The tuba was first performed on 12 September 1835. It was a novelty, but was soon an enduring classic. The piece, which lasts about thirteen minutes, is composed for solo tuba, two flutes, oboe, bassoon, two clarinets in B, timpani, and timpani choir. It was the first tuba concerto to feature a soloist.
The music for tuba and orchestra is reminiscent of the score for Close Encounters, with its lyricism and agility. The composer has mastered the instrument and its virtuosity, and the tuba part is especially dazzling. The third movement features a melancholy timbre, as well as the orchestral writing. The first movement is a whirlwind of melodic detail, and the second is a beautifully composed waltz.
This tuba concerto is a masterwork that will delight a wide audience. Inspired by the music of the film Close Encounters, this piece is a delight for any fan of this genre. The solo tuba part is full of clever writing, and Marc Easener’s virtuosity is on full display in this work. But the overall effect of the piece is disappointing, and it is hard to imagine a performance of this work anywhere other than in a film.
As a centennial commission by the Boston Pops, John Williams’ Tuba Concerto is a dazzling achievement. It contains three interconnected movements and no pause between movements. The opening movement introduces the soloist against a rocking pulse. Other instruments take up the tune, setting the scene for an elaborate solo passage in which the tuba plays with the orchestra. A brief return of the rocking figure concludes the movement.
A concerto for tuba and orchestra is a concerto with several movements. The first movement sets the tone and introduces the soloist against a rhythmic pulse. The other instruments then take up the tune, resulting in a more complex solo passage. Finally, the opening rocking pulse is repeated once more for a brief statement, before the opening introductory theme is reintroduced.
Although considered eccentric at the time, John Williams’ tuba concerto is now a vital part of the tuba’s repertoire. It is one of the composer’s most popular works and lasts for approximately thirteen minutes. It features solo tuba, bassoon, oboe, two clarinets, horns in F, timpani, and three percussionists.
While this concerto is not overtly “brass heavy,” the music of John Williams’ films is often described as “brass heavy.” The Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal tuba, Carol Jantsch, will perform the John William’s Tuba Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra on April 18, 2018 in Verizon Hall. The cost is $40. The performance is free, but the conductors have been asked to donate their services to the musicians’ pension fund.