New Materials Mark Nelson, editor
The T.U.B.A. 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 With rare exceptions, unpublished manuscripts are not considered for review.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 T.U.B.A. 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 T.U.B.A. 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.
Music Received February 1-May 1 with thanks:
Jesse Wills What’s In Store CD recording featuring Jim Self, jazz tuba
The Legend of Heimdall CD recording featuring John Griffiths, tuba and the Orchestra of the Capella of St. Petersburg EUgie CD recording featuring Thomas
Live Recording from Battle Creek and Interlochen CD recording featuring the Brass Band of Battle Creek
REVIEWED IN THIS ISSUE:
Arban Complete Method for Trombone & Euphonium edited by Joseph Alessi & Dr. Brian Bowman
Jurassic Tuba!, a Mesozoic Menagerie for Tuba and Piano, by Roger Jones
Toward the Millenium, A Fanfare in Celebration by Barton Cummings for tuba solo and tuba quartet accompaniment
The Ides of March for tuba and piano by Juhani Komulainen.
Three Inventions for Tuba and Piano by Elliott Schwartz
Four Ragged Fables by Robert Denham for solo tuba and piano
Kanon by Ludwig Senfl arranged by William D. Pardus for euphonium/tuba quartet
Loconic Overture by William D. Pardus for euphonium/tuba quartet
Three Madrigals for Euphonium/Tuba Quartet arranged by William D. Pardus
National Songs Of America arranged by David Uber for tuba/euphonium quartet
Two Birthday Rags by Rodger Vaughan for tuba/euphonium quartet
The Waste Land, by Neal Corwell for tuba solo with four-part tubaeuphonium ensemble
Finale from William Tell Overture by Rossini, arranged by Peter Smalley for tuba/euphonium quartet
Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber arranged for Tuba/Euphonium Quartet by Kenyon Wilson and for Six – Part Tuba/Eupbonium Ensemble by David Spies
Tuba Sauce for tuba/euphonium quartet by Peter Smalley
Russian Sailors’ Dance from The Red Poppy by Reinhold Gliere arranged for Tuba/Euphonium Quartet by J. Kelly Diamond
Brass Quintet/Chamber Music
Pastorale from the Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli, arranged for brass quintet by Paul Schmidt
Spectrum for Horn, Cello and Tuba by Elliott Schwartz M
ai Sims by Giles Famaby arranged for ten-piece brass ensemble (4 trpt, 4 trb, horn, tuba) by Elgar Horwath
Americana CD recording featuring the Westwind Brass
Bagpipes & Brass CD recording featuring The Denver Brass
Brassil plays Brazil: Brass Music From Northeastern Brazil CD recording
MJT Project “Live at the Bottom Line” CD recording featuring Winston Morris and alumni of the Tennessee Tech tuba/euphonium ensemble
Philip Jones Brass Ensemble’s Greatest Hits CD Recording featuring the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Move CD recording by Tubalate Earth and Moon CD recording by Tubalate
Magnetic Rags CD recording featuring the Avatar Brass Quintet, music arranged by William Ryden Genesis CD recording featuring Brian Meixner, euphonium soloist
Arban Complete Method for Trombone & Euphonium edited by Joseph Alessi & Dr. Brian Bowman. Catalogue number 9175. Encore Music Publishers. P.O. Box 786 Troy, Michigan. Phone/fax; 800-261-5676 USA. Outside USA dial US access code +810-643-6425. Web: www.encoremupub.com. $49.95 plus $5.00 U.S. Shipping. 2000. 394 pages.
After Encore Music Publishers and Wesley Jacobs produced an Arban Complete Method in 1996 which was edited and transcribed specifically for tuba, euphoniumists and trombonists have awaited an updated and corrected edition of their own. Through the collaboration of Joe Alessi and Brian Bowman, such an edition has now been published. Though there are many desirable features contained in the Alessi/Bowman edition, the most obvious improvement is the spiral bound stmcture of the book, finally putting to rest the broken spines and loose pages of thoroughly practiced older versions. In addition, this publication restores the sections containing “150 Classic and Popular Melodies” and “68 Duets” found in the original trumpet edition makes this book the only complete Arban method transcribed for euphonium and trombone players. Furthermore, the section on scales has been expanded to include a larger number of key signatures. Another drawback of the older Randall/ Mantia Arban book for euphonium/ trombone is the presence of quite a number of errors of various kinds. Alessi & Bowman have worked hard to correct these discrepancies. Although a few small errors are still present, this new edition is not only closer to being error-free, it is also much easier to read than previous publications. In particular, problems discerning ledger lines in the upper register have been eliminated with the dark, clear print of this book. Also, page turns have been much more thoughtfully placed; and, if a page turn is necessary, the spiral binding enables the performer to accomplish this task with only one hand, unlike the gymnastic adventure inherent with the older edition. Even if a performer was able to accomplish the awkward page turn, there was no guarantee that the page would stay turned, or even that the book would stay on the stand and not end up on the floor! Thankfully, this barrier has now been removed. Additionally, mistakes found in the original trumpet book have been corrected, such as replacing the word “Cadence” with the more accurate term “Cadenza.” Moreover, the error in the symbol for a gruppetto, or turn, has, at last, been remedied. Pictured upside down in the trumpet book as well as in the euphonium/ trombone book, this mistake surely must have bewildered more than a few students. Best of all, Alessi and Bowman have included their helpful hints at the beginning of each section, and these provide a wealth of excellent pedagogical material. From multiple tonguing syllables of tah kah tah kah, instead of tu ku tu ku and dah gah dah gah for faster tempi, to the suggestions of using the vowel shapes of oh, ah, and ee, the comments of Alessi and Bowman are colorful, informative, and descriptive. One rather serious problem did exist in this edition: pages 353-356 were partially missing, which includes portions of the Fantasie and Variation on Acteon and the Fantasie Brillante. Hopefully, this has been rectified or was merely a one-time fluke. Regardless, producing this edition of Arban’s complete method was an exhaustive project of considerable merit. Although the $50.00 price is a bit daunting, this book does include an additional 133 pages from the previously available incomplete version. And, the editor’s comments and conections provide a definite advantage over the older version. Without a doubt, this publication offers more for the musician and will weather the wear and tear of years of practice much better than its predecessor.
~ Dr. Sharon Huff, Illinois State University
Jurassic Tuba!, a Mesozoic Menagerie for Tuba and Piano, by Roger Jones. Tuba- Euphonium Press, David Miles, Editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA, 22003, USA, (703) 916-0711. Copyright 1999. $20.00. Approximate duration: 20 minutes.
This work is a suite of six movements, each named for a different dinosaur: Dimetrodon, Pterodactyl, Velociraptor, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and T. Rex. The first three movements are quite easy. They have the range of an octave-and-athird or less. They are simple in form, melody and rhythm, with easy tempo and meter changes. They could realistically be performed by a junior high school player. Each is under three minutes in length and they offer a pleasing contrast in mood. Their styles are indicated successively as: Proudly, Soaring slowly, and With energy. The piano accompaniments are also simple and easy.
The last three movements are more challenging, suited more for a high school or college player. Each has about a twooctave range and they get progressively longer and more difficult. Their forms are not the simple A-B-A structure of the earlier movements. Their styles are indicated successively as: Boldly, Lumbering, and Aggressively. The last, T. Rex, is the most difficult and the most abstract, involving more rhythmic and metric changes than the other movements. Its accompaniment is also noticeably harder than those of the other movements.
This piece is well suited for a contrabass tuba. It is written mostly in the staff and a little below, with its highest note being a B-natural at the top of the staff, and its lowest, an E-flat four ledger lines below the staff. Although fairly long, the work could be successfully performed with only chosen movements, the first three for a younger player, the last three for a more advanced one.
Although not a showstopper, this piece works well. The movements are interesting and cohesive, offering a satisfying variety of moods and styles. The solo and accompaniment parts compliment each other well, and the tuba part suits the instrument well. All, or parts, of this piece would be a nice addition to a student recital. A couple of movements would also be good selections for audition or contest pieces. 1 recommend this piece to the teacher looking for a contemporary, yet accessible work for his or her students.
