A performer's guide to James Woodward's Concerto for tuba no. 1 (2000, revised 2010) and Concerto for tuba no. 2 (2013)
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James Woodward (b. 1978) is a contemporary composer who has written several prominent works for brass, including his Concerto for Tuba No.1 (2000, revised 2010) and Concerto for Tuba No. 2 (2013). The purpose of this paper is to explore and better understand these concertos through a focused examination of the form, compositional devices, and performance practice issues. This paper will serve as a guide to each concerto, both to help comprehend the form and theory behind each work, and to acknowledge the need to develop a strategy in order to approach the technical and musical challenges present in the repertoire. The technical challenges that Woodward presents in both pieces can be overcome more effectively with a greater understanding of what makes up the harmonic and melodic language Woodward is using, as well as the use of a performance practice guide. The idea of quick changes in range and dynamics in various situations is prevalent throughout each movement of each concerto. Furthermore, the harmonic and melodic language that Woodward uses is unique, and utilizes both dissonant, atonal harmonies, as well as altered tertian non-functional harmonies. This study will analyze the form and both the harmonic and melodic language utilized in each concerto. With the harmonic and melodic analysis, a guide of pitch-class sets will be established first in order to define the type of sounds Woodward uses. The harmonic and melodic language Woodward uses is certainly post-tonal, and will be analyzed using aspects of both set-theory and traditional harmonic analysis when appropriate. The performance practice guide will address notable issues related to technique with a focus on range, style, and dynamics, as well as unique challenges presented to tubists when approaching concertos like these. Two main ideas that will be guiding this analysis include: What methods can be used to help approach the extreme technical and lyrical demands of these concertos? What compositional devices and aspects of music theory are utilized by Woodward, and how can the recognition of these aspects aid the performer to enhance his or her presentation?