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Instrumentation: Solo and Tuba Quartet Instruments: Drum Set, Euphonium, Piano
Solo Euphonium with Tuba Quartet (EETT) and Drums
Dracula for solo euphonium, tuba-euphonium quartet and drums was
commissioned by Benedict Kirby and the University of Montana for the 2014 Northern
Rockies Tuba Euphonium Festival. Demondrae Thurman was the guest artist of the
festival. So Dr. Kirby asked me to write a five-minute piece for the end of Demondrae’s
recital. I started with the idea that this would be a sort of finale or encore type of piece. I
wanted it to be a high energy closer. Early on, I envisioned something like The Edgar
Winter Group’s 1972 rock classic, Frankenstein. I did not do any sort of technical
analysis of Frankenstein, though, nor did I quote Frankenstein in any way. Rather, I tried
to capture the general character of Frankenstein. So this piece is like Frankenstein, but it
is not Frankenstein. That’s why it is DRACULA!
Dracula is in my usual Third-Stream style. Jazz, rock, hip-hop and many kindsLearn More
of classical styles come together in Dracula, but this particular composition draws most
heavily on the style of rock music. It contains some improvisation, but the improvisation
is largely limited to the drum part. The original composition did not include any
improvisation in the solo euphonium part, but Demondrae suggested that I add one. So I
added an optional improvised solo section for this edition. I utilized a few new techniques
in this piece, but the most notable new technique is an indication that calls for the
euphonium soloist to hype the audience. I envision the euphonium soloist playing the
role of the lead singer or front man for a heavy metal band of brass and drums. As the
front man, the solo euphonium soloist’s role involves more than just playing music. It
also involves making sure that everyone has a good time. Demondrae lit up the stage up
with his awesome dance moves at the premiere! I encourage other performers to wear
vampire costumes or rock star outfits and have fun with the theatrical aspect of this piece.
Instrumentation: Solo and Chamber group Instruments: Bass, Percussion, Piano, Tuba
reduction with Rhythm section (recording is with wind ensemble)
The Concerto for tuba and winds is in my usual Third-Stream style, but I utilized
many new techniques for the first time in this piece. Jazz, rock, hip-hop and many kinds
of classical styles come together in the Concerto. Polymeter, improvisation and intuitive
swing notation play important roles in this piece as well as traditional four-part
counterpoint and ancient Greek form. It is simply titled Concerto in a classical fashion
but each movement has a more descriptive title.
I. Swing Low
III. Cutting Contest
I utilized a customized variation on the classical concerto form: a sonata-allegro
first movement, a slow second movement and a theme and variations finale.
Philosophically, this piece explores the traditional nature of a concerto from several
different angles. The first movement explores the cooperative side of a concerto. One
Latin root of the word concerto is conserere, which means to join. The soloist and wind
ensemble cooperate to produce many layers of polymeter in Swing Low. The Latin root
certamen, on the other hand, means to fight. So while the first movement is a
cooperative effort, the third movement, Cutting Contest, explores the idea of a musical
battle between the solo tuba and the wind ensemble on a familiar tune.
On March 6th, 2012, the Concerto was premiered in Seattle. Erin Bodnar led the
University of Washington Wind Ensemble with myself soloing. The Central Washington
University Wind Ensemble then recorded it with Dean Snavely conducting.
This reduction of Concerto features two different versions of the third movement
to allow for players to navigate the virtuosic fingering acrobatics on an E-Flat or F tuba.
The solo lines at letter E were inspired by Arban’s Carnival of Venice.
Curtis PeacockLearn More
January 26, 2014