Slooterdam Nation

This is the web log of Mike Christianson- musician, who lives in an area near NYC that was once referred to (by the Dutch, no surprise) as "Slooterdam".

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Play the Tuba, see the world!

photo by Darcy James Argue

Photo by no3rdW

photo by Darcy James Argue

photo by no3rdW

On Sunday, June 4 I had the great privilege to be one of the many (80 or so) tubists who performed the premier of Anthony Braxton's "Composition #19 for 100 Tubas" It was apparently written 30 years ago but for some reason (what, you think it's hard to assemble 100 tubas?), never performed until Sunday at the 2006 Bang-On-A-Can Marathon at the World Financial center in NYC.

The mass of low conicals (every type represented except the rare and wonderful true Sousaphone with bell pointing up) was divided equally into 4 platoons, each with their own conductor. We all read the same music, but each platoon would choose it's own starting point and tempo for each of the 5 10-minute sections. The sounds were purposefully low with the 5 ledger line "D" below the staff being the bottom written note, while the top compass was somewhere around "C" in the staff. The harmonic rhythm was "stately" with quarter notes being the speediest of the written rhythms.

It was a total thrill being allowed to wallow in the rumble of the low frequency spectrum for 50 minutes, surrounded by- I am not making this up- hundreds of interested fans, who remained faithfully inches away from us even as we MOVED AROUND! I saw some microphones nearby, so someday there may be an accessible sound bite of the fun. During the meanwhilst, please enjoy some of these photos:
MC Tuba


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