in that recording
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I chime in every once in a while to share with you some recordings of interest that spotlight what I feel, IMHO, to be some really fine tuba playing. This installment is no different. I have just gotten done listening to a recording offered in a BBC Music Magazine from the latter part of the 1990's. On this disk are two of the blatantly "Soviet" works by Shostakovich, the Symphony No. 2 "To the October Revolution", and Prokofiev's "Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution". Both are expertly played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Mark Elder. I have never found Elder's conducting to be anything deep, and that trait serves this rather servile music well. As you can imagine, these works are a paean to the Soviet revolution, replete with machine guns, and an ACCORDIAN. While not the deepest of scores, there are moments of sheer beauty and power that shine through making them highly listenable.
HOWEVER, the tuba playing is a primer on how to play LOUD and SOFT with a beautiful sound that is never "woofy" or "strident". Think of blending the "creaminess" of a York with the core and punch of an Alex, putting that tuba in the guise of an EEb, and putting it into this tuba players accomplished hands and you have one of my top 5 best recorded tuba sounds of all times. There are ALOT of exposed tuba solos, particularly in the first minute of the Shostakovich, and the tuba within the ensemble playing is nothing short of spectacular. Kudos to the man with the horn on his face, he is a fabulous player, technically and musically.
I am not sure of the availibility, but the recording was issued in the BBC Music Magazine, Vol. V, No. 2 from the late '90"s. It was recorded on February 17, 1996 in the Royal Festival Hall, London. EVERY tuba player who wants to play in an orchestra MUST search out this recording and emulate the playing on it.
I drank WHAT?!!-Socrates
This was an amazing concert !
The tubists were Paul Smith ( the then Principal Tuba of the BBC Symphony Orchestra ) and Chris McShane ( the then Principal Tuba of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra ). Sadly, Paul died in 2003 after a long battle with cancer and Chris has just had to retire from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra & quit tuba playing due to Focal Dystonia.
Paul Smith's death was really tragic and I am so sorry to hear about Chris McShane suffering from that brass players nightmare affliction. I really enjoyed and was inspired by Chris' playing back in the 1990's when I used to regularly hear him at Royal Philharmonic concerts.
Thats very sad to hear about both of those gentlemen. Was there a 3rd player for the October Cantata? Its's Scored for 3, but i'm not sure how necessary the 3rd part is, but if you have an ensemble including 5 accordions...i'd want all the extra metal I could find to keep that at bay...that being said, its one of my favorite pieces, and there are some extremely tasty tuba parts!
There were just two tubas in the main orchestra. There was a stage band which made quite a brief appearance, which consisted of ( I think ) two tubas, tenor tubas & baritone horns and cornets - a smaller version of a brass band.
Just to update my earlier post. Paul actually died in 2002. I remember playing at his funeral service in December 2002. Although it was such a sad day,it was a great & inspiring service with a very large turnout from many of London's brass fraternity. Sorry for the wrong information.
Thanks for mentioning these pieces that I like
My cd of the Prokofiev 'Cantata For The 20th
Anniversary Of The October Revolution' is with
Neeme Jarvi conducting the Philharmonia Orch.
and Chorus (on Chandos).
I also have Shostakovich 2 with the London Phil.
led by Haitink (on London).
Just thought I'd mention these CDs as they
might be more available.
Oh yeah, I guess we all be Comrades now .....
I have that recording of the Cantata, and the Kondrashin recording from the '60s. The bass trombone playing on the Philharmonia recording is earsplittingly wonderful! Also on youtube...Gergiev with the London Symphony Orchestra, seeing the video gives an idea of the massive forces required to pull this piece off!
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