~ Mark Mordue, Ball State University
Toward the Millenium, A Fanfare in Celebration by Barton Cummings for tuba solo and tuba quartet accompaniment. Wehr’s Music House, http://members.aol.com/wehrsmusic, fax (407) 679-0208. Catalogue number WM #214. Copyright 2000. $14.00. Approximate duration 6:00.
This fairly new work was written for Kelly O’Bryant and the University of North Carolina Tuba Ensemble, Dr. Dennis Askew, conductor. It has five short sections: a lively opening allegro followed by a relaxed and flowing andante espressivo, a short cadenza, the return of the opening allegro material and a closing presto section.
This is a well-written, enjoyable piece. It is very tonal throughout with traditional harmonies. It is light and lively, using a lot of diatonic scalar material. The accompaniment writing works well. It is neither too heavy nor too busy. Except for the contrasting andante section and the cadenza, most of the piece is of a fanfare character, but one of brilliance rather than power. This work brings to mind Elizabeth Raum’s Concerto del Garda. Stylistically, this is a short, fanfare version of that kind of piece.
The solo part covers from G below the staff to G above. Its range, and the style of the piece call for the lightness and brightness of an F-tuba. The quartet parts are not very difficult and are reasonable in range. The first euphonium stays mostly at the top of the staff and above (to one high B-flat). The second part stays around the top of the staff. The first tuba part is mostly in the staff, and the second tuba is at the bottom of the staff and below (down to one low D). Optional treble clef euphonium parts are provided.
A fanfare such as this works well in several ways. It will set an exciting mood for the concert to follow, it allows a soloist to show off, and it will please the audience. It would be a good work for a soloist to perform with a good high school ensemble, although it is appropriate for a college group as well.
~ Mark Mordue, Ball State University
The Ides of March for tuba and piano by Juhani Komulainen. Sulasol, Fredrikinkatu 51-53 B, 00100 Helsinki, Finland. Catalog #S564. No price given. Time will vary.
First performed by Harri Lidsle and Tarmo Jarvilehto, The Ides of March takes its title from the play Julius Caesar by Shakespeare and the warning of the Soothsayer: Beware the Ides of March. This is a work that will require enormous amounts of ability from both of the instrumentalists, and a lot of very intense rehearsal to pull off. For the most part, it is in free meter, but with small sections of metered music interspersed that will be the most demanding aspect of performing this piece. Complete control of extreme dynamics, ability to play a good high G# above the staff, and excellent flexibility are all part of the requirements necessary for the tuba player who wishes to perform this work. A flair for the dramatic and a good sense of pacing are also critical to make the piece work. Also, a pianist who has a good grasp of wide, and often dissonant, intervals is essential. This is not a work for the faint of heart or the timid. It is a full blown hard blow for the tubist, and a solid workout for the pianist. In the hands of capable virtuoso performers, this will be an exciting experience for performers and audience. Recommended for those with the ability and interest.
~ Barton Cummings
Three Inventions for Tuba and Piano by Elliott Schwartz. American Composers Alliance, 73 Spring Street, Room 506, New York, NY 10012. No price given. Time c. 6:00. 2000.
This fine work was written for Scott Vaillaincourt, is in three movements, and is an advanced composition that will require a tubist with excellent dynamic control in all registers. The performer must also have good range and technique in order to negotiate some wide and dissonant intervals. The pianist will also need to have a solid technique, a good understanding of contemporary music, the ability to negotiate complex rhythmic gestures, and a good sense of improvisation. This is also true of the tubist, as there are some free sections for each.
The first movement is marked at quarter note equals 60 and begins with the solo tuba. The piano enters seven bars later. This is a lyrical movement in which the tuba gets a chance to sing nicely in both the upper and lower registers. There are dynamic changes that appear suddenly, and the last part of the movement will require a mute for the tuba.
Movement two is marked at quarter note equal to between 104 and 108. This movement is much more angular and explosive from both instruments. It will require some good flexibility from the tubist and pianist to negotiate some of the very complex rhythmic gestures cleanly and accurately. There are free sections rhythmically based on intervals that are notated. While it is somewhat senza measura, the two players will need to have a sense of where each is in the score. A very interesting and well-crafted movement.
The last movement is, again, slow with the quarter note marked at 60. This movement calls upon both performers to play at extreme dynamic levels, and yet maintain a lyrical style and feel. It is a very expressive movement, and a suitable conclusion to this piece.
This reviewer has been a long-time fan of Elliott Schwartz and his music. This piece and Schwartz’s Spectrum for Horn, Cello and Tuba, to be later reviewed, while too late to be played by the reviewer, are a welcome and wonderful contribution to our repertoire. Elliott Schwartz is one of those composers who have consistently written music that can only be termed masterful and truly wonderful. Highly recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
Four Ragged Fables by Robert Denham for solo tuba and piano. Tuba – Euphonium Press, David Miles, Tuba – Euphonium Press Editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA 22003. 703-916-0711. www.tubaeuphoniumpress.com 1998. $12.00
Sir Edward Elgar described his friends, or incidents in their lives, in the movements of his Enigma Variations, only labeling each with the friends’ initials. leaving listeners and critics to puzzle about who the dedicatees were. Unfortunately, the victims in Robert Denham’s piece have no such anonymity. It is one thing, I suppose, to have a composer write a setting of music that depicts your bulldog falling into a canal and only be identified by initials. How would you like your name to be forever connected to something called Sea Slug (the third of these Fables) ? All four persons referred to are, fortunately, tubists, and thus probably have thick skins when it comes to this type of thing.
These Fables are moderately difficult, and could be played by a good high school or college student. The composer says they, “lean heavily on the mannerisms of American music from the early part of the twentieth century. Elements of ragtime, early jazz, parlor music and hack country hoe-downs are all present.” That is true, to a great extent, although we all know by now how much to trust what a composer says about his own compositions. Caveat emptor.
At the beginning of the first Fable, Poultry Education (“Leamin’ Chikins t’fly”), we are presented with what seems to be the old tune “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”, although it might just be a coincidence. Ragtime influence is heard throughout this one, although my pianist and 1 were constantly checking notes. The half steps between the tuba and piano I suppose could be justified – 1 might have cut class the day they explained those. But at other times we seemed to be purposely playing in two different keys.
The Ribbitting (A Nocturnal Flubbub) put me in the mind of Stephen King, and is more successful in living up to its billing. The composer explains it thus: “…camping at a mountain lake…two frogs gradually narrowed the distance between their calls and answers to such a point that they ultimately sounded together. This brought the chorus to an abrupt and comic halt as each frog waited in vain for the other to answer.” Well, I’ve heard some juries like that recently. Actually that doesn’t quite happen here, but it’s close. The tuba is a gigantic frog, sounding CC – DD flat as the “ribbet”, which is probably the biggest challenge here, making that interval speak on a CC tuba.
Now to the Sea Slug. This is where I have the most problem with what the composer has written. After opening long chords, the tuba intones long notes in a mournful manner. Slow, smooth eighth notes occupy the soloist for a while, and after an interlude, the eighth notes start again. This time, you begin to see on the page, notes that are x’s where the actual note pitch would be. An asterisk directs you to a message from the composer: “These notes should be fingered only. The clicking sound of the valves is desirable.” As the x’s have accidentals by them, he seems to want a certain sequence of notes fingered. Some are notes where the fingering does not change from the previous note. Should we push down some other valve? And do we still have the sound of air moving through the horn? Mr. Denham is vague about this. If that were not enough, the same x notes appear in the piano part, but the explaining note is the same as that for the soloist. How does the pianist accomplish this? Click her nails on the keys? What if she doesn’t have long nails? And in some halls you wouldn’t hear this sound anyway. Somehow, this effect seems just plain silly.
The fourth Fable, Ragbugs, is the most straightforward of the movements in the solo part, alternating primarily between an F and a D flat chord, although the half step relationship between tuba and piano is back, and the finish is reminiscent of the Haddad Suite for Tuba.
I can’t really recommend this as, for instance, a contest piece, and I don’t really think it has enough heft to be a recital piece, unless you have the personality that blends with its quirkiness. If you are looking for novelty, it may not be bad for you. The range is from CC to e‘ with an optional F.
