Tuba Concerto (Vaughan Williams)
The Tuba Concerto in F minor by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams dates from 1954. Vaughan Williams wrote the concerto for Philip Catelinet, principal tubist of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), and Catelinet was the soloist in the premiere on 13 June 1954, with Sir John Barbirolli conducting. Catelinet was also the soloist in the work's first recording made that same year, again with Barbirolli and the LSO.
Composition and history
While at first viewed as the eccentric idea of an aging composer, the concerto soon became one of Vaughan Williams' most popular works, and an essential part of the tuba repertoire for professionals.
The work is in three movements:
- Prelude: Allegro moderato
- Romanza: Andante sostenuto
- Finale - Rondo alla tedesca: Allegro
A performance commonly takes about 13 minutes. Apart from the solo tuba, the piece is scored for two flutes (2nd doubling on piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (in B♭), bassoon, 2 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in B♭), 2 trombones, timpani, triangle, side drum, bass drum, cymbals, and strings.
Vaughan Williams' concerto has since received a number of concert performances and recordings. Live performances include those by Gerard Hoffnung, James Gourlay, Michael Lind, and Peter Whish-Wilson. In addition to Catelinet's pioneering recording, other recordings of the concerto have featured the following artists:
- RCA: John Fletcher; London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn, conductor
- Chandos: Patrick Harrild; London Symphony Orchestra, Bryden Thomson, conductor
- Deutsche Grammophon: Arnold Jacobs; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim, conductor
- Naxos: James Gourlay; Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Gavin Sutherland, conductor
- Capriccio: Richard Nahatzki; Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Hans E. Zimmer, conductor
- Caprice: Michael Lind; Stockholm Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leif Segerstam, conductor
- BIS: Øystein Baadsvik; Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Anne Manson, conductor
- David Unland; Cornell University Wind Ensemble
- Walter Hilgers; Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra
- Beth Mitchell; Pasadena City College and Biola University
- Bevan, Clifford: "Tuba (i)", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 7 August 2006).
- An account of the composition and first performance of the concerto, by Clifford Bevan.
- Hussey, Dyneley, "The Musician's Gramophone" (October 1956). The Musical Times, 97 (1364): pp. 524-526.
- Madell, Geoffrey, "London Music: Morley College Symphony Orchestra" (August 1958). The Musical Times, 99 (1386): p. 1440.
- Obituary for Gerard Hoffnung (November 1959). The Musical Times, 100 (1401): p. 619.
- Foreman, Lewis, "First Performances: The Broadheath Singers and the Farrar Centenary" (December 1985). Tempo (New Ser.), 155: pp. 38-39.
- Ottaway, Hugh, Review of Vaughan Williams recording ("The Wasps and other short pieces") (1973). The Musical Times, 114 (1565): p. 711.
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