The Big Brass Quartet with Dan Albright, Paul HemondMike Wiley, Robert Eliason.

 Enjoy the unique sound of tuba instruments and famous melodies:








Concert Program

San Diego, April 2016

00:00 The Standard of St. George - Kenneth J. Alford, arr. Paul Hemond

03:04 March from the Second Suite in F - Gustav Holst, arr. David R. Werden

08:56 Barbara Allen - Traditional Irish, arr. Nic Smith and P. A. Vesilind

11:47 Amparita Roca - Jaime Texidor, arr. Robert Wilkinson

15:41 Rondeau - Jean-Joseph Mouret, arr. John Stevens

19:48 Achieved is the Glorious Work - Franz Joseph Haydn, from The Creation, arr. Donald G. Miller and Paul Hemond

23:32 When I’m Sixty-Four - Paul McCartney (at age 16), arr. Paul Hemond

27:50 The Purple Carnival March - Harry L. Alford, arr. Paul Hemond

32:48 The Pink Panther - Henry Mancini, arr. Jay Krush

37:17 Teddy Bears’ Picnic - Jimmy Kennedy, arr. Robert Eliason

40:30 Mabel Waltz - D. Godfrey, arr. Robert Eliason

46:38 Colonel Bogey - Kenneth J. Alford (Frederick Joseph Ricketts), arr. Paul Hemond


The Big Brass Quartet

Musicians (Their Facebook Page)

Dan Albright, euphonium, is a multi-instrumental musician who plays piano, synthesizer, euphonium, and trombone. He is a member of the San Diego Concert Band and the Bone-a-fied  Brass trombone ensemble. His day job is Sergeant with the San Diego Police Department.

Paul Hemond, euphonium, started in music by playing organ, then joined his high school band and learned to play euphonium, trombone, and tuba. He plays euphonium in this ensemble and in the San Diego Concert Band, and trombone in the Bone-a- fied Brass trombone ensemble. He is retired from a career developing computer software. 

Bob Eliason, tuba in F, is retired from careers as a professional musician, museum curator, musical instrument historian, and technical writer. He plays tuba with this ensemble, the San Diego Concert Band, and the St. Paul’s Light Opera Company.

Mike Wiley, tuba in CC, is an active freelance tubaist, performing with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Pops, the San Diego Concert Band, Praxum Brass, Westwind Brass Quintet, Pacific Sounds Brass Quintet and numerous other chamber groups. Michael is also an accomplished bass guitarist, recording and touring with many San Diego based artists including multi award winning CCMA recording artist, Mary James; and Christian singer-songwriter, Chris Surdock. He also proudly serves as a detective with the San Diego Police Department.


Introductions to Compositions

Written by Robert Eliason

The Standard of St. George - Kenneth J. Alford; 

arr. Paul Hemond

Kenneth J. Alford was the pen name of Frederick Joseph Ricketts (1881-1945), a bandmaster in the British Army. The standard of St. George (that’s the George who slew the dragon) is part of the design of the flag of England. The march by this name was inspired by watching the British ceremony, Trooping the Colour at a Horse Guards Parade, a ceremony that has marked the birthday of the English sovereign since 1748. We play it first on the program to get your attention, but mostly to honor the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth just two days ago, April 21, 2016.

March from the Second Suite in F Gustav Holst (1874-1934); 

arr. for tuba quartet by David R. Werden

Holst was an English composer and teacher who pioneered music education for women at St Paul’s Girls’ School, where he taught from 1905 until his death in 1934. He was interested in English folk music and incorporated several folksongs from Hampshire into this work. Tubas are not folk instruments, but we’ll take any good tune we can get, and this piece gives us quite a few.

Barbara Allen Traditional Irish; 

arr. Nic Smith and P. A. Vesilind

There are at least 92 versions of the tragic Scottish love ballad “Barbara Allen.” But the gist of them all is that Barbara Allen visits the bedside of a heartbroken young man, who pleads for her love. She refuses, claiming that he had slighted her at a prior affair; he dies soon thereafter. Barbara Allen later hears his funeral bells tolling; and, stricken with grief, she dies as well.

Amparita Roca Jaime Texidor; 

arr. Robert Wilkinson

Amparita Roca, written in 1925, is a pasodoble, a Spanish dance, and one of the better-known pieces of Spanish music. The composition is named after one of composer, Jaimie Texidor’s piano students, and portrays the sound, drama, and movement of the Spanish and Portuguese bullfight. Why this young girl, age 12 at the time, should personify to her teacher a bullfight has not been explained. We play it to bring to you the excitement and drama of the recent opening of the bullfighting season in Mexico. Ole!!!