~ Michael Short, Drake University Tuba – Euphonium Ensemble
Karum by Ludwig Senfl arranged by William D. Pardus for euphonium/tuba quartet. Creation Station, P.O. Box 675, Marlborough, New Hampshire 03455- 0675. Catalogue #114. Approximate Duration 2:20. $12.00 Euphonium I/II range: d – g‘ Tuba I/II range: BBb – f
Ludwig Senfl was a leading composer of the Renaissance period, and is renowned for his sacred music. This short piece (only 86 bars long) is arranged by William Pardus, Professor Emeritus of Music at Keene State College (NH). Kanon is unusual in that the primary melodic responsibility falls to the second and fourth voices. It is a fairly attractive piece that is certainly not technically demanding and is easily within the reach of a good high school quartet. Some more editing is required to make the voicings more clear as, due to the limited range employed, the piece can tend to sound somewhat muddy.
While the parts and score are all produced professionally it seems cheap not to have put the parts on facing pages rather than back-to-back. To perform the piece a photocopy of each second page would be necessary to alleviate the quick page-turn while playing! Both euphonium parts come in bass clef and B flat treble clef.
~ Jonathan Baker, Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand
Laconic Overture by William D. Pardus for euphonium/tuba quartet. Creation Station, P.O. Box 675, Marlborough, New Hampshire 03455-0675. Catalogue #115. Approximate Duration 4:20. $20.00 Euphonium I range: F – g‘ Tuba II range: BBb-f
I can envision some advanced high school or college level quartet enjoying getting together and working up the Laconic Overture. All four parts enjoy a moment in the sun, as no particular part has a substantially greater thematic role than the rest. Musically, this piece has as much going for it as a large number of other original compositions for tuba quartet (or brass quintet for that matter). Technically the ranges, dynamics, notations etc. are all standard and professional. The score and parts production is clear and accurate. Both euphonium parts come with treble and bass clef alternatives.
However, I am sorry to admit that this work falls within a category of pieces in which I feel the repertoire is currently overstocked. In the key of B flat and largely in 6/8 (with brief forays into 5/8 and 9/8), this piece has more rhythmic unison than you can shake a stick at! The composer says in his introductory programme note that the work is, “written in an A-B-A format, the ‘B’ section contains several short sub-themes while the ‘A section exhibits several brief ‘fanfare-like’ passages.” How many pieces can now be described like that, do you think? The big test 1 like to apply to a work is, if this were written for string quartet would it ever see the light of day? Maybe not.
~Jonathan Baker, Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand
Three Madrigals for Euphonium/Tuba Quartet arranged by William D. Pardus. Creation Station, P.O. Box 675, Marlborough, New Hampshire 03455-0675. Catalogue #113. Approximate Duration 4:20. $ 20.00 Euphonium I range: d – a’ Euphonium 11 range: B – d‘ Tuba I range: F – g Tuba II range: BBb – g
According to the programme note in the score “the Three Madrigals included in this work present examples of both the Franco-Flemish and English traditions of late 16th century madrigal style.” The first. If Loveliest of Spirits by Philippe de Monte, is in mixed meter skipping between 2/4, 3/4, and common time. April is in my Mistress’ Face by the English madrigalist Thomas Motley is certainly a beautiful work arranged very nicely for the four voices. The dynamic range is from pianissimo to forte and while it is only 38 measures long, it still provides an opportunity for a group to express themselves. The third work, Thyrsis, Sleepest Thou?, by John Bennet is another attractive piece that has been arranged well.
The parts and score are produced professionally, and are clear and easy to read. Both euphonium parts are included in bass clef and B flat treble clef. This would be a good suite of pieces for an advanced high school quartet or better.
~ Jonathan Baker, Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand
National Songs Of America arranged by David Uber for tuba/euphonium quartet. Kendor Music, Inc., 21 Grove Street, P.O. Box 278, Delevan, NY 14042-0278. Catalog #18104.Time: 5:30 without repeats. Price: $10.00. 2001.
This is a collection of five songs associated with America and include America, America The Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of The Republic and The Star Spangled Banner. These songs are so well known, that little needs be said about the music. The arrangement of the songs is extremely well done, and fairly traditional. There are no extreme ranges or technical demands required of any of the performers, and the publisher places this arrangement as a Grade 2, which is absolutely correct.
This is an arrangement of some wellknown tunes and would be extremely useful for young ensembles to use to develop their phrasing, dynamics and musical style. More advanced groups will find this collection useful for those times when these particular tunes would be called for. Recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
Two Birthday Rags by Rodger Vaughan for tuba/euphonium quartet. Tuba-Euphonium Press, copyright 2000. Total duration, approximately 8:00. Grade 4. $10.00.
Songwriter and frequent composer for the tuba, Rodger Vaughan has created two charming compositions for tubaeuphonium quartet, Colorado Cool and Kansas Kindling. Both are in the style of ragtime jazz, although each composition is completely notated, thus no improvisation is required. The melodies are pleasant, the dynamics and expressive indications contribute to an effective musical performance, and most importantly the scoring of the chords, bass lines and countermelodies are wide enough to allow each to be heard clearly. All too often music for tuba-euphonium ensemble lacks harmonic or melodic clarity due to poor spacing between the parts. Vaughan successfully unifies the sounds of the ensemble while avoiding the sonic confusion and unpleasantly thick chords that plague too much of the literature for this ensemble.
Unfortunately, no score is provided, which proves an obstacle in rehearsal. On the other hand, the parts are legible, clearly marked, and placed logically on the page. A small error exists in the Tuba 1 part of Kansas Kindling, which is missing a coda symbol at measure 69. Ranges for each part are as follows: Euphonium 1, a’ -f; Euphonium 2, f-c; Tuba 1, b – F; Tuba 2,f-FF.
~ Dr. Tom Bough, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
The Waste Land, by Neal Corwell for tuba solo with four-part tuba-euphonium ensemble. Tuba-Euphonium Press, David Miles, Editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Aimandale, VA, 22003, USA, (703) 916-0711. Copyright 2000. Approximate duration 7:30. $15.00.
Inspired by the T. S. Eliot poem of the same name. The Waste Land was written for, dedicated to, and premiered by Stacy Baker and the Morehead State University Ensemble. The premiere was at the Southeast Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Lexington, Kentucky in February of 1999.
This is definitely a serious work. In his accompanying program notes, Neal Corwell describes the work as portraying his vision of a dry, barren and inhospitable waste land that still holds some slim possibility of eventually becoming the paradise it once was. The piece is dissonant and abstract, the various sections setting moods rather than presenting themes. One is left with an overall impression that may be described as dark and menacing, although the piece does end on a more peaceful, if still dissonant, note. It achieves coherent structure and unity through repetition of motives and through the imitative or contrasting nature of its elements. Dynamics and rhythm play an important role throughout the piece. The ensemble and solo parts are fairly conservatively written, containing nothing really challenging in range or technique. The solo part could be played on either a bass or contrabass tuba. The piece will take some rehearsal time getting ensemble and balance clean, and developing the emotional interpretation of each section. It is probably more suited to the musical skills of a college ensemble than a high school one.
An opening section described as “brutal” develops into plaintive sighs in the ensemble contrasted by rhythmic and dynamic surges in the solo part. A quiet, chordal transition leads to a section of rising and falling slurs in the ensemble contrasting with exclamatory rhythmic gestures in the solo part. In a short interlude the soloist establishes a sextuplet motive that the ensemble develops into driving surges of sound. The soloist answers the ensemble in a call-and-response effect. A short cadenza eases the mood back into the opening sighs and the piece ends with soft, slow pyramids of chord clusters. You would not want every piece on your program to be as dissonant and dark as this one, but it will provide a successful contrast to the rest of the program. It also provides a vehicle for presentation of a solo artist, and is a work that represents original and serious repertoire for the tuba-euphonium ensemble well.
~ Mark Mordue, Ball State University
Finale from William Tell Overture by Rossini, arranged by Peter Smalley for tuba/euphonium quartet. Studio Music Company, P. O. Box 19292, London NWIO 9WP, England. Cost £10.50.
Published in collaboration with the British Tuba Quartet, Peter Smalley’s arrangement of William Tell is a familiar addition to the tuba/euphonium quartet literature and can serve as a great showpiece. As you may expect, it is a difficult piece, but with the exception of the very high notes towards the end, it does sound a lot harder than it really is. Every member of the ensemble needs to be proficient in their double-tonguing, so this will certainly work better with a quartet rather than an ensemble. The program notes are informative, and their suggestion to exaggerate the dynamics is a must for a successful performance.
