Year of compostion
Written during the Coronavirus months of February and March 2020, this was a relatively fast piece to compose due to the unusual amount of time I had to be confined at home. After writing Concerti for almost all the instruments of the orchestra, I thought the tuba also deserved special attention. It is an instrument with great depth, a good range, expressive possibilities, and nowadays also good technical agility. I wrote the piece without any specific commission, really for the pleasure of composing something special for this rather forgotten but fascinating instrument. As I have done with several recent Concerti, I conceived the piece to be also suitable as a Sonata (Sonata – Concerto). Thus, the piano part is idiomatic for the pianist but at the same time I thought about the numerous timbrical colors of the orchestration.
The Concerto is planned with the traditional three movement structure with an extensive solo cadenza towards the end of the first movement. The orchestra continuously interacts with the soloist, producing a very rich timbrical dialogue throughout the piece. The Allegro is written following a non-tonal modified Sonata form. The first theme has a powerful statement full of vitality with a strong rhythmic character. The second idea is very melodic and is presented first by the soloist and repeated by the orchestra. Several short new materials are introduced in the development section interacting with motives extracted from the two main themes. A shortened and modified recapitulation follows leading to an extensive Cadenza by the soloist. A Coda brings the movement to a brilliant ending.
The Andante lamentoso is a deeply felt movement in A-B-A form. The first idea is a mourning lyrical theme presented in the low register of the tuba. The middle section presents a new flowing theme that gradually grows bigger to reach a culminating peak of tension. After a distension the main idea returns below a different accompaniment and the movement fades out with two contrasting ranges: The tuba in the extreme low against the flute and piccolo and violin harmonics in the high register.
Almost without a break, the Presto leggero starts initially developing the flowing idea from the Andante. This is a fast virtuosistic movement with several measure changes mainly dominated by the 7/8. The second theme is much more expressive and singable in 2/2 cut time. There is an extensive orchestra interlude before the two main ideas return during which the soloist is quiet. The soloist then faces a challenging ending section full of difficult technical display. The Concerto ends with great excitement.
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