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 With rare exceptions, unpublished manuscripts are not considered for review.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.
Materials received Feb. 1 – May 1 with thanks:
Sampler CD recording featuring Toby Hanks, tuba
I Killed My Lips CD recording featuring Roland Szentpali, tuba
Quintet No. I, Op. 5 by Viktor Ewald for brass quintet edited by Paul Schmidt
Metamorphoses CD recording featuring the Cuyahoga Valley Brass Band
Revoltillo by Chu Melendez arranged for brass quintet and percussion by Jon Nelson
Five Carols for bassoon (euphonium) and tuba arranged by Rodger Vaughan
Reviewed in this issue:
Ballad for trombone or euphonium and piano by Bruce Broughton
Heart of a Wolf for solo euphonium and pre-recorded accompaniment by Neal Corwell
Catoctin, opus 34 for solo tuba with band by Neal Cktrwell
Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by John Michael Lutlier
Mosey for tuba and piano by Bruce Broughton
Concerto for Tuba or Bass Trombone by Eric Ewazen
Finnish Rhapsody: Three Sketches for Tuba and Piano by Kim Borg
Sulatto for tuba, piano, and percusskm by Riika Talvitic
Taksenta for Tuba and Percussion by Edward Vesala
Fugue No. 9 from the Well-Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach arranged for brass quintet by Conrad Ross
Concertino CD recording featuring Steven Mead, euphonium, accompanied by the Lillestram Musikktirps, conducted by Gcrt Buitenhuis
The Essential Steven Mead CD recording featuring Steven Mead, euphonium, accompanied by the William Eairey Band conducted by Howard Snell
John Mueller – Euphonic Sounds, American Music for Euphonium and Piano featuring John Mueller, euphonium assisted by Dr. Joseph Holt, piano; Wotidy English, cornet; Steve Fidyk, drums and Jim Roberts, bass
Tyrone Breuninger – The Classical Euphonium t’D recording featuring Tyrone Breuninger, eu|-‘honum UNIT(A), “Fair Play” CD recording featuring the music of Glenn Horiuchi
Power CD recording by the Melton Tuba Quartet
Sykology, CD recording featuring Steve Sykes, tuba and Brendan Ashe, piano
Barton Cummings……… A Retrospective CD recording featuring Barton Cummings, tuba
Ballad for trombone or euphonium and piano by Bruce Broughton. Black Squirrel Music, Box 346, Kent OH. BSMlS-105. 1998. $9.95.
Full of sustained and legato playing. Ballad is a good introduction to this style for a young high school musician. The home key is B flat major, but it takes quite a few harmonic turns throughout. The meter is 12/8, with a single 6/8 bar in the main theme to make it come out right. After a statement of the theme, primarily in quarter notes and eighth notes, there are broken chords. These broken chords are legato and resemble a Remington warm-up exercise, especially in the way they descend chromatically. Each episode of broken chords moves up higher and higher, until the line is close to b-flatl, then moves up to that note chromatically while decrescendoing to piano. So the solo has its challenges. Immediately after playing the high b-flat, it goes into an eighth note line that would make the modem French composers proud, and then ends quietly with a restatement of the first four bars of the original theme.
This is a good way to expose a young player to this type of writing, and although it initially looks very hard (i.e., a lot of notes), once you dig into the piece, it makes a lot of sense, and with the proper direction, the student will find that it is challenging, but not difficult. The range is G-flat to b-flat’.
~ Michael Shore, Drake University
Heart of a Wolf for solo euphonium and prerecorded accompaniment by Neal Corwell. Nicolai Music, email@example.com, P.O. Box 253, Clear Spring, MD, 21722, 1998. Duration 7:05. Cost $25 with cassette $30 with CD accompaniment. Crade 6. Range AA – f#2.
Heart of a Wolf by Neal Corwell is one of his many compositions for euphonium with pre-recorded accompaniment. The combination of studio effects, spoken word and traditional keyboard accompaniment offer a cornucopia of sounds to compliment the soloist. The parts are very easy to read with excellent cues and an extra copy of page five (5) to facilitate a difficult page turn. The accompaniment CD comes with a performance track and a recording of Neal performing this work.
Technically this work has lots of notes within the context of very angular melodic lines. This demands of a high level of flexibility. There are sections that are marked AHAPfas high as possible). The rhythmic pulse is based upon the sixteenth note with an abundance of shifting meter – all of which are necessary to the flow of the work.
Musically this work offers a very different type of musical experience. There are very some very good markings to provide a starting place for musical interpretation. The performer must be willing to search for a very unique and personal approach to this piece in order for it to work. The Heart of the Wolf may not be for everyone, but will be very rewarding for those who reach for a deeper understanding of this composition.
~ Andrew Hoefle, South Suburban College
Catoctin, opus 34 for solo tuha with band by Neal Corwell. Nicolai Music P.O. Box 253, Clear Spring, MD 21722. Phone (301) 842- 3307. firstname.lastname@example.org . 1999. Score and parts (including solo) $60 (includes shipping). Tuba solo part only $10 (includes shipping).
