Grand Concerto 4 Tubas
Works by John Stevens
A compellingly different magical sound - World Premiere Recording
Usually one will for the most part only find a single tuba in a symphonic orchestra. Notwithstanding, more than 20 years ago four tubists from renowned German orchestras formed the Melton Tuba Quartett and since then have been performing internationally as soloists with this ensemble.
With the magnum opus of this recording, the „Grand Concerto 4 Tubas“, they now present together with the Duisburg Philharmonics under Carl St. Clair the historically first work of its genre, a concert for tuba quartet and symphony orchestra. The American composer John Stevens wrote the piece as a joint commission by the Duisburg Philharmonics, the Bamberg Symphonics and the Dresden Philharmonic. John Stevens in the piece avoids using vanguard tendencies and builds on the American tonal language, coined by composers like Aaron Copland, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.
The sound of the tubas as an ensemble is in the foreground, even though all of them are also called upon solistically. The first movement, „Intrada“, as the most weighty part of the composition, has a forceful-heroic character. The ensuing „Scherzo“ more is about facility and agility. While quite often there is a certain heaviness attributed to the tuba, it is precisely here where the soloists prove the contrary and show just how many possibilities their instrument possesses in terms of agility. The warm timbre of the „Ballade“ emphasises the lyrical-melodic qualities of the tuba by means of singability and harmony. The finale, „Tango-Tarantella“, has a dance-like character. Here the tuba at first can be experienced unaccompanied; fascinating sonic possibilities are displayed and even even the limit of the tonal range is touched.
The album is topped by additional works by the hand of John Stevens, representing many different facets of his oeuvre: The striking orchestral piece „Jubilare!“, followed by the „Adagio“ for just strings in the tradition of a great many of renowned Adagio works, as well as a number of pieces for tuba quartet and eight-part tuba-euphonium-ensemble, each with its completely unique character.
Jubilare! for Orchestra (2000)
Adagio for Strings (2009)
Grand Concerto 4 Tubas
for Tuba Quartet and Orchestra (2010)
IV. Tango – Tarantella
Adagio for Eight Part Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble (1991)
Power for Tuba Ensemble (1974)
Benediction for Tuba Ensemble (2003)
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