Last week I played a week of Stravinsky’s Petrushka with the Pacific Symphony. Ever since I got my FLUBA in 2000 I knew it could be a great classical instrument. My main use of it since then has been as a jazz instrument. But playing certain high tuba solos was a piece of cake on it so I always wanted to try it on the Bear Solo or other orchestral parts. Convincing a conductor might be a problem however. My chance came last week. We had a last minute substitute conductor, Christian Knapp, who is young and adventuresome. It’s been a few years since I played Petrushka but after many performances and teaching it forever I thought I knew it cold. During the first two rehearsals I had my Yamaha 822 F and stumbled through the solo. I found out later that they were new parts and there was a missing 8th note at the beginning. (My memory for orchestral trivia is very short). Frustrated that I didn’t “nail’ it on Sunday I was practicing it at home and tried it on the FLUBA. It was so easy I decided to present it to the maestro. He said “try it” so on the 3rd rehearsal I did. It turned out just wonderful. I used it on those two rehearsals and the three concerts and nailed it! The surprising thing is how well it worked. The sound projected out to the audience and it was a distinctive sound. I got many compliments from my colleagues, audience members, the conductor and even the Executive Director of the PSO, John Forsyte was blown away. It was also mentioned on the live KUSC Radio broadcast by Rich Capparela.
Like Pokorny, Pearson and others, I have kind of retired from playing Bydlo, (there is always a trombonist happy to have the euphonium double), but the FLUBA would be a neat sound and good choice for that solo too. Should I ever do Vaughan Williams again I might try it on the FLUBA.
IT IS A COOL INSTRUMENT!