Neal Corwell has become a well-known name in composing for the tuba and euphonium. He continues to build his reputation with this offeting, Catoctin, named after the Catoctin Mountains of Northwest Maryland. The piece was commissioned by Steve Dillon of Dillon Music for Kelly O’Bryant, who did the premiere with the United States Army Band on January 30, 1999.
The solo is a single movement work, but is divided into two sections, the first of which. Beginnings, sets the scene and introduces the principal themes to be used. Although not in the program notes, 1 seem to hear the approach of thunderstorms, which is especially apropos in the use of the tympani in the fast second section, called Echoes. The thunder comes from both the tuha and the tympani, and is rhythmically challenging. The tuba mostly plays sixteenth notes in the second section, and sometimes lapses into thirtysecond notes. In the first movement there are sextuplets along with the thirty-second notes, but at quarter note=60, that is not so bad.
Ensemble challenges rear their heads throughout the piece. In the first section, there are triple rhythms going against duple rhythms in the accompaniment, while the tuba plays on both. The second section is primarily in a fast 6/8 time, but with 3/8 and 2/8 bars sprinkled in. After the opening tuba theme, the accompanying voices take up the theme while the tuba elaborates on the theme and fills in where there are rests in the theme. This is a dangerous spot for most bands. With all the starting and stopping in the score, the really difficult thing is making the band go again after stopping. The tape of the premiere 1 received with the review copy shows that even the best bands can have trouble with this type of piece. The moments that worked the best were when the tympani had steady sixteenth notes and the tuba played out over that ostinato, and also when the tuba and the flute doubled the melody with just a few of the instruments in the percussion section marking some time. Where the tuba had to fight to get over the entire band, things wete not so successful.
At about 10 minutes in length to perform, you are not going on so long that you will lose your audience. And, indeed, this is an interesting piece to listen to. It will take at least a good college band with plenty of rehearsal time to do it justice, but maybe some outstanding high school bands may want to take a crack at it. It is certainly worth your time to work this one up and get your local college to program it. The printing is good, easy to read, and accurate. The only typo 1 could find was the natural that was left off the last note in the piece. The range, by the way, is FF to g-flaE.
~ Michael Short, Drake University
Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by John Michael Luther. JML Publications, 473 Lexington Circle, Oceanside, California 92057, email@example.com, 760-435-9367. 1998. Approximate duration 21:15. $175 (no rental), tuba and piano $30, shipping cost will vary.
This wonderful new work has been written for Norm Pearson, tubist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Luther’s Concerto is written in a traditional three movement, fast-slowfast, pattern. The movements are titled Processional, Ballade, and Native American Song. A piano reduction is also available.
The strongest musical statement is made in the Ballade. Luther dedicates the movement to the memory of his first music teacher, who happens to have been his mother. The resulting melodies beautifully expose the lyrical and singing quality of the tuba in the upper register. A short, contrasting allegro section is written in the middle of the movement and helps round out a very attractive A B A movement.
The first movement is composed in a modified-concerto form with a slow introduction. The solo tuba enters after the introduction on the first theme in an allegro tempo. Both theme one and theme two are technically challenging and chromatic in nature. The orchestra provides energetic tutti punctuation at key points in the exposition, development and recapitulation. These tutti sections will be challenging to balance between the orchestra and soloist. Many thematic ideas are sequenced at half step intervals in this movement, giving it a certain edginess. A cadenza is placed at the end of the movement and highlights the virtuosic possibilities of the tuba, including optional multiphonics. A short coda is written to close the movement.
Luther used a Native American song as a basis for the final movement, which is dance-like and written in 9/8. The finale is structured in a rondo format, but not in a strict manner. The theme is first presented hy the soloist over a rapid and difficult string passage. The pitches used in the theme encompass a pentatonic scale, and the theme is heard against a mostly chromatic accompaniment. Precision is very difficult to achieve between the soloist and accompaniment throughout the movement due to the rhythmic construction of the theme. The soloist (and orchestra) will need to fight the instinct to rush tied notes into syncopated figures. The theme is modified in each statement through changes in orchestration, tempo and mode. A slower idea is interjected in the middle of the movement and consists of material borrowed from the first movement.
The Concerto provides string parts in a 5- 5-5-5-5 complement and parts for pairs of woodwinds plus piccolo, alto flute, English horn and bass clarinet. The brass are scored 3-4-3-1, with trumpet parts in C. A harp player is needed in addition to four percussionists covering timpani, snare, bass, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, bells, and xylophone. The range required of the solo tuba is DD to a‘.
This is an excellent addition to the tuba repertory. The work is accessible to professionals, graduate students, or would be well placed on a senior undergraduate recital.
