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Saint-Saens Symphony #1?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:29 pm
by bydloman
This next season the Utah Symphony is performing Saint-Saens Symphony #1. The piece calls for one Bass Saxhorn in Bb and one Contrabass Saxhorn in Eb. Both parts are in treble clef. Has anyone performed this symphony? If so, what instruments did you use?
Thanks in advance!

Gary Ofenloch
Principal tuba, Utah Symphony

Re: Saint-Saens Symphony #1?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:03 am
by bisontuba
Hi Gary-
I would think this is like Berlioz meets Strauss. A Bass Saxhorn in Bb would be a Baritone/Euph/Tenor Tuba, and a Contrabass saxhorn in Eb would be an Eb/F the 19th C, many considered the Eb Tuba to be a contrabass tuba...unlike Bruckner, where you have Contrabass and Bass Tuba being BBb (CC) and F, we call the Contrabass CC / BBb, but back then, esp., in Treble Clef (ala British Band Parts), it would have been an Eb Tuba, IMHO.
So long story short, I would think(?) Tenor Tuba and Bass Tuba...Bb Euph and F Tuba...for a 21C performance in the U.S.


PS.. Looks like a huge piece too... ... flat-op-2/

Re: Saint-Saens Symphony #1?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:33 pm
by the elephant
We used a euphonium and a 186 because that seemed to fit best. I started on an Eb but changed for the second rehearsal. Conductor preferred it.

Re: Saint-Saens Symphony #1?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:06 am
by dante jones
I wish I had a good answer myself, but I like the ones above. The question for me is why anyone thought programming a bunch of Saint-Saens symphonies as the signature series of the season was a great idea.

Re: Saint-Saens Symphony #1?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:40 pm
by bydloman
This past week the Utah Symphony performed and recorded Saint-Saens Symphony #1. Over the past several months I had been on a mission to try and figure out the best combination to cover the two saxhorn parts. After contacting several of the other full-time U.S. orchestra tuba players for advice, it turned out that none of them had ever performed it! In fact, from the information I gathered the last time it was played by a major orchestra was with the Boston Symphony in 1918.
We tried a variety of combinations to try and get the appropriate sound for the piece.The final verdict? I played the Eb bass saxhorn part on a Yamaha euphonium with my tuba-rim mouthpiece that I got from Mr. Jacobs back in the early 70's. The contrabass Bb saxhorn part was performed on a Mirafone 184 with a Parke 3 mouthpiece.
So there you have it. The moral of this story? Bigger is not always better!