Posted by Jeff Chronister on April 21, 1999 at 01:59:54:
In Reply to: Tuba Ensembles?! posted by Chris on April 18, 1999 at 23:21:08:
Certainly, we have had a varied, and rightly so , resoponse to the question of "Is the tuba ensemble a valid musical conduit?" I agree that a same instrument ensemble can be somewhat tedious, (I personally cannot imagine a cello ensemble as exciting, or a trumpet ensemble as having great breadth of expression) but a trumpet ensemble can certainly play one kick-ass fanfare, and a cello or tuba ensemble can certainly play some beautiful Bruckner. Unless the tuba ensemble is made up of a bunch of Pat Sheridan type players the group just is'nt going to have the chops to pull off a lot of stuff technically. A typical tuba ensemble may have 5 or 6 usable octaves, but the arranger really must know what they are doing to make the insstruments sound good (lower harmonies and lines get lost if the note spacing isn't wide enough, is just one example). A tuba ensemble under certain conditions can be musically rewarding, just like a symphony orchestra can be rewarding under certain conditions. An ensemble should know what they are trying to achieve with an audience, expecting more than what is reasonable ( as far as audience response and support) may lead to dissapointment of audience and performers. The world is full of instrumentalists and ensembles, getting to know what you as a listener enjoy is one of the pleasures of life. Learning to participate in an ensemble that people enjoy is a pleasure in life also. The tuba is not a guitar, and a drum-set is not a violin, each has its own audience and its own idiosynchrosies. What I suggest is, pick your own instrument, your own ensemble and "go for it". Your own musical career may or may not be financially rewarding, but if you can make it socially and personally rewarding I feel that you've come a long way towards making real music, music that counts.
If the tuba ensemble plays a piece so well that it is remembered as something signifigant, or if the players impart an enthusiasm or energy to the audience then I belive that, yes the tuba ensemble is a valid performing ensemble. If the ensemble falls short of that, then maybe a rethinking should be done as to what is trying to be accomplished and by whom, usually a performance has at least two participants, a performer and a listener.
I realize the above is sort of dry sounding, but not too far from how I feel,,, perhaps next time I'll try to be funny.