Since I’m in the middle of working on the Vaughan Williams tuba concerto, I thought I’d do some searching about its history on the Interwebs. Found this: an article written by Philip Catelinet for the IETA Journal. Heck – it’s a whole website about Mr. Catelinet.
In the article, he traces through his career, from post-war, leading up to the call he got to play the concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra. It’s a fascinating read and dispelled for me a rumor/story that RVW was tempermental about the composition with Mr. Catelinet (threatening to pull the composition or re-score it for another instrument, maybe – I don’t quite remember).
But you know what I really appreciate about the article: Mr. Catelinet’s admission of self-image in regards to being a tubist:
The tuba was too often connected by the public with what was humorous and ludicrous to be considered seriously a possibility on a concert platform.
He was VERY concerned about the critical and public reception the concerto was to receive. And being the first tuba concerto in history, it would have a tough time over-coming ‘Tubby-The-Tuba’ perceptions. It was initially seen as an eccentricity of an aging composer, but has since gained legitimate respectability. It’s THE representative concerto for tuba (though there are others now out there). Any aspiring professional tubist needs to know it inside and out – and thus my journey continues…