~ Ken Drobnak
Mosey for tuba and piano by Bruce Broughton. Black Squirrel Music, Box 346, Kent OH 44240-0006. BSMlS-104. $8.50. 1998
Mosey is a good title for this piece, especially as I understand the word. This opens with a jaunty theme, utilizing eighth and sixteenth notes in alternation, followed by a lyrical eighth note theme, all in an energetic, but not too fast tempo. The title becomes appropriate when the theme seems to “mosey” around through all sorts of keys! Beginning in E flat major, the theme is stated by the tuba. The piano plays an eight bar interlude in C major. When the tuba next picks up the theme, it is now in G flat major! (WARNING! While the tuba plays in G flat major, the pianist will find itself playing in F sharp major. 1 know that enharmonically they are the same key, but how do pianists feel about this?) Next, the tuba plays a boom-chuck accompanying line, while the piano gets the melody back in E flat major again, but not for long – we are headed to G major so the tuba can play the lyrical theme there. C major makes another appearance, and we get a bit chromatic coming around back to the home key of E flat major again.
This is a good piece for a young player, such as a decent junior high student who wants to stretch his/her reading abilities. There is ample opportunity for legato playing and articulating phrases. For a young player, the range of FF sharp to g may be a challenge, especially when it spends more than half the time above c, but the last leg of the solo is at the bottom of or below the staff. My big complaint is how some publishers handle page turns. The last one in this solo occurs between sixteenth notes. Getting past that, this is a good solo for young players to sink their teeth into.
~ Michael Short, Drake University
Concerto for Tuba or Bass Trombone by Eric Ewazen. Southern Music Company, San Antonio, Texas 78292. Grade 5-6. www. EricEwazen.com. no price given.
Those tubists familiar with the work of Eric Ewazen and his other compositions for brass instruments will find music of a very similar nature in this composition. The melodic, tonal, and rhythmic language is similar to that found in his music for Brass Quintet (Colchester Fantasy and Frostfire) as well as his other brass sonatas. The background of the work is described in this paraphrase of the opening notes of the composition: Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Tuba or Bass Trombone began life as a Sonata for Tuba or Bass Trombone and Piano. The tuba version of the piece was written for and is dedicated to Karl Kramer, who premiered the piece as Sonata for Tuba and Piano at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida in February of 1996. The New York premiere of this same version took place in April of that year with Jacomo Bairos on tuba and the composer at the piano. The premiere performance with bass trombone took place at the ITA Festival in 1997 with John Rojak as soloist. On the suggestion of Warren Deck, the accompaniment was orchestrated and certain changes made to convert the work into a concerto, to be used as the contest piece for low brass held at the Juilliard School in the fall of 1998. Bass trombonist Stefan Sanders premiered the work at Avery Fisher Hall with the Juilliard Orchestra, in this format. The Concerto is dedicated to the Juilliard School.
The range of the concerto is from EE to a-flat’. The extreme high register lies within an 8va ossia where the tubist may choose to play the higher notes down an octave. The first movement opens with an expansive tune that returns at the peak of the movement. The second theme is more rhythmic and syncopated. The second movement, marked Andante Expressivo is in an ABA song form that has a great deal of expressive opportunities for both the piano and tuba. The final movement. Allegro Ritmico, is the most technically challenging. There are a few metric shifts that will require some careful rehearsal, but the music maintains its flowing rhythmic vitality throughout. There is a brief cadenza in this movement that features a good bit of low playing. The work ends with a very energetic coda. I find this work to be very rewarding for both the pianist and tubist. The audience, though, has the biggest treat, as this is a very tuneful work that can easily find a home on the recital program of professional players and musically advanced students. This work is “modem music” without the sharp edges that the term “contemporary music” often conveys to an audience. I am unfamiliar with the orchestrated version but after performing this piece frequently in recital, 1 feel confident that the orchestrated version will be no less rewarding for the musicians and the audience.
~ Joseph Skillen, Louisiana State University
Finnish Rhapsody: Three Sketches for Tuba and Piano by Kim Borg. Distributed by The Finnish Music Information Centre, Lauttasaarentie 1, FIN-00200 Helsinki, Finland, 1992. Approximate duration 8:00. Grade 4. no price given. This composition is written in three brief movements that capture three different moods. The first movement On the Road is written with a rhythmically active and syncopated piano part that introduces the solo containing less rhythmic activity but is more tuneful than the piano part. The melody is in a quick folk style. The second movement Summer Night is marked Lento Cantabile. This is a very song-like movement with rising and falling scalar-type melodic lines throughout. The final movement Wedding is an up-tempo dance which, like the second movement, is filled with rhythmically similar rising and falling melodic lines. At a quick tempo this dance can be a bit challenging and interesting for the audience. All three movements have a folk-like melodic quality.
The range in the tuba part goes from AA to d‘. It involves no extended techniques. The tessitura lies in the upper middle register of the instrument throughout the composition, so this reviewer would assume it is written with an E-flat or F tuba in mind. The music is published in manuscript form and is very readable for the most part. The solo part reads easily, but the piano part is difficult to read at times due to spacing problems on the page. The solo part often is too close to the bass clef of the piano part on the staff above it. Other than this minor notational drawback, this piece is a welcome folk-idiom composition of medium difficulty that should be added to student and professional recital repertoire.
~ Joseph Skillen, Louisiana State University
Sidatto for tuba, piano, and percussion by Riika Talvitie. Distributed by The Finnish Music Information Centre, Lauttasaarentie 1, FIN-00200 Helsinki, Finland, 1998. Approximate duration 7:00. Grade 5-6. No price given.
