New arrangements of famous melodies, for the deep and sonorous sounds of the tuba, from the composers Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, Joplin, Mouret, Mozart, Purcell, Sousa, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, and Wagner. Together they provide theme music for “Masterpiece Theatre,” “The Sting,” “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon,” and just about every TV wedding.
I teach tuba and euphonium. I arranged these pieces as both teaching aids and performance pieces. I recorded the duets (19 in one afternoon!) with a band director, who has since gone on to better things. If you hear a couple wrong notes I’m not going to argue with you; this CD is intended as a companion for the sheet music, which is is now on sale at my main page (www.TubaPeter.com) and my MySpace page (www.MySpace.com/TubaPeter).
1) Henry Purcell – Harpsichord Suite No.5, z.666: Gavotte
While the Prelude, Corant, Almand, and Saraband from this popular suite are recorded regularly, the Gavotte is not. Tuba players may know it, if from nowhere else, as a tuba solo with piano accompaniment, popular among junior high players.
2) Johann Sebastian Bach / Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel – Notebook for Anna Madgalena Bach, No.2, BWV508: Bist du bei mir
Debate exists whether Bach wrote this piece or just arranged it for his famous keyboard collection. I was inspired to arrange it by Daniel Augustine’s indispensable collection of Bach tuba duets.
3) Richard Wagner – Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III: Bridal March
I like to think of this arrangement as “The Wedding of Two Walruses.” I look forward to someday seeing You Tube videos of it being performed at an actual human wedding.
4) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Sonata No.11 in A Major, K.331: III. Alla Turca
When it comes to tempo, our performance of this piece is VERY interpretative. But if you’re already listening to Mozart arranged for tuba, you can hardly call yourself a purist.
5) Jean Joseph Mouret – Suite de Symphonies, No.1: I. Rondeau
The theme to PBS’s “Masterpiece Theatre.” The highest pitch in the collection is an Eb above the bass clef. It pops up here a couple times, but sits well on euphonium.
6) Antonio Vivaldi – Violin Concerto No.8 in G minor, Opus 8, rv 332, from The Contest Between Harmony and Invention: II. Largo
The antidote for accusations that tubas can only play splatty marches.
7) George Frederick Handel – Suite in D minor, Vol.2, No. 4, HWV 437: III. Sarabande and Variations
The theme to Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant film adaptation “Barry Lyndon,” arranged in Bb minor.
8) Antonio Vivaldi – Sonata No.5 in E minor for Violincello and Basso Continuo, rv.40: III.Pastorale
Another piece from “Barry Lyndon,” although not as well known. I’ve arranged it so the melody passes back-and-forth from one part to the other.
9) George Frederick Handel – Samson, HWV 57: Honour & Arms
Everyone who plays tuba knows this piece from its popular arrangement by tuba godfather Bill Bell.
10) Anonymous English, ca.1770 – Drink to Me with Only Thine Eyes
11) Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Sonatina No.38 in F major, Anh. 5, No.2: I. Allegro Assai
12) Scott Joplin – Magnetic Rag
One of my favorite pieces in the collection, but for some reason I keep piling on flats. I think I was determined to keep it from getting too high for a determined high school tuba player to hit. Near the end it goes into Ab minor. That’s everything flat, so watch out.
13) Ludwig van Beethoven – Bagatelle in A minor, WoO 59: Poco moto (Für Elise)
One of the highpoints of the collection – the sublime and the ridiculous.
14) Scott Joplin – The Easy Winners
One of many, many Joplin pieces featured in “The Sting.”
15) George Frederick Handel – Oboe Concerto No.3 in G minor, HWV 287: III. Sarabande
16) Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Album for the Young, Op.39: No. 16, Old French Song
17) John Philip Sousa – The Liberty Bell
The theme to “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
18) Frederic Chopin – Prelude No.7 in A major, Op.28: Andantino
19) Peter Opaskar – Minuet in Eb
The only original piece in the collection.
—Peter Opaskar, May 2008