Programme Note

The Tuba Concerto was originally written in 1976 for brass band. The orchestral version was made in 1978 but did not receive its first performance until 1983 when it was premiered by its dedicatee, John Fletcher, at the Scottish Proms in Edinburgh with the Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Sir Alexander Gibson.

The concerto is in three movements, following the usual quick-slow-quick pattern: Allegro deciso, Lento e mesto, Allegro giocoso. The first is in a sonata form shell with two contrasting themes, the first rhythmic in character, the second lyrical. There is a reference made in the development section to the opening theme of Vaughan Williams’s tuba concerto, but only in passing.

The second movement unfolds a long cantabile melody for the soloist, which contrasts to a ritornello idea which is announced three times by strings alone. The central climax of the movement triumphantly heralds the main theme from the full orchestra.

The last movement is in rondo form, alternating the main theme with two episodes. The first of these is a broad sweeping tune, the second is jazz-like in style with prominent solos for the clarinet and vibraphone in conjunction with the tuba. After a short cadenza, reference is made to the opening of the concerto, and the work ends with a triumphal flourish.


Listen

 

Reviews

… for Gregson is an accomplished orchestrator, knowing just what a glockenspiel doubling the tuba line or a vibraphone colouring the texture can do for the music.

The most imaginative part of the concerto is its slow movement, whose post-impressionistic atmosphere – mingling Debussy, Bartok and jazz – appeared perfect for a hot summer night.

Meirion Bowen, The Guardian, July 1986

There is a certain eldritch quality to this music. However those cobwebs are completely exorcised by the British film music optimism of the finale. For all that Gregson adds a light overlay of angst this is delightful music.

Lewis Foreman, MusicWeb International

The programme opens with the very agreeable piece by Edward Gregson composed in 1978 for brass band and heard here with orchestra.  I have heard the jaunty I quite often but am less familiar with the brooding II and propulsive III with its surprising blues section.  This excellent reading makes me realize again what a fine piece this is.

American Record Guide, May 2006


Concerts

7th Mar 2015 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

20th May 2015 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

11th Jun 2015 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

28th Jun 2015 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

12th Jul 2015 Tuba Concerto

30th Aug 2015 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

5th Dec 2015 Tuba Concerto

14th Jan 2016 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

13th Feb 2016 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

20th May 2016 Tuba Concerto

4th Jun 2016 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

26th Jun 2016 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

2nd Jul 2016 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

25th Mar 2017 Tuba Concerto

22nd Apr 2017 Tuba concert (2nd movement)

6th Oct 2017 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

26th Oct 2017 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

3rd Dec 2017 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

28th Jan 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

3rd Feb 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

1st Mar 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

2nd Mar 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

3rd Mar 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

23rd Mar 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version) (1st movement)

25th Mar 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

28th Jun 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

28th Jul 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

1st Oct 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

13th Oct 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

3rd Nov 2018 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

26th Jan 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

17th Mar 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

27th Apr 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version) 1st movement

28th Apr 2019 Tuba Concert (orchestral version) 1st movement

11th May 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

12th May 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

12th Oct 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

12th Oct 2019 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

17th May 2020 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

22nd Feb 2022 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

24th Feb 2022 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

18th Aug 2022 Tuba Concerto

30th Mar 2023 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

7th May 2023 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

11th May 2023 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

11th Nov 2023 Tuba Concerto

23rd Jan 2024 Tuba Concerto

1st Mar 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

10th Mar 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

31st Mar 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

15th Apr 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

26th Apr 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

5th May 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

5th May 2024 Tuba Concerto (orchestral version)

31st May 2024 Tuba Concerto

1st Jun 2024 Tuba Concerto

4th Jun 2024 Tuba Concerto

5th Jun 2024 Tuba Concerto

7th Jun 2024 Tuba Concerto

Written: 1976

Instrumentation:
Solo tba+2222/4230/timp 2perc/str

Genre: Orchestral

Publisher: Novello

Duration: 18'

First Performance: July 1983
Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, UK
John Fletcher (tuba), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Sir Alexander Gibson (conductor)