While little is known by this reviewer about the composer, origin of this composition, and for whom it was written, I find it to be an interesting piece that explores the unusual instrumental combination of tuba, piano, and percussion. The composition is rhythmically complex with a great deal of contrapuntal rhythmic activity between all of the instruments. There are frequent metric shifts and tempo changes that accompany the metric changes. Though the tempo changes are not complex and appear reasonable. The interest in this piece lies with the interaction between the instruments and the opportunities the composer has given each instrument to act in a soloistic maimer within the dense rhythmic fabric of the work. The range for the tuba part is from BBB (pedal B) to e‘ that would make the part playable on either a contrabass tuba or bass tuba. The music involves no particular extended techniques on the part of the tuba player or pianist. The percussion part is full of multiple instrument changes, but a proper multi-percussion set-up would make the changes very manageable. The percussion part calls for use of a marimba, bass drum, tarn tarn, cymbal scraped with a triangle beater, and woodblocks. The percussion parts are very challenging, as are the other parts. This work will be very rehearsalintensive. One drawback of the work is that it is published as a score only and there are not any individual parts with the version I received to review. The score is very small and, though it is computer-generated, difficult to read from any distance. While rehearsals will best be served with the score, the ease of performance of this work would be greatly enhanced with larger-print parts for each instrument.
I think this work is an interesting one for this collection of instruments, but it is one that will require a great deal of rehearsal and three professional musicians with impeccable rhythmic acuity (especially good rhythmic subdivision skills).
~ Joseph Skilkn, Louisiana State University
Taksenta for Tuba and Percussion by Edward Vesala. Finnish Music Information Centre, Lauttasaaraentie 1, FIN-00200 Helsinki, 1998. Catalog #14 584. No price given.
Taksenta is organized around the exploration of possibilities in pitch, rhythm and color. Pitch and rhythm are both developed by contrasting traditional practices with 20th-century techniques. Along with color, these ideas are presented in unison, in solo passages, and juxtaposition.
The most important aspect in Taksenta is the use of different colors and timbres to alter pitch and/or rhythm. The solo tuba alters pitch through the use of glissando, flutter tongue, vocal singing, multiphonics, and by “bending” pitches. Other techniques include striking the mouthpiece, hitting the instrument, or even playing a pad. The range required is DDb to d-flafr. Percussion instruments used in this work include snare drum, tom-toms, bass drum, cymbals, gongs, china gong, tam-tam, guiro, marimba, and vibraphone. The composer creates coloristic variation by writing parts for bowed percussion and changing instruments rapidly to accentuate effects in the tuba part. The work is largely through-composed. However, some coloristic effects are treated as motivic devices and return at various points in the piece. Most of Taksenta moves at an Andante tempo, but a few Allegro passages are included.
Taksenta presents the listener with a wide variety of interesting coloristic, 20thcentury effects. But the work’s length, at over ten minutes, is a drawback. This is a very difficult work and should be performed by a professional, graduate student, or otherwise advanced player.
~ Ken Drobnak
Fugue No. 9 from the Well-Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach arranged for brass quintet by Conrad Ross. Lyceum Press, 1995. Ensemble Publications P.O. Box 32, Ithaca, NY 14851-0032. ENS064.$10.00.
Dedicated to the Ithaca College Faculty Brass Quintet, this is marked No. 1 in the Ithaca College Series. If future offerings in this series are similar, then this will be a useful set of brass quintet pieces, especially for educating America’s young listeners. In a straightforward arrangement of the original clavier piece, each instrument (first the trombone, then the horn, second trumpet, first trumpet, and finally the tuba) takes up the fugue subject, making it easy to pick out each entrance as it moves up the frequency scale, and saving the best for last. This is not a taxing work, as none of the parts is a challenge in either rhythm or range, but it shows off how well the ensemble can be achieved with five brass. The tuba part is generally independent of the trombone, which can be a problem in four part writing, with the exception of the last eight bars. Here, the trombone and tuba state the fugue theme, and reinforce the importance of that theme in the piece. It is a great addition for your youth concert or lollipop series, especially since it is only two minutes long. The range of the tuba part is C to f, but since the piece is in E flat major, I would recommend an EE flat at the end.
~ Michael Short, Drake University
Concertino CD recotding featuring Steven Mead, euphonium, accompanied by the Lillestr0m Musikkorps, conducted by Gert Buitenhuis. Order number QPRM131D, Polyphonic Reproductions, Ltd., P.O. Box 19292, London NWIO 9WP, England, 1999. May be ordered from several distributors including tapmusic.com. Price: $18.00. Total time: 65:19.
Steven Mead’s recent CD, Concertino, features a new work for euphonium and wind band by Rolf Wilhelm. This piece resulted from a chance meeting between Mead and Wilhelm while the two were attending the 1997 International Tuba/Euphonium Conference in Riva del Garda, Italy. Since the quantity of serious works written expressly for euphonium with wind band accompaniment is not extensive, Wilhelm’s colorfully scored Concertino represents a highly welcome addition to the repertoire. Mead writes in his liner notes: “It is just such a nice piece to play and although, at the age of 72, it is Rolf’s first piece for euphonium, he seems to have got to the very core of the euphonium’s personality.” The three-movement work is already gaining popularity, as indicated by its inclusion as a required selection for the euphonium competition at the 1999 IWBC at the University of Cincinnati Conservatoty of Music. Mead performs a wonderful service to euphoniumists by recording new compositions such as this one. His commitment to increasing the written and recorded repertoire for the euphonium is unparalleled.
