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RAF Tuba Quartet & Friends

Cpl Lewis Musson, SAC Mike Howley, Robert Mosely, Matthew White, Becky Smith;
Chf Tech Jon Truscott, Cpl Jonathan Gawn, David Kendall, Andrew Kershaw, Les Neish;
SAC Louisa Gaw; SAC Joseph Whelan
Regent Hall
Friday 3rd November

The RAF Tuba Quartet was joined by some high profile guests for this excellent recital of music for low brass.

Starting with 'Robin Hood Fanfare' by Michael Kamen, the five tubas establishing a driving rhythm with the whole group producing an impressive sound. Bach's 'Little Fugue in G Minor', played by a quartet of euphoniums and tubas, received a refined performance with remarkably clear textures despite the low-lying pitch, and with the individual lines clearly delineated.

Riffs & Reflections

The tuba version of Tom Davoren's 'Riffs & Reflections' was prepared especially for the RAF Tuba Quartet. The three movements are based on guitar styles, offering a range of stylistic opportunities, from the opening arpeggios and riffs of 'Clean' through the laid-back 'Smooch' to the energetic 'Discipline', based on progressive rock.

The three movements are based on guitar styles, offering a range of stylistic opportunities, from the opening arpeggios and riffs of 'Clean' through the laid-back 'Smooch' to the energetic 'Discipline', based on progressive rock.

'Olympic Fanfare' may have seemed an unusual choice for a group without cornets, trumpets or horns, but it worked remarkably well, aided by some particularly high writing for the euphoniums, and antiphonal writing for euphoniums and tubas. The primitive aggression of 'Night on Bare Mountain' was perhaps a more natural choice, albeit tempered by Rimsky-Korsakov's refining with the opening figure on the tubas exuding real menace.

Brillante

Lewis Musson and Matthew White, both former winners of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Musician Award, presented a thrilling account of 'Brillante', sparking off one another to good effect, whilst perhaps the most interesting item on the programme was an arrangement of Mahler's 'Adagietto from Symphony No 5', for which the group were joined by pianist Louisa Gawn. 

The richness of the orchestral brass was replicated effectively, with each player featuring as the melody moved around the ensemble, with the piano filling in additional elements of the orchestral original.

The recital ended in lighter vein as two recent RAF recruits joined them to play 'Happy', followed by a reprise of the 'Olympic Fanfare' incorporating two college students.

Peter Bale



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Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator