Opus 257

Midsummer Songs (2001)

for Tuba Quartet


Duration: 7.25 min.

Dedication: for Tubalaté

Commission: Commissioned for Tubalaté

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing

Performance materials available from the publisher.

“Up and down, up and down,
I will lead them up and down.
I am feared in field and town.
Goblin, lead them up and down.” Puck, III.2

“Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby.” Fairies, II.2

“Through the house give glimmering light,
And this ditty after me,
Sing and dance it trippingly.” Oberon V.1

Midsummer Songs (2001) for tuba-euphonium quartet was commissioned for and is dedicated to the British tuba-euphonium quartet Tubalaté. The work was inspired by the group’s stunning playing and their championship of new repertoire for their ensemble combination.

The work is in three movements, each preceded with an epigraph from William Shakespeare’s famous play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Much of the musical material is shared throughout the three movements.

The first movement takes its inspiration from the scene in which the mischievous fairy Puck is playing tricks on two of the lovers. The music represents the skittish nature of Puck with continual contrasts between lyrical and staccato playing and a number of starts and stops.

The second movement is inspired by the lullaby sung by the fairy band in the middle of the play. The music begins and ends with section of “unfolding,” surrounding a gently pulsing lullaby in the middle.

The final movement is filled with the energy and excitement of midsummer. A dancing and sprightly opening section leads to a slower and lyrical middle section. But under this lyrical music the pulsations of the opening continue to interrupt until the music leads to a reprise of the opening and the surging coda.