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Thread: Tenor Tuba in Holst "Planets"

  1. #1

    Tenor Tuba in Holst "Planets"

    Just a post to say I am having a fun experience rehearsing the Host "Planets" with the Duke University Medicine Orchestra, for a concert on May 3rd. This is a strong amateur group and is going to do a fine job with the piece.

    It's my first time playing in a string orchestra, and the scoring for euphonium ("B flat Tenor Tuba") has a much different feel that that for wind orchestra -- often very exposed, more soloistic, frequently playing on top of the low brass, and at times over the entire orchestra. Several movements are tacet and there are a lot measures to count, but it is an orchestra...

    Worth jumping at the chance if it ever comes your way.

    John
    Last edited by JTJ; 01-31-2014 at 02:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have put it in my calendar and will do my best to attend.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
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  3. #3
    awesome that you get a chance to do that! good luck!

  4. John, so glad you are doing Planets. These days, most orchestral tubists and/or trombone players want that plum for themselves.
    Last edited by RickF; 01-31-2014 at 04:42 PM.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
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  5. #5
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    What a great experience John. I'm sure you'll do great. Wish I could hear it.
    Rick Floyd
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  6. #6
    Enjoy the experience. Glad its going well for you!

  7. #7
    Good for you, John! The Planets is on my bucket list (never played it except transcriptions in the CG Band) But I hope I'm in better chop shape than I am right now if I get called!!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
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  8. #8
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    Good for you, Mr. JTJ!! Do you prefer Jupiter or Mars?

  9. #9
    Thanks for the nice comments. I got lucky with this gig. A friend of mine who plays horn in the orchestra alerted me that they were programming the Holst. So I emailed the director, who knows me because I have subbed a bit with the Duke Wind Symphony, which she also directs. She got back to me after a few weeks and said they would be glad to have me play the concert. I believe, but don't know for sure, that a trombone player would have played the euph part otherwise.

    There are euph parts on Mars, Jupiter and Uranus. I guess I would go with Mars as my favorite, although all three are fun. Mars requires some no-holding-back-playing, primarily those concert G octave jumps near the beginning, where you have to play over the entire orchestra, and secondarily some driving, back and forth solo lines with trumpets which come along several times throughout the piece. Mars also requires a strong high concert B as part of a tutti melody section. In wind arrangements Jupiter is lovely for euphs because you get the hymn like melody; in the orchestra that stays in the strings and you get to count measures while enjoying their playing. There is a bit of solo play in Jupiter but not the main melody. I've never played Uranus before, so it is new to me in any form. It has some spirited play for the euph and a couple of neat little solos, but Uranus demands a good high range -- you have got to play and sustain the high concert B in several measures at the end, and the high concert C in one measure with a ffff marking.

    I don't want to make too much of this. Technically, much brass band and some wind band writing is far harder for euph. But you do have to be sure of yourself, play out and have a good high range. Its fun to play in the orchestra and I am reminded of what Steve Mead has said about just how much the euphonium would have added to the orchestra had it made it into the standard configuration: it adds depth to the low brass, bridges to the horns and blends beautifully with strings. It's sad our instrument only made it into a handful of works....

  10. Quote Originally Posted by JTJ View Post
    There are euph parts on Mars, Jupiter and Uranus. I guess I would go with Mars as my favorite, although all three are fun. Mars requires some no-holding-back-playing
    Sounds like a blast! In contrast, our community band is currently playing a watered down arrangement of Mars by William Owens with a rather dull euphonium part I'll have to give the orchestral arrangement a listen on youtube. This is a wonderful opportunity to shine. Enjoy!
    Bob Tampa FL USA
    Euph -- 1984 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign 967 / 1978 Besson NS 767 / Early 90s Sterling MP: 4AL and GW Carbonaria
    Tuba -- 2014 Wisemann 900 CC / 2013 Mack 410 MP: Blokepiece Symphony American Shank and 33.2 #2 Rim

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