While contemplating the prospect of writing for tuba-euphonium quartet, I knew that I wanted to focus on two concepts. First, I wanted to explore the vast, but frequently overlooked, technical and musical capabilities of these instruments. Secondly, I wanted to address the working-class roles that these instruments often occupy and how this character trait could be brought to life in such an ensemble.
The “work song” has been a vital part of African culture for centuries. In many societies, these songs encouraged efficiency and quality of work, however, in the harsh conditions of American plantations these songs took on a different kind of importance. The steady unison rhythms kept any one person from being singled out and severely punished for working slower than the rest. This practice continued on into the middle of the 20th century in the slave labor conditions of southern U.S. prisons. While many of these songs were used all throughout the workday, the traditional work song “Take This Hammer” was most often reserved for driving iron spikes during railroad construction.
Solo parts included: Euphonium 1 BC, Euphonium 1 TC, Euphonium 2 BC, Euphonium 2 TC, Tuba 1, Tuba 2