Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Light" classical?

What is "light" classical? This was a dilemma that my tuba-euphonium quartet come across when we were preparing for ITEA tuba/quartet competition held this summer. One of the pieces we had to prepare was a light classical transcription. The problem was that we didn't know what that meant. Did they want a piece that was from the classical period (1750-1820) or was it meant to mean something from a broad area of the classical world. We looked at a lot of different pieces: Bach's fugues, a Bruckner ave maria, a couple of overtures but nothing seem to fit. It wasn't until we played the overture from Mozart's The Magic Flute that I came up with an idea that work pretty well. I've pretty much been in love with the Queen of the Night Aria from the Magic Flute since I've first heard it. I've also heard a really good arrangement for brass choir and piccolo trumpet. It was off the Burning River Brass "Of Knights and Castles" CD. It was arranged by Michael Allen with Ryan Anthony playing the piccolo trumpet. When my quartet played the overture from the opera it gave me the idea to try and arrange this piece for two euphoniums and two tubas. The arrangement turn out really well, the quartet liked it as well as our coach John Manning.  I guess my point is that there isn't a lot of material out there for our genre, so if you can't find something that fits then go out and arrange it yourself.

On a side note here are two videos from youtube of the aria:
This first one is of a little soprano boy singing the aria. Click here.
The second is of Diana Damrau playing the Queen and singing the Aria. Click here.

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