Next on the CD is a composition by Erode Thingnaes entitled Peace, Please. In the style of light popular music, this selection provides greatest amount of contrast from the rest of the collection. Mead’s performance of this piece brings forth the playful nature of the work.
According to Mead, Philip Sparke’s Fantasy “is one of the most popular works in the [euphoniumist’s] repertoire and one [he] had, to this point, not recorded.” Written in 1978, Fantasy has only recently been reorchestrated for wind band; the original scoring was for brass band accompaniment. Adding the option of wind band accompaniment will undoubtedly offer more performance opportunities for this exceptional piece. Mead’s interpretations of Sparke’s euphonium compositions set the standards for others to follow, and this performance is certainly no exception, as Mead’s technical and exptessive prowess is impeccable.
The exciting work. Vintage, by David Gillingham is a virtuoso display of Mead’s incredible range, technique, and musicianship. Mead calls the piece “a modem classic… filled with “romantic musical pictures, . . . fanfares, dramatic percussion features, and difficult rhythmic figures . . . ” Both Mead and the Lillestr0m Musikkorps perform brilliantly. The next two selections are Lento from Joseph Horovitz’s Euphonium Concerto and Russian Dance by Oskar Bohme and arranged by Jonathan Smith. Though most often recorded with brass band or piano accompaniment, the Lento is a well-known favorite of euphoniumists. It is also a favorite of Mead’s, and this setting with wind band adds sumptuous colors to his exquisite performance. Russian Dance represents the one and only transcription on this CD. Typically performed by trumpet soloists, this piece is very engaging and lively. Mead’s style and energy on this work is enviable.
The final composition on this CD is the Derek Bourgeois Concerto. Although the piece was originally written for trombone. Mead recalls: “I remember very clearly the day in 1982 when, while 1 was studying with Derek at Bristol University, he told me he had just finished a concerto for Christian Lindberg which he thought would also sound great on the euphonium – full of broad melodies, with no specific trombone slide effects and a fast last movement which would hopefully deter all ‘average’ trombone players from attempting it! 1 How right he was.” This composition has, indeed, caught on with euphoniumists, no doubt at least partly attributable to Mead’s performances and recordings of it. Deserving of establishment into standard repertoire, the Concerto represents the work of a very gifted composer. Mead’s performance is spectacular. The choice of literature and Mead’s stellar performance makes this CD a necessity for any serious low-brass aficionado’s collection.
~ Dr. Sharon E. Huff, St. Norbert College
The Essential Steven Mead CD recording featuring Steven Mead, euphonium, accompanied by the William Fairey Band conducted by Howard Snell. Order number QPRL095D, Polyphonic Reproductions, Ltd., P. O. Box 19292, London NWIO 9WP, England, 1999. May be ordered from several distributors including tapmusic.com. Price: $18.00. Total time: 73:26.
Another of the series of Polyphonic recordings featuring Steven Mead, The Essential Steven Mead is a superb addition to this growing collection. According to the CD liner notes: “This album brings together many elements of Steven’s career, from [his] early days with the Salvation Army and the traditional theme-and-variation solos that he would hammer out for the benefit of the residents of Ropley Road, Bournemouth (!) to solos he has made famous in more recent years and brand new works that receive here their premiere recordings.”
Indeed, this CD represents a wide variety of musical selections. The first selection is called Variations by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is arranged for euphonium by Peter Graham. Lloyd Webber chose the wellknown theme by Paganini as the basis of this piece and scored it for his cellist brother, Julian, accompanied by a rock band. This adaptation for euphonium works wonderfully and would be an instant crowd pleaser. Mead plays with panache and verve as each variation traverses into a variety of styles including jazz, ballad, and virtuoso technical showcase.
The second cut is entitled Drigo’s Serenade and is arranged by former Black Dyke Mills euphonium player, Denzil Stephens. This new setting of a well-known melody by conductor/arranger Stephens is performed beautifully by Mead.
A “war horse” standard is offered a dramatically different treatment in Wilfred Heaton’s Variations on Annie Laurie. Composed years ago, this brilliant gem has been resurrected by Mead and conductor Howard Snell for its premier performance on this CD. Technical challenges abound in this work, and Mead handles them deftly.