The range is rather demanding: first euphonium range from G to e-flaP, second euphonium range from G to c^ first tuba range from BB-flat to f , and second tuba range from EE-flat to b-flat. An optional 8va basso section is indicated in the first euphonium part towards the end of the piece, and an optional 8va part is labeled in the middle for the first tuba in case the performer is playing an E-flat or F tuba. Considering the range, the first tuba part should be performed on a small tuba.
Both euphonium parts are available in bass clef and B-flat treble clef. First tuba parts are in bass clef and E-flat treble clef, and second tuba parts are in bass clef and BB-flat treble clef The parts are computer generated and easy to read with the exception of a difficult page turn in the tuba parts, which is hard to avoid since there are essentially no rests in the parts. Considering the audience appeal of this piece, if your quartet has the range and the technique, Smalley’s William Tell is an excellent addition to your repertoire.
~ Kenyon Wilson, Valdosta State University
Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber arranged for Tuba/Euphonium Quartet by Kenyon Wilson and for Six – Part Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble by David Spies. Tuba – Euphonium Press, David Miles, Tuba – Euphonium Press Editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA 22003. Both printed 2000. Six – Part ensemble $14.00, Quartet arrangement, $12.00
Anyone who has spent much time listening to classical EM radio will have no trouble placing the Adagio for Strings. It seems to be a hit during Pledge Week, although I’m sometimes tempted to call in money so they WON’T play it anymore. Barber was serious when he put the Adagio marking on this. You would be tempted, as the conductor of a tuba ensemble, to speed it up a bit because it is also very soft, and the sounds of bodies falling off chairs and tubas crashing to the floor might distract the audience from what really is, after all, beautiful music.
What we have here are two different arrangements of the Adagio that both work, but in their own different ways. Seeing the six-part arrangement by David Spies and reading his recommendation that all the parts he doubled, you immediately think of power of sound and dynamics. The big fermata two thirds of the way through is ff, but it is for the endurance factor that the parts are doubled – you might not have more than 8 or 9 players producing sound at any one time in the softer sections. This also allows you to greatly reduce the volume at the end, using only six players on three different parts. With Kenyon Wilson’s arrangement, there is a more compact, and even darker, sound. Whereas Mr. Spies’ arrangement is marked with a key signature of a-minor, and ends on an E- major triad, Mr. Wilson’s arrangement has a b-flat minor signature, and ends on an F-major chord. The choice of a smaller ensemble for this case fits well with the history of the piece. It was originally the slow movement of an earlier string quartet, which he later expanded into a setting for string orchestra, the usual form in which it is now heard. The melodic line in Mr. Wilson’s arrangement stays almost entirely in the Euphonium I part, whereas Mr. Spies passes it around the voices, and this also is consistent with Barber’s treatment of the piece. There is an alternate ending Mr. Wilson provides, having the last four bars played only in the tubas, although it requires more than one on a part. If you are using a quartet, the euphoniums can participate in the ending.
This is all in 3/2, 4/2, 5/2 and 6/2 time, in slow quarter notes. If you play the fourpart arrangement one to a part, have some oxygen handy. At nine minutes long, the audience might at first think it’s a long tone exercise, but it has the power to move the most jaded concert-goer if you do it right. Which arrangement you choose depends on your resources. The compass of the parts in the quartet: euphonium I, c – c flat^; euphonium II, B flat – g’; tuba I, E flat – d flat’; tuba II, FF – g flat. In the sextet, the compass of parts is; euphonium I, d – b flat’; euphonium II, G – fl; euphonium 3, G – c’; tuba 1, BB – e’; tuba 2, E – c’; contrabass tuba, EE – d. Also be advised that the euphonium I part in the Spies has three incorrect notes in measure 59, and should be doubling the tuba I part an octave up.
~ Michael Short, Drake University
Tuba Sauce for tuba/euphonium quartet by Peter Smalley. From the BTQ Collection published by Studio Music Company, PO Box 19292, London NWIO 9WP, England. £10.50. Ranges: 1st euph: G-a’; 2nd euph: F-P; 1st tuba: GG-c’; 2nd tuba: EE-flat-a
Published in collaboration with the British Tuba Quartet, Peter Smalley’s Tuba Sauce is intended for “…the lighter end of the market…” as compared to his more difficult Cool Suite. Smalley’s aim is true, as Tuba Sauce will be a hit with the advanced high school group and the professional ensemble.
Ketchup is the first condiment of this four-movement musical meal. Hip, funky unison sections alternate with rhythmic ostinato figures and motivic melody lines to create a nice tension/release texture. Each player gets a chance to solo (briefly) over the same driving bass line. Things get a little thick as the tuba parts are scored fairly low, and mostly a perfect fifth apart. Things get positively ‘Heinzian’ in measure 63, when all four solo lines are combined for an eight-bar jam. On the other hand, a low 1st tuba part makes this the easiest movement for young players to pull off.
Gravy seems a strange title for a reggae (really…reggae!) tune until you understand that it is the name of a West Indian cricket supporter (ah…that dry British wit!) This movement is constructed exactly like the first: repeated bass line with a simple melody swapped around, broken up by unison tutti lines. One thing that might help the less musically astute performer would be some articulations that establish the long/short accented rhythms of this style. Otherwise, a quarter-rest followed by two eighth-notes could sound like a march or even a polka!
Caramel is the sweetest selection of the set. Tight harmonies in the upper three (and occasionally all four) voices weaving sinuous homo-rhyhmic lines sound like a sax section soli on the last slow dance of a very romantic evening. You’ll wish you had a slide for the ultra-wide vibrato that just seems natural on the sustained notes of each phrase. Rarely does a measure pass without a change in tempo or dynamic – molto rubato, mezzo nodal Custard is the cool jazz conclusion to this condiment quartet. Although the 2nd tuba is tasked with yet another repeated bass line, clarity is much greater among the other voices, and this tune grooves right along. A nice effect is achieved by having nothing but bass line and off-beat finger snaps. One by one, the snappers add a layer on top to build the hollandaise of all finishes.
The publisher has thoughtfully included extra parts. There is a complete quartet in bass clef as well as euphoniums in B-flat treble, 1st tuba in E-flat treble, and the second tuba has both E-flat and B-flat treble clef parts. Unfortunately, there are some minor printing errors as well: the 1st euphonium (either clef) has rehearsal marks misnumbered in the third movement. M. 62 in the first movement is simply missing from the score (!). There are no tempo indications (they can be found in the preface, but why not print them in the score and parts?). Also, it would be nice to have chord progressions for those who wish to divert from the printed solos. It will not be the ‘meat’ of your recital, but Tuba Sauce will enhance your main course, and bring a smile to both chef and connoisseur.
~ Karl Hovey, US Navy Band
Russian Sailors’ Dance from The Red Poppy by Reinhold Gliere arranged for Tuba/ Euphonium Quartet by J. Kelly Diamond. Tuba ‘ Euphonium Press, David Miles, Tuba ‘ Euphonium Press Editor, 3811 Ridge Road, Annandale, VA 22003. Phone #703-916^0711. www.tubaeuphoniumpress.com 2000. $ 12.00.
There are lots of versions of this tune, which is a favorite with audiences everywhere. Compared to Gliere’s monumental three symphonies, all fine works, this gets performed quite a bit. Now we have this arrangement by Mr. Diamond, written for, and dedicated to the group he is a member of, the United States Navy Tuba Ensemble. This is a good rendition, and well laid out. It adheres very closely to the original, except for one counter-melody not in my orchestral recording (which sounds very nice on euphonium, of course, so I guess it’s okay), and it is shortened at the end by a couple of bars. You won’t miss those bars – there is no rest for anyone in the four minutes this takes to play. Any problems here are not in the arrangement, but in the execution. Melody lines and running sixteenth note passages get thrown from player to player, and every eight bars or so there is a different feel to the music that almost requires playing with a different texture of sound. You will not want to double parts, at least certainly not all the way through the piece, as it needs to be kept light to keep the tempo so that it does not sound plodding and clumsy. In the hands of a very good high school or college group, on up to the professional level, this would be a great closer for a recital program. My one complaint is that all four parts have impossible page turns that, if you don’t do some copying, can slow up the performance while the performers struggle with the pages. The compass of the parts is: 1st euphonium, E – b flat’; 2nd euphonium, E – g‘; 1st tuba, AA – c‘; 2nd tuba, EE – a.
