Re: Strauss Suite Op. 4

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Posted by Dave on September 08, 1999 at 07:54:59:

In Reply to: Strauss Suite Op. 4 posted by Ron Lapinski on September 07, 1999 at 21:44:35:

I've been forced to play this piece dozens of times at conducting symposia. I say forced because the tuba substitution just doesn't work. The piece is a wonderful glimpse into the early genius of Strauss with his characteristically heroic writing, especially for horn, and in my opinion, the tuba sounds extremely out of place.

I don't really know if Strauss endorsed this substitution or if it is a ruse by a publisher to not scare off conductors of ill-equipped instrumentation. I would reccomend to the conductor that a double bass be used. The contrabasson sound, if that's your model, is usually more "felt" than it is "heard". That's why I believe a double bass is a wise substitution. But, if the conductor wishes to keep it truly a wind work, a nice cushy sound would be best. Rather than choose what would be the obvious choice of a small horn for a small ensemble, I would recommend trying a large horn played conservatively. If that's not an option, I would consider using a mouthpiece like a Bach 18 or even a 24AW. Look for a setup that gives you a lot of "fuzz" to the sound. Think more resonance than projection.

I don't believe there are any professional recordings using tuba, but if you're trying to emulate a contrabassoon, you don't need one. I would reccomend the Orpheus chamber ensemble recording. You can't go wrong with them on ANY chamber piece.

You're right on about the transposition. Good luck on the "double sharp" modulatory section! Nasty!!


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