The Schubert Serenade, transcribed by Salvationist Keith Wilkinson, showcases Mead’s heart-felt lyrical capabilities. Another Salvation Army arranger and composer, Erik Leidzen, wrote the next selection, entitled Home on the Range. According to the liner notes, this piece is “one of the best-loved and challenging works in the [euphoniumist’s] repertoire.” Indeed, this selection is as delightful as it is clever. Other works on this CD are Varied Mood by Ray Woodfield, Grandfather’s Clock by George Doughty, O My Beloved Father by Puccini (arranged by the solo homist of the Williams Fairey Band, Sandy Smith), and Carnival of Venice arranged by Remmington (and performed as a tribute to John Clough, Black Dyke euphoniumist who has been an inspiration to Mead). Kol Nidrei by Bruch (arranged by Bram Gay) and Variations on Drink to Me by Howard Snell are two more premier recordings contained on this CD. The CD closes with the late John Golland’s Peace, a lovely, tranquil work given resplendence by Mead’s rich, dark tone. This CD has a most apropos title: it is an “Essential” recording for any euphonium lover and Steven Mead fan. Mead’s performance is awe-inspiring, and the selections included here are extremely appealing to a broad audience.
~ Dr. Sharon E. Huff, St. Norbert College
John Mueller – Euphoruc Sounds, American Music for Euphonium and Piano featuring John Mueller, euphonium assisted by Dr. Joseph Holt, piano; Woody English, comet; Steve Fidyk, dmms and Jim Roberts, bass. Available from TAP Music (www.tapmusic.com), Bemel Music, Ltd (www.bemelmusic.com), Japan Music Center, and Walking Frog Records (www.walkingfrog.com). Also available from the artist: e-mail him at JTMueller@aol.com for further information.
This is a very well done recording. It embraces a selective body of American music for euphonium or arrangements for euphonium. The album title comes from the Scott Joplin arrangement (by Dwayne Milbume) but also from a Joplin album of the same name. It includes the Rondo Concertante by Davis, Solace by Joplin/Milbume, Beautiful Colorado by DeLuca, Fantasia Di Concerto by Boccalari, Sonata for Euphonium by Wilder, Love Song by Tmax and Mike Tomato’s Excursion (which was written for Mr. Mueller). Anytime a tuba or euphonium player records a CD he or she is immediately placed under a great deal of scrutiny. John Mueller does a wonderful job at recording standard and not so standard American literature for euphonium. John has a wonderful tone color and the technical ability that is required to effectively perform all of these works. His musical phrasing is subtle yet elegant. Mr. Mueller has a wonderful sense of programming. This recording would make a well-rounded recital. Congratulations John!
~ Andrew Hoefle, South Suburban College
[editor’s note: John Mueller is principal euphonium of the U.S. Army Band and Low Brass Instructor at Catholic University of America]
Tyrone Breuninger – The Classical Euphonium CD recording featuring Tyrone Breuninger, euphonum. Booking agency: 856-825-2239. No other information available.
Mr. Breuninger has spent thirty-two years with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a performer on trombone and euphonium. He is accompanied by pianist Davyd Booth, also a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The music performed includes The Wee Cooper of Fife, Traditional/arr. Dover; Andante and Rondo from the Concerto for Double Bass, Cappuzzi/Arr. Catelinet; Aubade, Sparke; Euphonium Ccmcerto, Horovitz; Romance, Ewald/transcribed Reed; Rhapsody for Euphonium, Cumow; My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice, Saint-Saens/arr. Larendeau and Fantasy, Sparke.
This is a very fine recording. From the first note to the last it is evident that Mr. Breuninger has spent most of his musical life in orchestral music. His sound is not forced nor is it heavily ornamented with vibrato. In the liner notes: “Tyrone represents a departure in that his musical maturity was formed in the orchestral environment….” He has chosen an interesting collection of music to perform. From the bright and playful Wee Cooper of Fife to the standard Rhapsody for Euphonium, he handles each with the same musical intensity and respect. He is never pressed for technique while the music flows from his horn and is very expressive and clear with his phrasing. An excellent album and musical experience.
~ Andrew Hoefle, South Suburban College
UNIT(A), “Fair Play” CD recording featuring the music of Glenn Horiuchi. 1999 Soul Note Records. Catalog # SN- 121328. Perfomers include Glenn Horiuchi (piano, shamisen, bamboo flute, voice), Francis Wong (tenor saxophone, violin, bamboo flute, voice), Jeanette Wrate (percussion, voice), and William Roper (tuba and voice).
This is a compact disc recording of the music of Glenn Horiuchi. The project was partially funded by the California Arts Council. The music on this recording is of a free-style nature that at times sounds like free improvisation but is clearly framed by a compositional form. While this reviewer was previously unfamiliar with the music of Mr. Horiuchi, I did find it to be very interesting. The music is a sound montage of thoughts that reveal the life experiences of the composer. His use of the diverse instrumental voices on the recording are more an attempt to give a voice to his life experiences rather than an attempt to showcase the abilities of any particular instrument or performer.
The CD contains four extended length free-form compositions entitled 1) Fair Play, 2) Angel Tears, 3) Wet Tap, and 4) Manzanar Voices – Part II. In his liner notes the composer attributes the sense of “space and theatre” to the musical work of the tubist William Roper, whom the composer compliments for his “tremendous sound and artistic breadth.”
The first composition Fair Play was written to honor the courage and conviction of the Japanese Americans who refused to be drafted during WWII and subsequently spent a great deal of time in an American Concentration Camp. The fourth composition Manzanar Voice – Part II is written from a similar source – the actual concentration camp home of 10,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. Wet Tap is a depiction of Horiuchi’s experience as a construction worker with the San Diego Water Utilities Department and the final composition Angel Tears was written as a memorial to the composer’s cousin.
