Re: Orchestral Excerpt Books

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Posted by Jay Bertolet on August 02, 1999 at 12:38:42:

In Reply to: Orchestral Excerpt Books posted by Joseph Felton on August 02, 1999 at 11:30:30:

The best advice I can think of is to start with the series of books put out by Abe Torchinsky entitled, "The Tuba Player's Orchestral Repertoire". What I found in college was that excerpt books had two major problems that I couldn't overlook. They are notoriously full of mistakes and they often leave out the really hard parts of a given piece. Also, it is next to impossible to listen to a piece of music and get an idea about how your part fits in when you're looking at excerpts of a piece. I decided to start my own library in college and one of the first things I decided to do was concentrate on getting complete parts. This has a couple of big advantages over excerpt collections. First off, you can listen to a recording and get an exact idea of how your part fits with the whole and just how hard the piece is. Excerpt books will never give you a clue about the endurance aspect of a given piece. Secondly, if you were ever so inclined as to take an audition, chances are you would have been practicing off of exactly the same music as they would hand you at the audition, thus giving you alot less to think about while you play. This doesn't work all the time as some pieces have multiple printings but it can work and I can tell you from experience that it makes a big difference.

The Torchinsky books are composed entirely of complete parts and have excellent directions from Abe as to what to look out for in each piece. If you manage to get all of his books, I would then start ordering tuba parts directly from publishers. For example, Kalmus offers several folders of complete tuba parts from a variety of composers. While it is good to know what the original score has listed for the tuba part, you don't necessarily want the version that is the most accurate to the original score. What you want is the version that is most often used. That way, you can make notations in the part about possible variations based on whatever version is required for a given situation.

The only excerpt books I ever found worthwhile were the Keith Brown "Orchestral Excerpts for Trombone" series because they include the trombone parts as well in a kind of mini score (being primarily trombone excerpt books means these have alot of wasted print that doesn't include the tuba player) and the Sear/Waldeck "Excerpts and Etudes for Tuba" because, after you go through and fix all the mistakes, it contains some really obscure pieces that are not commonly available. In fact, the only way you'll get a copy of the Sear/Waldeck is used because I believe it is out of print due to copyright violation. Also, you should try to get a copy of the book "20th Century Orchestra Studies for Tuba" by Abe Torchinsky. While this book is only excerpts, these pieces are all generally still under copyright and, thus, otherwise unobtainable.

Good luck!

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