Music Minus Middles

Nancy Nourse (on piccolo) and myself played duets at an Orchestra Toronto fundraising gala

Me and my Movember played at an Orchestra Toronto fundraising evening gala hosted at the beautiful Mansion building of the Military College in North York (Yonge blvd and Wilson).  This pic is of Nancy Nourse and me – our piccolo-tuba duets garnered a lot of attention.  To the roaming audience’s delight (and my own), the combination was really nice.  And we weren’t that far apart — for some of the Mozart duets we were within an octave of each other.  I was doing double duty too:  I played with the OT brass quintet.

On a learning note… some of the duets we played were in b minor (movements from a Handel sonata).  Those are a good learning experience for any low brass player.  The tuba I used was my Eb because I wanted to play most of the basso continuo part as-is (i.e. dropping as few notes down the octave as possible) so I could say within a decent range to Nancy.  So b minor on an Eb tuba isn’t easy – that’s a tritone from the instrument’s fundamental.  Beyond playing in a key signature with 2 sharps, it took me a while just to get comfortable with the tonal centre of the piece.  And playing a Baroque basso continuo part is virtually a study in intervals – BUT – as a duet, you’re *the* driving force in the harmonic language of the piece.  What you play drives the chordal progressions.  So you need to be well centred and bang on with the intervals so that modulations and cadences are crystal-clear and so the melody has a solid foundation upon which to rest.  I’m going to keep this part around for a while and re-visit it as a personal exercise.

ps. the duet’s name was all Nancy’s – I loved it!

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2 thoughts on “Music Minus Middles

  1. I had a fantastic time working with you Nancy! I really appreciated your insight into harmonic roles and musical interpretation, not to mention your wealth of historical knowledge on flutes.

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