While it is not the usual tuba recording that is often reviewed in the Tuba Journal, I find this type of music to be a welcome addition to our repertoire of recordings. My only criticism, and it is a minor one, is that that often throughout the recording good intonation takes a subordinate role to musical expression. 1 believe both expression and good intonation are possible without sacrificing musical intensity. This recording is yet more proof that the tuba is developing its own voice capable of expressing music in a variety of ensembles with a variety of musical materials.
~ Joseph Skilkn, Louisiana State University
Power CD recording by the Melton Tuba Quartet. Management: Melton Tuba Quartet, Hartmut Muller, Kremenholl 36, D-42857 Remscheid, fax +49-2191-781816. http://www.meinl-weston.com
Founded in 1987, the Melton Tuba Quartet has now released its third compact disc. Be sure to check out the review of their second recording. Lazy Elephant, in the Winter 1999 Journal.
The signature sound of the Melton Tuba Quartet comes from their instrumentation of one euphonium (Ulrich Haas), two F tubas (Heiko Triebener and Marcus Hotzel), and one BB-flat tuba (Hartmut Muller) instead of the typical two euphonium, two tuba setup. Though they often perform literature scored for the standard quartet, this by no means limits the group. In fact, the added power of a tuba on the second part is an asset. From technical finesse to lyrical expression, the Melton Quartet shines on Power. I suggest you add this one to your listening library.
Fifteen Tracks consisting of Power and Moondance by John Stevens, Londonderry Air arranged by Keith Mehlan, Quatre Chansons by Ray Dempsey, Little Lullaby by Ingo Luis, Tuba Blues Medley by Henry Wolking, Bocoxe by Baden Powell arranged by Gary Buttery, 4’Tuba Blues by Richard Roblee, Old Star arranged by Ingo Luis, Greensleeves arranged by Gary Buttery, Bavaruan Stew by Rolf Wilhelm, and Melton Marsch by Franz Watz make up the compact disc. Sheet music for five of these works. Little Lullaby, 4-Tuba Blues, Old Star, Bavarian Stew, and Melton Marsch, is available through the Melton Tuba Quartet Edition publications.
~ Kenyon Wilson, Valdosta State University
Sykology, CD recording featuring Steve Sykes, tuba and Brendan Ashe, piano. PM Sound #PMSPCDM9927, total playing time 57.28. Self-published by Steve Sykes. For further ordering information please see www.sykotuba.dircon.co.uk
I have a confession to make. Being a tuba player and a recording engineer who should know better, I find myself avoiding listening to recordings of tubas. This is for the unforgivable reason that they make my left studio audio monitor buzz like its going to blow up. Instead of fixing the thing, I just don’t listen to a lot of tuba recordings for fun. That said, I was given the opportunity to review the new solo CD of the man the press have called “the most revolutionary tuba player the brass world has ever known,” Steve Sykes. I am here to tell you it that it was worth the ‘buzz,” and I finally got the speaker fixed because of it. The recording is called Sykology, this being due to the Sykes’ penchant for playful variations on his name (see his web page for more of this kind of thing).
Before getting into this too far, I want to mention that at this time there appears to be only one way to obtain this CD, and that is from Sykes through his web page. He is a clinican for Boosey and Hawkes, and I was sure that they would also sell the recording, but at the time of this writing, their web page’s recordings catalog makes no mention of it. I imagine that they will also carry this in the future, but there is always the direct route. I could find no listing for the recording with mainstream retailers.
Steve Sykes is a shining example of the British Brass Band environment, having been a player and an award winning soloist with the acclaimed Grimethorpe Colliery Band (the same band that later was featured in the film Brassed Off). Renowned now as a soloist, clinician, director and brass arranger, he brings his legendary five and a half octave range and singing tone to the diverse selections on this recording.
The program opens with a modem selection, Joseph Turrin’s Escapade, a somewhat strident piece with a military flavor to the piano part and ripping flurries of notes in the solo part. This is a good way to open the album, but is not representative, being quite unique in character. Sykes’ famous tone is showcased in the next track, his own arrangements of Liszt’s Ave Maria. The highlight is the tender, pure and sympathetic legato technique he uses; a beautiful piece. Sykes’ talent as both arranger and performer is evident in the Carnival Cocktail, a sort of “greatest hits” from the Carnival of Venice. This is an astounding number, starting with the usual variations, but moving on to more novel treatments. Here, the soloist does some advanced flutter tonguing articulations at extreme high pitch, giving credible mandolin effect. His immense range is further demonstrated in the final note, a “double super A-flat” (a-flafr) that sounds like it’s coming out of the high end of a French horn. I especially enjoyed Debussy’s Syrinx, subtitled “Piece for Psyche” by the composer [ed. note – also recorded by Jim Self on his Changing Colors CD Summit DCD132].
