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Adages for Violin and Tuba

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
9 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts

Adages was composed in 2010 for Marcy and Kenyon Wilson for a premiere at the 2011 Southeast Region Tuba/Euphonium Conference in Chattanooga, TN. The composer selected six adages to represent using music.

I. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. " The interpretation of this adage is that one always wants what someone else has instead of accepting one’s own uniqueness. During the movement, the tuba wants to be like the violin and imitates the violin’s melody. When the violin changes to pizzicato, the tuba eventually realizes it can’t be a violin and states a bold melody of its own. The movement ends with the violin playing its melody alone with pauses between the phrases as if looking over its shoulder wondering where the tuba is.

II. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. " This setting represents a growing love despite the emptiness of being apart. Violin double stops, using the hollow intervals of fourths and fifths to represent longing, occur at the beginning and end. A short love duet between the two instruments occurs in the middle.

III. Time flies when you are having fun. " A rollicking six-eight meter is used to represent a children’s game of tag. There is a lot of alternation of short phrases as if one instrument is trying to tag the other and the other is trying to avoid being tagged. The violin double stops and short accented tuba notes representing taunting.

IV. Every cloud has a silver lining. " This movement is a prayer-like setting with alternation of minor and major harmonies representing the cloud and the silver lining respectively.

V. He who hesitates is lost. " This movement is very rhythmic and syncopated with the two instruments alternating phrases in the manner of a call and response. It calls for split-second precision between the performers therefore representing the adage.

VI. A rolling stone gathers no moss. " The last movement is a perpetual motion in a rolling six-eight meter. The musical ideas are very chromatic with the exception of main theme which first appears in the tuba and returns in either instrument, both instruments together, or both instruments in imitation. Towards the end, there are a few brief pauses and low accented tuba notes as a life of activity has a few bumps along the way.

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