From the composer:
In 1973 I had the good fortune to play the world premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Five Moods for Tuba Quartet. I later did an analysis of it as the final paper for my DMA at the University of Southern California. The Los Angeles Tuba Quartet (Roger Bobo, Tommy Johnson, Don Waldrop and I ) did the West Coast premiere in 1976. The LATQ later held a composition contest for new works for four tubas and the winner, Sieben Miniaturen fur Vier Tuben by German composer Gunter Kochan was premiered at the 1978 International Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Los Angeles. I later recorded the Kochan on my Summit CD, Changing Colors (playing all four parts). In 1993 my interest turned to writing a work for tuba quartet and the Schuller and Kochan were very much in my mind. Like them I wanted a group of short movements and, for variety, added a vibraphone. The result was “Poker Chips.” Each of the five movements is named after a poker term and has some rhythmic connection to it (i.e., Seven Card Stud is in 7/8 and 7/4 meters). The preferred instruments are F tubas on the first three parts, CC tuba on fourth and vibraphone with motor. Some improvisation in Trips to Win is required in the first tuba and the vibes–but it is simple modal harmony (G minor scales work well). “Poker Chips” was recorded on my Big Stretch CD by members of Los Tubas: Jim Self, Norm Pearson, Fred Greene and Gene Pokomy.
- Jim Self
Score and parts included: Tuba 1-4, Vibraphone