~ Michael Short, Drake University
Brass Quintet / Chamber Music
Pastorale from the Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli, arranged for brass quintet by Paul Schmidt. Heavy Metal Music, PO Box 954, Mundelein, IL 60060. 2000. Approximate duration 3:00. Grade 3 1/2. $10.
This arrangement for brass quintet from the famous Corelli Christmas Concerto sounds great on the first reading, due to clear typesetting, accessible rhythms written in a 12/8 time signature, and intelligent scoring choices. For instance, the range of the tuba part is from FF to g; the other voices are likewise placed in their optimum registers.
Arranger Paul Schmidt designed this version to stand alone, but also took the time to align the key, harmonies, and measure numbers with the Robert King arrangement scored for brass sextet, such that the two versions would be compatible if played together. Pastorale represents one of six movements from Opus 6, #8 of Corelli’s work, a composition commonly known as the Christmas Concerto, since it is often played as an overture to a Christmas Mass. Originally scored for strings and continuo in the key of G major and E minor, Schmidt has considerately moved the key signature to one flat for this arrangement. The score creates a great deal of interest for both the players and the listener by specifying dynamic contrasts, dramatic pauses, contrasts of texture, and an equal distribution of melodic material between the voices. This fine arrangement admirably captures the beauty and dignity of Corelli’s original composition.
~ Dr. Thomas Bough, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
Spectrum for Horn, Cello and Tuba by Elliott Schwartz. American Composers Alliance, 73 Spring Street, Room 506, New York, NY 100. No price given. Time: 8:00. 1998.
Composed for Richard Francis and Scott Vallaincourt, this work is another example of the fine musical craftmanship that so characterizes the music of Elliott Schwartz. Although this is a set of seven variations, it takes but eight minutes to perform. It is a difficult and complex work] that will require careful rehearsal and attention to detail. The learning of and perfecting this work is made a little easier by the composer, because all three performers read from the score, thus giving them the opportunity to learn the other parts and to know where they all are at any time they need to check their progress.
The composer provides clear and precise directions to the performers. Primarily written in traditional notation, there are some other sections in which the music proceeds in measures that are in clock time. Clock time is when there are blocks of sound that are to last a specified number of seconds. As well, all performers are called upon to speak very rapidly into their instruments real phrases and sentences that are punctuated by abrupt silences or pauses. The words that are spoken are taken from the mnemonic that was used to teach children the colors of the spectrum, that grand old fellow, Roy G Biv, commonly known as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. This is a very colorful work, no pun intended, and is fun to play and hear. It is difficult, and is not for the weak, but for those possessed of the ability to handle music of this caliber. It is a first class addition to the tuba in chamber music setting. This work and Three Inventions for Tuba and Piano would be worthy additions to the Tuba-Euphonuim Press offerings. One would hope that Elliott Schwartz and the Press will find each other. Highly recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
Mai Sims by Giles Famaby arranged for ten-piece brass ensemble (4 trpt, 4 trb, horn, tuba) by Elgar Howarth. From the Brass Connection series published by Rosehill Music Publishing Company Limited, 64a London End, Beaconsfield, Bucks, HP9 2JD, 1999. Approximate duration 2:00. £ 10.95
In conjunction with Rose Hill Music, famed tmmpeter/arranger and, more recently, conductor Elgar Howarth is producing a series of brass chamber music (Brass Connection) designed to be “…works of quality and substance…” He has done just that with Mai Sims, a work originally by 16th-century English composer Giles Farnaby.
At 42 measures long, and an indicated tempo of quarter note = 138, Mai Sims is no program filler. It is instead, a brilliant fanfare, full of lusty block chords and alternating sections of florid, running sixteenth notes. Dynamic shadings are subtle, and often coincide with a change from tutti to soli sections. Rarely does the dynamic drop below mf, and the overall texture is a rmrcato forte.
The tuba part (FF-b-flat‘) is fun and, as long as the tempo doesn’t get out of hand, easily playable by a university student. A sixteenth-note G-major arpeggio seems out of place (surrounded as it is by measures of rest) until you realize it is simply the bottom of a 3-octave cascade beginning with the 2nd trumpet and passing through the horn. A thoughtful editor includes a “ghost” quarter note pickup “g” one octave lower to ease the top-space entrance. The other instruments have more challenging parts. Trumpets must be able to handle multiple measures of articulated sixteenth notes, brief slurred thirty-seconds, and (in the first trumpet) a solid high register (to c^). The trombone parts are meaty but not difficult, and the horn part is probably the most challenging (fun?) as it contains extremely important material and requires a mature and energetic performance to balance the rest of the choir.
Although there is no alternate instrumentation provided, the publisher has included what amounts to an entire second set of parts. Perhaps in the interest of universal acceptance, trumpet parts are in both C and B-flat; horn is printed in both F and E-flat; trombones are in bass and Bflat treble clef; and the tuba player can choose from bass clef, B-flat treble, or Eflat treble clef! All the parts are beautifully edited and ptinted on single sheets. This is a solid, exciting fanfare that would be at home on any brass choir program.
~ Karl Hovey, US Navy Band
[Ed. Note: We generally do not review music for brass ensemble but the historical nature of this arranger and the music warranted an exception]
Americana CD recording featuring the Westwind Brass. Barry Perkins, John Wilds, trumpets, Barry Toombs, horn, Richard Gordon, trombone and Brent Dutton, tuba. WWCD Recordings-1002, Westwind Brass, P.O. Box 86879, San Diego, CA 92138. No price given. TT: 65:38.
This is an excellent recording of music associated with America and contains some fine arrangements of well known folk tunes, popular music hits, and marches by well-known American composers. Leading off the disc is An American Revolutionary War Medley as arranged by Jari Villanueva. Contained in the medley are the tunes God Save The King, Chester, The British Grenadiers, and Yankee Doodle among others. It is like a passing parade of different melodies associated with this period in American history and the arrangement is excellent. From the Civil War Brass Journal, we have three works transcribed by Jari Villanueva. First there is the Big Thunder Quickstep a march by Claudio Grafulla who was Director of the 7th Regimental Band of New York during the Civil War. He is also famous for the march Washington Grays. Next is the well-known and beautiful song by Stephen Foster which was transcribed from the Port Royal Band Books of the 3rd New Hampshire Regimental Band. This lovely ballad was played at Foster’s funeral by musicians from Philadelphia. Last is a wild and woolly workout for the trumpeter, in this case, John Wilds, called Wood Up Quickstep by John Holloway. These works typify the style, melodic writing, and harmonies so often associated with this era in American Music, and they are well played in a tasteful transcription.
A transcription of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts is next in a nice transcription by Villanueva. This is followed by an arrangement of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag by Arthur Frackenpohl which in turn is followed by Brent Dutton’s arrangement of Joplin’s Solace. Both are well-played and delightful examples of the music of this composer.
The “March King,” John Philip Sousa, is featured on this disc by an arrangement of his march Liberty Bell arranged by Battles & Holcombe. It is well done and well played. Thereafter, we are treated to a series of arrangements of some of the most popular of all American music by George Gershwin, Joe Garland, Glen Miller, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and two Dixieland tunes. That’s A-Plenty and The Original Dixieland One-Step. Other tunes include I Got Rhythm, Love Walked In, In The Mood, Moonlight Serenade, and Take The A Train among others. All are well arranged and very finely played.
Goncluding the disc is Brent Dutton’s Suite of The Americas, which uses some well-known tunes from Canada, America, Mexico and Brazil. It uses such tunes as Dn Canadien Errant, The Maple Leaf Forever, Hat Dance, Desafinado, Joplisousiana, which combines the music of Joplin and Sousa in a clever way. All of these pieces make for a great ending to this disc.
All considered, this is a marvelous disc, which everyone would enjoy. It has something that will appeal to any taste, and it is a well-performed disc by virtuoso performers. Highly recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
Bagpipes & Brass CD recording featuring The Denver Brass. Klavier Records K- 11107. Klavier Records, P.O. Box 810157, Boca Raton, FL 33481-0157. Price will vary depending on dealer. TT: 62:36.
While not a new concept, this is a highly entertaining disc combining brass instruments and bagpipes performing traditional tunes and excerpts, and recent compositions. The sound of the bagpipes, brass, and percussion makes for some stunning sonorities and colorful contrasts in the music. From the traditional repertoire come such tunes as Scotland the Brave, Cabar Feidh/Farewell to Nigg, and Amazing Grace, all of which are wellscored, well-played and have a unique quality to the performance. Recent compositions include Highland Cathedral by Michael Korb and Ulrich Roever uses all of the forces in a striking and dramatic piece that is sure to become a favorite of players and audiences alike.
The Girl I Left Behind Me was used by Leroy Anderson in his Irish Suite and is a favorite of concert bands and orchestras and needs little, if any, description. It was first published in the American colonies in 1770, which, by the way, is the birth year of Beethoven. This is a well-played rendition by the brass and percussion. L. Scott Skinner has contributed Hector the Hero, a tone poem dedicated to the Scottish hero Hector Archibald MacDonald, who rose from the rank of Private to Major General in the British Army during the Victorian Age. Highly regarded by all, he committed suicide after a scandal, and his funeral was attended by more than 30,000 mourners.
This is a fine piece, and one that will become very popular and hopefully performed often. John Williams certainly needs no introduction, as his music has become so popular due to his talent in composing for such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Schindler’s List, Star Wars, and Superman. This transcription of the end credits by Kenneth Singleton is a summary of the main themes in the score. A wonderful transcription that is nicely performed. Other music by John McLeod, P. Monj arret, Mark Saul, Gustav Holst, Percy Grainger, and Ralph Vaughan- Williams round out the disc. The music is exciting and challenging, and will be enjoyed by all. Some of the music will be familiar, such as the Holst and Grainger, while other music will be new to some not familiar with the music for brass band and brass choir.
This album is planned out well, and the program is logical and varied, thus holding the listeners’ attention throughout. All of the performers are of virtuoso caliber, and this ensemble plays in tune with great dynamic and rhythmic precision and is in all ways professional. Highly recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
Brassil plays Brazil: Brass Music From Northeastern Brazil CD recording featuring Nailson Simoes and Ayrton Benck, trumpet and flugelhom, Radegundis Feitosa, trombone and euphonium, Cisneiro de Andrade, horn, Walmir Vieira, tuba and Clauco Andreza, percussion. Nibus Records NI-5462. Price will vary. TT: 59:58.
Quintetto Brassil is an exciting quintet that plays a type of music from the Northeast, which is a region with varied and abundant cultural riches. This region was the center of the events that marked the early period of conquest and colonization. It is a region of natural beauty, as well as artistic traditions.
The disc begins with Suite Recife by Jose Urisicino da Silva, or Duba as he is known, in 1982 and is a five-movement work that is based on local genres or styles. The titles of the movements are taken from the names of the women of his household: Mida, his wife; Andrea, Dorinha and Meyse, his daughters and Nadja, a daughter-in-law. This is an exciting composition that makes everyone in the group work. It is an excellent addition to the repertoire.
Next comes Gonzagueando, again by Duba, a tribute to Luiz Gonzaga that is well known in Brazil. It is a nice little work that is fun to play and to hear. Other music by Duba on the disc include. Concertino, Musica para metais No. I, Marquinhos no frevo, Andrezza (waltz), Coletanea ‘93, Serenata no Capibaribe, Nairam and Tema para um trompetista. All of these works are charming, demanding and well-played by this group. All would be worthy of performance on any quintet program.
Trihgia matuta is a three-movement suite by Brazilian composer Dimas Sedicias. Self taught as a composer, he is also a percussionist with the Recife Symphony Orchestra. This is a major work for brass quintet that requires a lot of very detailed rehearsal in order to make all of the requirements work as they should. It is piece that should become part of the repertoire of all brass quintets with the ability handle it.
A neat arrangement of some piano pieces by Villa-Lobos by Jose Alberto Kaplan is also included, and is a fine example of how to arrange effectively for brass quintet. Finally, to close the album is an arrangement of a piece of music by Antonio Manuel do Espirito Santo called 220. It became the battle hymn of an expeditionary force at the end of WW 11 that fought at Monte Casino. It is a delightful number and well-arranged. All in all, this is a fabulous album for anyone to own. The musicianship is impeccable, the group is a virtuoso group in all ways. A special “hats-ofP’ to tubist Walmir Vieira, who turns in a remarkable performance. Highly recommended.
~ Barton Cummings
MJT Project “Live at the Bottom Line” Jazz tuba CD co-produced by Winston Morris and Joe Murphy. Available online at www.heartdancemusic.com. firstname.lastname@example.org (800) 884-8422. $15.00 plus $2.00 shipping and handling ($5.00 outside the United States).
This is a wonderful new recording!! Winston has done it again. For 5 years, back in the early ‘70’s, I got to “share” the state of Tennessee with R. Winston Morris. He taught at Tennessee Tech and I was at the University of Tennessee. We became friends, shared music and occasionally did clinics together. He was such a dynamo (sleeping only 4 hours a night). At that small rural university, Winston built a tuba-euphonium class unparalleled in the nation. He was so good that I was forced to leave Tennessee for incompetence (just kidding). He went on to develop the most important and innovative tuba-euphonium ensemble program in the world and his name has become synonymous with conducting and promoting the large T/E Ensemble concept.
Along the way he found time to do so much else. He is one of the founding fathers of T.U.B.A. His conception and co-editorship (with Ed Goldstein) of the Tuba Source Book make him the leading encylopedest for our instrument (a work of scholarship equal to composing a concerto). He is the co-founder, along with Scott Watson, of the large pro ensemble Symphonia; and he was a charter member of the Matteson-Phillips Tubajazz Consort. Winston held down the bottom tuba chair of that most important jazz ensemble for it’s entire duration (late 70’s thru early 90’s).
The Tubajazz Consort made a big splash with recordings, concerts and festivals, and was an early and important incentive for developing young tuba and euphonium jazz players. (If you haven’t heard their recordings – you must get them!) One reviewer called it “Count Basie down an octave…a whole new definition of a BIG band.” The Tubajazz Consort, (three euphoniums, three tubas and four rhythm), was the musical child of Rich Matteson who led the group, wrote most of the charts, and amazed the world with his jazz solos. We all suffered by his untimely death – not only for his great playing and teaching but because it meant the end to the Tubajazz Consort. His personality, philosophy and playing were so strongly identified with the group that it was hard for Harvey Phillips and the others to go on without him.
I know Winston pretty well and know and that the Tubajazz Consort was one of the hippest things he ever did. In the years since, he has been planning, cajoling and searching for a way to get those musical highs back in his life – and to continue the great work that Rich, Harvey et al had started. So now we have the MJT Project, another product of the fervent mind of Winston Morris. Unlike many college tuba/euphonium professors, Winston htis always encouraged his students to play jazz and commercial music, to double on bass and other instruments and look at their musical futures in the big picture – how to make a living. He always had small jazz tuba ensembles and played much jazz with his large T/E groups at Tennessee Tech.
Along the way he developed some fine talents who went on to successful careers in commercial music. The proximity of Nashville (an important center for commercial recording and musicians) gave him access to superb rhythm section guys and improvisers. At the urging of former students Joe Murphy and Richard Perry, the concept came to reality with this, their premier recording. They gathered a great rhythm section from Nashville, and filled out the euphonium section with three very different and wonderful players.
The MJT Project is much more than a clone of the Tubajazz Consort. It is both a reminder of that famous group and a look into the future. Rich Matteson, for all his awe inspiring playing and writing, remained a very conservative musician. He had very strict opinions of what was good jazz and the TJ Consort reflected this conservatism. His musical vocabulary and tastes stopped about 1960 (like the PBS Jazz Series) and he had no room for more modem jazz concepts. It worked well for him but put a damper on any new ideas, tunes, arrangements and ways of soloing for the group. The Tubajazz Consort was in a time warp. The MJT Project breaks those chains, uses the best of the Matteson style, and moves in many new directions. This is essential for the long-term health of any musical group and an absolute imperative in the creative world we call jazz.
