The Concerto for Tuba: Three Furies is a version for wind ensemble of the 1995 Three Furies for Tuba and Orchestra, itself an orchestral incarnation of the 1993 Three Furies for Solo Tuba. That original unaccompanied work was composed at the request of tubist Mark Nelson, and it spawned an ongoing series of commissioned works for low brass composed over the last two decades. All three versions of the Furies (unaccompanied, with wind ensemble or orchestra, and with piano) celebrate the surprising — indeed, remarkable — flexibility possessed by the tuba, and offer a music that is immediate, good-natured and fun, requiring of the soloist both keen musicianship and physical stamina.
This version for wind ensemble of the Furies concerto, penned in November and December of 2011, was commissioned by and is gratefully dedicated to tubist James Shearer, conductor Monty Hill, and the musicians of the New Mexico State University Symphonic Winds, all of whom joined forces to premiere the work at the February 2012 Southwest Honor Band clinic in Las Cruces, NM.
Each of the Three Furies is virtuosic in its own right, offering a multiplicity of distinct rhythms, melodic figures and articulations:
Fury I is marked “decidedly jocular” and is a pleasant ramble through the registers of the tuba, featuring angular arpeggios and tonguing demands that one does not usually associate with the instrument.
Fury II, in form somewhat reminiscent of a minuet with trio, contrasts series of long, arching arpeggiated figures with a congenial central waltz marked “gently inebriated.”
Fury III is relentless and powerful, exploiting the full dynamic and articulative range of the tuba. Again, the performer is met with virtuoso demands not normally encountered in the tuba literature.