technical wizardry is forgotten, because it is there as a total part of the music and not a special effect. This album should reside in the library of every brass player. Highest recommendation.
Brassass Band of Battle Creek CD recording conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulo . Brass Band of Battle Creek 766 North Kalamazoo Marshall, MI 49068 USA Phone (616) Fax (616) 1025. http://www.bbbc.net $15.00 plus $2.00 shipping. Ask the webmaster for additional information on this CD. 2001.
This is a welcome addition to recordings by American Brass Bands. There are two CDs in this collection and they are taken from two concerts by this group March of 2001. While there are no tuba solos, there are two wonderful by a euphonium soloist of the second movement of the Sparke Euphonium Concerto and the Mountain Song by They are played with great musicianship and sensitivity by the anonymous solois which in fact brings this reviewer to another point. There is no program boo which would identify most of the posers, arrangers, players or soloists nor are they identified on the labels of the discs. There are some wonderful solos the soloists should have been identified.
There is something here for everyone and the music features everything from Copland’s Fanfare for The Common Man to a Motown medley. The playing is fantastic and bravura in every respect from every section. Dynamic, rhythms, phrasing and interpretations are all of the highest caliber and one could ask no more of any ensemble. Other music performed includes Liberty Fanfare, Festive Overture, 1941 March, On with the Motley, Lullaby for Basie, Cute, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company BBBC, Incantation and Dance, The Cowboys, Laura, Swing Low Saints, Lover Man, Sing, Sing, Sing, Duet from The Pearl Fishers,Long Road to Justice from Amistad and the Finale from Symphony No.4 by Tchaikovsky.
One hopes for more recordings from this group, but please, next time, how about a program book and let’s identify and acknowledge the players and soloists? Highly recommended.
~Barton Cummings [Ed. Note: We learned that the euphonium soloist is Steven Mead.]
Studio for Brass text by Colin Holdom. ISMN: M~050~05393A. Studio Music Company, P.O. Box 19292, London, England NW10 9WP. Phone: 0208830 0110. Fax: 0208451 6470. E~mail: sales@studio~music.co.uk. Call or write for current pricing information. Book is available in treble or bass clef edition with CD1 included. CD2 and CD3 are available for an additional cost. 2000.
This new beginning brass course of study contains many clever features not always found in a method book. Like many of the newer American beginning band series, this course of study features a sequence of study with a mostly “pop” sound track accompaniment. The CDs were commissioned from Rob Hall who studied at Manchester University, The Royal N orthern College of Music and Berklee College in Boston, MA. He blends a “click~track” rhythm with piano, drum, and bass background with the actual lesson material played on the trumpet and baritone in unison. In this way, the combination of inter sting chord progression and characteristic sounds of the trumpet and baritone can sustain the student’s interest longer. Of course, some of the practice time should also be away from the CD so the material can also be mastered with the student’s own sound and rhythmic integrity. The author suggests students wishing to play trombone should first take the course on baritone and then again on trombone when they are sufficiently grown to comfortably reach 6th position. As the course is designed for all brass instruments, one of the disappointments of the CDs is that the sound of the tuba (as well as cornet and flugelhorn) is not used.
The book consists of thirty~eight lessons sequentially organized into progressively more challenging rhythms and extensions of the first notes. Each lesson features one or two key concepts with several short excerpts to play along with the CD. The material is organized so each lesson is two pages long. The spiral binding allows each lesson to be seen in its entirety. Other positive aspects of the lesson design include each new note being introduced with a keyboard layout, position number on the trombone, and the valve combina~ tion all pictured at the top of the page. Other concepts developed through the actual music excerpts are explained as needed with short phrases and examples. Each exercise is identified on the page in numerical order and with a specific CD track number.
One of the more brilliant aspects of the first four lessons is the choice of starting on concert Bb or concert F. One can use the sequence for Bb for lessons 1~ 4 beginning with Bb ascending to F or use the sequence beginning on the pitch F descending to Bb for lessons 1aAa. The book then comes together on lesson 5 and continues as a unified approach from then on. The basics of sound production, notation, and note values are all on the first page of the text and are admittedly sketchy in nature. The instructor should take that as a point of departure to reinforce and extend these concepts through supplementary material in addi~ tion to the text. The British system of Quavers, Crotchets, Minims, and Semi~ breves are used along side of the Eighth note, Quarter note, Half note and Whole note. By the end of this text, the student has been introduced to the keys of C, F, Bb, Eb,and Ab as well as some minor keys, a range of two octaves from F-f1, rhythms through sixteenth notes and triplet eighth notes, concepts of dotted notes, repeats, slurs, ties, as well as basic dynamic and stylistic concepts. It moves about as fast as a traditional first year band method. The author comments in the preface that it is designed for an absolute beginner under the supervision of an experienced teacher and should take at least 18 months to complete the course with no other books required.
The text itself is attractive in design and easy to read. The music is mostly original material interspersed with old favorite folk tunes like London Bridge and Oh! Susanna as well as short classic melodies like the theme from the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, March from Aida and many others. There is also a seven~page supplement of blank staff paper at the end of the text for additional material assigned by the instructor or for personal composition.
One minor drawback is that the CD included in the book only covers the first 93 exercises through Lesson 5. Lessons 6~ 15 are covered in CD2 and lessons 16~25 are covered in CD3. What is disappoint~ ing is that the rest of the text has no CD accompaniment, but contains some of the more interesting melodies to be accom~ panied. Perhaps there were some copyright restrictions on the more famous melodies. Another drawback is that, as of this printing, there is not a more advanced text continuing the process of comprehen~ sive musicianship beyond the beginning stage and no suggestions are given as to how to continue. However, these points aside, the book is well organized and pedagogically in the mainstream of brass development. This course of study can work well as an alternative to the more prevalent band method series and especially for the beginning private brass student who mayor may not be concurrently enrolled in a beginning band program.
~Dr. Mark Nelson, Pima Community College