The CD opens with a bumin’ uptempo (over 300 bpm) Cherokee – a rite of passage for true be-boppers. Joe Murphy takes the first of many F tuba solos on this album. He’s become a fine jazz player, swings his butt off with good pitch and ideas to boot. Billy Huber (one of the Nashville guys) plays a screamin’ euphonium solo (this guy has some super high chops!! – up to double I>^). The final solo is by guitarist Marty Crum whose guitar pick must still be hot to touch.
Valvin’ On a Riff is a medium-groove swing tune featuring Richard Perry’s tasty F Tuba solo. (The lack of improvising tuba players in the Matteson-Phillips group was always a limiting factor and Richard and Joe are a great addition to the MJT Project). Marty again solos followed by a fine euphonium solo by Marcus Dickman. This man is the real surprise soloist to me on the CD. 1 love his sound, ideas and the logical flow of his lines. He knows a lot of Matteson’s licks but with the smoother quality of Bob Brookmeyer’s valve trombone. Drummer Jeff Lloyd (solid throughout) rounds out the arrangement with some “fours” with the ensemble.
Rich Matteson’s beautiful chart on the Hoagie Carmichael ballad, Skylark, is next. The melody is played by Joe, with Marcus on the bridge and Billy ending. I think 1 also hear Winston’s great bass notes in there.
Rene’s Song is a fast samba arranged by the multi-talented Joe Murphy (also of the fusion group Conversation). In a (welcome) departure from the rest of the CD, Barry Green and Billy Huber switch to their other horns – trombones – for their quite spectacular solos. They trade fours at the end showing their command and the differences between them. Barry is the smoother player, Billy the edgier and high note master. While the MJT Project is primarily a tuba-euphonium group, it is nice to hear as many colors as possible. (Maybe some future chart will have three trombones and three cimbassi). Tony Nagy (who swings throughout this recording) plays a superb electric bass solo followed later by short funk slap breaks. Cookin’ At the Continental is an up tempo be-bop tune arranged by Richard Perry. It’s a riff on “rhythm changes” and has all the horns playing the fast line and features fine solos by just about everyone. Sandu, another Richard Perry arrangement, is a medium Eh blues with Richard taking the first solo followed by Marcus and pianist Steve Willets.
The Summer Knows, a famous ballad by Michel Le Grand, is arranged on this recording by Jim Williamson. Jim, an old friend and colleague from my days in Tennessee, is a great trumpeter and writer in Nashville and is a member of Conversation. His Bill Evans-ish voicings are complimented by the beautiful lead and solo of Barry Green. Blue Rondo a la Turk is the old Brubeck “odd-meter” line arranged by David Esleck and Joe Murphy with E blues changes in the soloing. Richard, Marty, and especially Marcus’ wonderful stuffstarting with guitar accompaniment only. David Esleck’s original tune 1-95 follows and (like Blue Rondo…) is another new chart that helps MJT move into the future. Joe and Barry are the standout soloists.
The CD ends with Matteson’s chart on Oleo. This was always a show stealer for the Tubajazz Consort. Rhythm changes, fast and furious with the entire ensemble bumin’ on the line. Steve, Joe, Marcus and Billy add their solo voices and the entire group plays that nearly impossible tag ending… “WOW.”
This album was done “live” and is testament to the fine, spontaneous soloing and ensemble playing of these superb players. Overall, the album is well recorded. 1 would prefer acoustic bass and piano on the swing tunes but it is a wonderful first outing. 1 would encourage all to listen to the MJT Project not as a tuba-euphonium band but as a wonderful new BIG BAND — like you would Bill Holman or Bob Florence.
~ Jim Self, Hollywood recording artist
Philip Jones Brass Ensemble’s Greatest Hits CD Recording featuring the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. Decca Record Company, Ltd. (Universal Classics Group, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY10019) www.universalclassics.com. No price given.
During the 1971-1972 school year I purchased my first two brass recordings. The first was The Brass of Three Great Orchestras. (The re-release of the compact disc version of that recording was reviewed in the recent past in the Journal.) The second was an LP called Just Brass, released in 1970 by The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble on the Argo label. While both of these recordings were inspiring to a 19 year-old tubist (and brass players everywhere), I most vividly remember the excitement that the Philip Jones recording inspired. The performances on that album were the first I experienced of the first brass quintet of Victor Ewald and the great Malcolm Arnold Quintet. This was also the first time 1 heard the playing of | our late friend and colleague, John Fletcher. Hearing these performances again vividly reminded me of (in fact, stirred anew) the pure excitement that welled up the very first time 1 heard them.
This two compact disc set of recordings is a compilation of some twenty-seven performances that span the entire recording gamut of this extraordinary group of musicians assembled emd led by impressario and trumpet artist, the late Philip Jones. From Baroque/Renaissance era works by Byrd, Susato, Bull, and Scheldt to quintet works, to the now very famous (and virtuosic) Howarth transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition, there isn’t a moment on this “best of’ recording that will let the listener down. Of particular interest to the readership of this publication are the wonderful recordings of John Fletcher performing all four parts of his arrangements of the famous waltz from Tchaikowsky’s Sleeping Beauty (published as Sleeping Tubas Waltz) and the first movement from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. For younger tubists who haven’t heard these recordings by John Fletcher or who are unfamiliar with the PJBE recordings of the Ewald first quintet, the Arnold, or the Bozza Sonatine, this recording is a required purchase and study item. The musicianship and virtuosity of John Fletcher defies verbal description, so print space will not be wasted here attempting description. It is very instructive. Get the recording and hear it — many times.
Thanks to Universal Cltissics for rereleasing this material. We can only hope that the recording industry will continue to re-release more of the historic brass recordings of the 1960s and 1970s. Whether you are a seasoned professional who remembers the release of Just Brass in 1970 or a student who is unfamiliar with the names of Philip Jones or John Fletcher, get this CD as soon as you can. According to the release announcement sent with the CD, it is available in stores now, so check your local outlets.
~ Jerry Young, The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Move CD recording by Tubalat^: Paul Walton and John Powell, Euphoniums; Ryan Breen and Ian Anstee, Tubas. ASC Records Ltd., 145A Chester Road, Macclesfield, England, SKll, catalogue number CD CS21. www.tubalate.com Record sales: www.tutti.co.uk no price given.
This is the third album by this wonderful English tuba quartet and provides a great vehicle to show off the group’s incredible versatility. The music recorded covers the whole gamut. From a wonderful arrangement of Bach’s Fugue in G minor by Peter Smalley, two excellent jazz arrangements by Michael Forbes (St James Infirmary and Just a Closer Walk) to several new and original works written especially for the group. In fact it is these new pieces that I find most captivating. The three-movement work. The Basics by Roy Newsome is very traditional and light-hearted, while Pascal’s Victim by Frederick Naftel is an excellent addition to the contemporary tuba quartet repertoire. Published by Da Capo Music, it is a technically difficult contemporary work played spectacularly by all members of the quartet. Its slow contemplative middle movement along with the final track “Prayer Before the Close of Day” by David Solomons, show-off what I consider to be the group’s most stunning attribute: their beautiful, slow, quiet playing. Blend, balance and intonation are all first-rate. This is also displayed in the middle movement of the 3 Negro Spirituals arranged by Timothy Moore and Adoramus Te Christe by Gasparini and arranged by Donald Miller.
Other new works include the brass band style March – FroT (as in Friends of Tubalate) by Simon Kerwin, Rest and Recreation by Floward Skempton, and the minimalist-like title track Move by Matthew Davidson which features short vocal readings by the members of the group interspersed throughout the music. It would surely guarantee an intrigued concert audience! “Aija Zuzu,” a traditional Latvian folksong beautifully arranged by Peteris Plakidis rounds out what is an excellent recording by this topclass chamber ensemble, and Considering the valiant work that this group has done for the tuba community in their education programmes and commitment to new music they certainly are entitled to our complete support.
~ Jonathan Baker,
Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand Earth and Moon CD recording by Tubalate: Paul Walton and John Powell, euphonium; Ian Anstee and Ryan Breen, tubas. Horizon Music Productions, published 2000. Recordings and sheet music available from www.tubalate.com.