One gets the impression that the soloist misread this as a “Piece for Sykes;” still, the shoe fits. He does a fine job of emulating the required flute character. Fritz Kreisler’s Liebesfreud is another idiomatic transcription, this time of a famous violin solo. Once again, Sykes is able to remain true to the original character; perhaps this is helped by the fact that this is not a transcription, he was reading straight from the violin part. In a choice ideal for tuba, Sykes does Donizetti’s Una Furtiva Lagrima, a solo that Pavarotti likes to use as a showpiece. This is another Sykes arrangement, and it is very fine. There are three more tracks that show the soloist’s lyrical side, Peter Kneale’s Variations on a Welsh Theme, Benjamin Goddard’s Berceuse De Jocelyn and Gareth Wood’s Lullaby. The former is quite similar to the solo Danny Boy in style, the latter is originally a euphonium solo, and it still retains that sound even with the larger instrument.
Andrew Jackman’s Swing Rag is probably the lightest number on the album, and consists entirely of good humor and odd twists. The finale is Czardas, a Hungarian dance by Vittorio Monti with snippets of Liszt thrown in. Here Sykes does his high wire act without a net, executing extreme leaps from sub-pedal to upper trumpet range. His virtuoso technique is also further demonstrated through circular breathing and other devices; a great closing selection. It seems that there is little to quibble about here; my only complaints are with technical details. From the sound, the microphones for both tuba and piano appear to have been quite close to the instruments. This gives the piano a very present sound which, at times, makes the listener wonder who the soloist is. For the tuba, this apparent placement results in a fair amount of “bell effect,” which to my ears works better for jazz than for these primarily classical selections. However, the sometimes surreal sound that results in only the tiniest flaw in a fine solo recording. Highly recommended.
~ Paul Schmidt, Heavy Metal Music
Barton Cummings………A Retrospective CD recording featuring Barton Cummings, tuba. C&.CCD101. C&C Enterprises, 550 Cambridge Ave., Benicia, CA 94510. Email; firstname.lastname@example.org 1999. TT: 67:28 $16 includes shipping.
Bart Cummings is a prolific brass composer, writer, and arranger. He also has several tuba books published as well as scores of articles in many prominent journals. He taught tuba and euphonium at several colleges and universities including San Diego State University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Delta State University, and Indiana State University and until fairly recently, was very active as a recitalist and clinician. He was one of the early pioneers of the tuba as a solo instrument beginning in the 1960s having premiered and commissioned dozens of compositions for the tuba at a time when few tubists were pursuing solo careers. This compilation disc celebrates many of his live performances of commissioned works and arrangements he championed during the heyday of his playing career.
The sources for this disc are taken from many boxes of reel-reel tapes Mr. Cummings collected of his performances over the years. Unfortunately, virtually all of the documentation has been lost. The performances are taken from a variety of locations with different acoustics, mike locations, and varied technical expertise. What does come through is a marvelous sense of presence and a keen understanding for how to entertain the audience through live performance. The selections are not perfect or unblemished but the feeling of a live performance is there and the performances are exciting! In order of appearance, the disc contains the following selections: Tuba Rhapsody by Claire Grundman for tuba and band. Time Out for Tuba, movement 1 -Cycles for tuba and tape by Linda Ostrander, Rhythmic Contours for Tuba and Percussion, movement 1 -Allegro non troppo by David Uber, Serenade by Franz Schubert arranged for tuba and piano. The Stuan by Camille Saint Saens arranged for tuba and piano. Blues for Bart for tuba and jazz ensemble by Danny Williams, Music for Tuba in three movements (unaccompanied). Fanfare, Cadenza, Rondo by Samuel Holloman, Ballad (for tuba and piano) by James Christensen arranged for tuba and brass choir by Bart Cummings, Midnight Variations for tuba and tape by Walter Ross, Three Pieces for Tuba (unaccompanied), Abstract Vision, Morning Calm, and Etude by Jae Eun Ha, and the Concertino for Tuba and Band by James Cumow. The majority of these works were written for Bart and many such as the Cumow and Gmndman works have become standard repertoire items.
Having studied with Bart for four years as an undergraduate and having listened to many of these compositions when he performed them live, 1 appreciate the enormous amount of time he spent listening to so many live recordings he has to find the right ones to produce. The sound is full and the tonguing and musicianship is first rate. 1 enjoyed listening to this GD several times just to appreciate the live quality that is well crafred and fun to listen to. The Gmndman and Gumow pieces with band stand out as stellar performances and are a must for many of us who program these works often with high school and community bands for ourselves and for our students. The Blues for Bart is something that was ahead of its time in that a tuba solo with a jazz ensemble was not as common in the 1970s as it is now. It is nicely played. His rendition of Midnight Variations for tuba and tape (the very first tuba and tape work) is peerless and sends us back to a time (1971) when electronic music was still largely tape manipulation and many hours of splicing and editing. I am very supportive of these kinds of projects that bring back to life performances of our earlier artists in a way they can be preserved and studied to connect us with music that still has a current history. As well, some of this music that has passed through history as examples of what was being done at a particular time with the tuba may be called into service again after listening to a CD like this one! I hope that other tuba artists who have given so much to us will consider compiling their own retrospective CDs for all to hear.
~ Mark Nelson, Scottsdale AZ