An examination of the solo tuba works of Robert Jager
Wilson, Kenyon David
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Despite the fact that the tuba is in its 166th year of existence, it has been relatively ignored as a solo instrument for over two-thirds of these years. According to the Tuba Source Book, fewer than two dozen composers have contributed four or more works for solo tuba. Robert Jager, whose career includes appointments at the Armed Forces School of Music and Tennessee Technological University and whose published works number over 115, is among these composers. His four works for tuba span a compositional period from the 1970s to the 1990s and represent a variety of accompanimental choices: Diverse Moments No. 1 (1977) for unaccompanied tuba, Concerto for Bass Tuba and Concert Band (1978), Reflections (1980) for tuba and piano, and Three Ludes for Tuba (1997) for solo tuba and tuba/euphonium quartet.|This study serves as a musical analysis of and performance commentary on these important tuba works, providing a resource for composers as well as tubists. It gives tubists the theoretical background and practical, technical information needed to prepare high-quality performances. It also will help both composers and tubists to understand Jager's compositional process. The discussion of performance issues is supplemented through correspondence and interviews with R. Winston Morris, who premiered Diverse Moments No. 1 and Reflections; Daniel Perantoni, who premiered Concerto for Bass Tuba and Concert Band; and Gene Pokorny, who premiered Three Ludes for Tuba.|Several Compositional traits serve to identify Jager's style. These include his treatment of motivic ideas, use of certain transitional devices, and use of extramusical elements to determine musical choices. The presence of these traits in each of the works analyzed in this study demonstrates the consistency of Jager's compositional technique. The fact that he achieves his styalistic identity through such varied instrumental combinations as unaccompanied tuba, tuba and concert band, tuba and piano, and tuba and tuba/euphonium quartet demonstrates his versatility. This study of some of his works, although limited to his solo tuba literature, provides insight into his overall compositional style.