This is the fourth CD from Tubalate, an English quartet that has been incredibly active since their inception in 1991. They have built a repertoire of 167 works for tuba-euphonium quartet, including a large number of commissioned works from prominent European composers.
In addition to recording their previous CD’s Move, Light Metal, and Episodes, and performances at Buckingham Palace and around Europe, the group devotes half of their time to educational ventures. In the October 7 th edition of the English journal Classical Music, tubist Ian Anstee states, “We realized quite early on that we couldn’t just play, that we’d have to do education work as well. It’s become very important to us and we try to achieve a 50 – 50 balance. All our work is educational really – very few people have ever heard a tuba quartet.” The stated goals of the ensemble are even more noble: to establish the tuba quartet as a serious performance medium and widen the public appeal and interest in low brass instruments.
Tubalate was formed while the members studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in England. Inspired by a visit from R. Winston Morris, the members of Tubalate eventually became the first tuba-euphonium ensemble to graduate from the conservatory with a professional performance diploma. As the reader might expect based on such impressive credentials. Earth and Moon offers truly outstanding musical performances. The quality of the 77 minute, 53 second recording is enviable. American listeners will recognize tbe faster vibrato and brilliant tone typically associated with English euphonium virtuosi. Likewise, the tuba tone quality is more diffuse than that characteristically produced by performers in the United States. These differences make Earth and Moon all the more enjoyable, especially in light of the polished musicianship, crisp articulations and cavernous dynamic range demonstrated by the ensemble. This CD offers a wide range of musical styles from the extended techniques used in the Heights of Halifax by Ian McQueen, to the appealing harmonies of Michael Regan’s Quartet, to the entertaining spoken text based on historical writings about beer featured in Tuba Quartet #2; Ale and Arty by Colin Bayliss. I strongly recommend this recording, and look forward to acquiring one of the three other discs from this ensemble. Interested readers should explore their expertly managed website, www.tubalate.com, for more information about the ensemble or to purchase CD’s and sheet music.
~ Thomas Bough, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Magnetic Rags CD recording featuring the Avatar Brass Quintet, music arranged by William Ryden. Klavier Music Productions, P. O. Box 810157, Boca Raton, FL 33481-0157, 2000. $15.95 plus shipping. Music published by Masters Music Publications, Inc.
From a listener’s standpoint, most ragtime compact discs start to sound the same after the second or third track, but Magnetic Rags is an exception. The flow of the tracks, the arrangements, and the high quality of playing make this compact disc an excellent addition to any collection. William Ryden has done a superb job of arranging these old classic rags for brass quintet, and even adds his own Frogmore Stew to the mix. The Avatar Brass Quintet, with tubist Matthew K. Brown, brings each rag to life with their fine musicianship. Although Scott Joplin is the most recognizable composer of ragtime and his works dominate the record, Ryden has done his best to ensure that the relatively forgotten masters of rag such as Joseph Lamb, James Reese Europe, Artie Mathews, and Luckey Roberts are once again given the chance to shine. Brief program notes also provide background on each of the rags. Whether you are a longtime fan or a novice music buff, this compact disc offers a window into America’s musical heritage.
Magnetic Rag, which was Joplin’s last completed work, is much like a rondo. Two different minor strains follow the first triumphant major strain. The accompaniment follows the basic “boomchick” feel with the tuba playing the boom with very little variation. Fizz Water, from one of the most enduring masters of ragtime, is a complex rag. The tuba has a small moment to shine in the trio section with two ascending scale patterns. Bohemia Rag, written by Joseph Lamb, is a very melodic, flowing, and delicate rag. At the end of the first strain, the trombone takes the melody from the first trumpet. However, this makes the rag feel sluggish. The rag concludes with a more aggressive return of the first strain. Rialto Rag, the product of a nineteen-yearold George Gershwin, was considered a novelty rag. Although this rag came near the end of the ragtime era, one can see the growing talent that the young Gershwin possessed.
Slippery Elm Rag sounds just like its name. The chromatic feel, slow tempo, and frequent take of the “boom-chick” accompaniment give this rag a lazy summertime-like feeling. Mississippi Rag is a rag based on American folk tunes. It begins in the minor key and moves to major and back to minor. The work opens softly, builds, and ends as softly as it began. Betherux sounds more like a waltz than a rag, but only Joplin could make it work. Because of the unusual three feel, it frees the tuba up for more than the usual “boom-chick” feel of a rag in two. Eugenia, another Joplin masterpiece, opens with a duet between the tuba and trombone.
The opening is very flowing and slurred. The trio sounds more like the trio of a march with its dogfight characteristics heard in the tuba and trombone. Compared to the rest of the CD, The Chevy Chase sounds very easy and unchallenging. It was simplified when originally written to accommodate for the average person. However, its uses of dynamics, spots of homophonic playing, and tempo would make it a test for the average player. Past Time Rag No.2 is one of only five rags written by Artie Mathews to have survived. After a short intro, the tuba has a secondary melody that consists of upward chromatic runs. The rag is ornamented throughout with short melodic riffs in the tuba part. Frogmore Stew, by William Ryden the arranger of all the rags on the CD, is the first track to feature the tuba in the solo role. The beginning of the second strain opens with a melodic tuba solo and then is answered by a faster more rhythmic section. A Real Slow Drag is the finale of Joplin’s only opera Treemonisha. The rag does feature the tuba with an arpeggiated solo that ends the first strain.
Pork and Beans, by Charles Luckeyeth, seems to have a life all of its own which drives it forward with great intensity. The rag has a blues influence within the minor strain, and near the end one can hear the tuba add its power to the piece with a roar. It may simply be the results of the Pork and Beans. The Creole Belles written by J. Bodewalt Lampe, one of the founding members of ASCAP, is a lighthearted and fun piece. Although fun, the tuba part demands good control and precision. Alexander’s Ragtime Band, though not a rag, has many of a rag’s elements and is a tribute to the ragtime era. It is a fim toetapping piece with the typical boomchick bass line.
~ Jeremy Johnson, Graduate Assistant, Valdosta State University
Genesis CD recording featuring Brian Meixner, euphonium soloist, with Caryl W. Conger, piano, the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble, Richard Clary, director and the University of Kentucky Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, Skip Gray, director. Bemel Music, Ltd. P.O. Box 2438, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Phone # 828-293-7469. No price given.
I approached reviewing this CD with some trepidation. You have to give Mr. Meixner credit for bravery, recording and releasing a CD recording while still doing his undergraduate studies. There is something to be said, however, for allowing talent and abilities to mature for a while before undertaking such a project as this.
Mr. Meixner has ability. He won First Prize at the North American Brass Band Association’s Technical Solo Competition, and it shows throughout the recording. But what I miss is what one of my friends recently described as “going beyond the music”. I learned early in my career that the interpretation of music involves contrast, and dynamic contrast is primary among the characteristics that make music interesting. I feel confident that Mr. Meixner is aware of this, but every time he tries to play fortissimo, he is already so loud that he has to really force his sound out. After about ten minutes or so, I was wishing fervently for something really soft and delicate. It may have been due to the recording technicalities, but there are enough different venues on this CD, from solo euphonium with piano, euphonium and band, and euphonium with tuba ensemble, for me to conclude that it is indeed Mr. Meixner who is at fault here.
Basically, when you look at the lineup of tunes on this CD, you expect to hear quite a variety of styles. Yet, they are pretty much played with the same inflections. Martin Ellerby’s Euphonium Concerto sounds pretty much like the rendition of David Gillingham’s Vintage, which sounds like Ralph Martino’s Introspect (here with the University of Kentucky’s Wind Ensemble), which sounds like William Rimmer’s Flailstorm. More diversity in the playing styles would make the entire collection more interesting. Caryl Conger, who does the piano accompanying on most of these tunes, does a great job of showing the way with contrasts, but Mr. Meixner doesn’t necessarily follow her lead.
Make no mistake. There is a lot of near-professional level playing here, and it shows great promise. I just wish Mr. Meixner had waited a little while, letting the simmering pot of his musical interpretative abilities come to a boil. But then, the name of the CD might just be very apt – the beginning of a performance career, if he can move on to the next level. Let’s hope he keeps in touch.
~ Michael Short, Drake University