Rondeau Jean-Joseph Mouret (1682-1738); 

arr. John Stevens

Mouret wrote this piece in 1729 especially for the Masterpiece Theater TV series, Upstairs, Downstairs. How he managed to do this is still under investigation. You have no doubt heard it played by trumpets; that is the upstairs version expressing the nobility of the upper classes. We will play it on tubas, which is the downstairs version expressing the earthy values of the common people, and also the proximity of the wine cellar.

Achieved is the Glorious Work from The Creation - Franz Joseph Haydn 

arr. Donald G. Miller; and Paul Hemond

Haydn was inspired to write a large oratorio during his visits to England in 1791–1792 and 1794–1795, when he heard oratorios of Handel performed by large forces. The Creation was first performed in rehearsal April 29, 1798, 218 years ago last week. That’s even before many of you were born. Achieved speaks of the completed creation of the universe when everything was good, even the tuba playing!

When I’m Sixty-Four  - Paul McCartney (at age 16); 

arr. Paul Hemond

According to the story, McCartney wrote this song when he was 16 and forgot about until his father turned 64, which happened to be when the Beatles were recording ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’ In the song, Paul is trying to convince his new girlfriend of his worthiness by painting a scenario of what their life will be like in the future. It won’t always be easy (“we shall scrimp and save”) but spending your last years working in the garden and playing with our grandchildren make it all worthwhile.

The Purple Carnival March - Harry L. Alford; 

arr. Paul Hemond

The American composer Harry L. Alford is sometimes confused with Englishman Kenneth J. Alford, composer of The Standard of St. George march played earlier on the program, and Colonel Bogey to follow. Harry L. Alford composed over 100 pieces of music, but only two of his band marches are well known: Glory of the Gridiron, 1932; written for director Harding and the University of Illinois Band; and The Purple Carnival, 1933; dedicated to director Glenn Cliffe Bainum and the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band. If it makes you feel like marching, try to resist.

The Pink Panther - Henry Mancini; 

arr. Jay Krush

“The Pink Panther Theme” is an instrumental composition by Henry Mancini written for the 1963 film The Pink Panther. The film features an inept French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played by Peter Sellers. In this performance the part is played by our own police detective, Mike Wiley. The Pink Panther is a large and valuable pink diamond, called that because a flaw at its center, when viewed closely, is said to resemble a leaping pink panther. The music depicts the inept Inspector Clouseau bumbling around, and a slinky pink panther on the loose. Tubas are good at bumbling and slinking.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic John Walter Bratton, 1907; words by Jimmy Kennedy;

arr. Robert Eliason

“Teddy Bears’ Picnic” is a song consisting of a melody by American composer John Walter Bratton, written in 1907, and lyrics added by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy in 1932. It remains popular as a children’ song, having been recorded by numerous artists over the decades. Kennedy lived at Staplegrove Elm Taunton, Somerset, England. Local folklore has it that the small wooded area between the church and Staplegrove Scout Hut was the inspiration for his lyrics. After the last two pieces you better check under your chairs for pink panthers or bears.

Mabel Waltz Daniel Godfrey; 

arr. Robert Eliason

Sir Dan Godfrey (1868–1939) was a British conductor and member of a musical dynasty that included his father Dan Godfrey and his son, also Dan Godfrey. Sir Dan Godfrey founded the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra in 1893 and remained its leading conductor for 41 years, until 1934. He was knighted in 1922 for valuable services to British music.’ We don’t know who Mabel was, and there are three Daniel Godfreys to choose from as composer, but the waltz is beautiful no matter which of the Dan Godfreys wrote it.

Colonel Bogey Kenneth J. Alford (Frederick Joseph Ricketts); 

arr. Paul Hemond 

Supposedly the tune was inspired by a military golfer, who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase (a descending minor third interval) instead of shouting “Fore!” It is this descending interval that begins each line of the melody. The name “Colonel Bogey” began in the later 19th century as the imaginary “standard opponent” of a golf scoring system, and Edwardian golfers on both sides of the Atlantic often played matches against “Colonel Bogey.”’ Bogey now just means “one over par.” There were also some words sung to this melody by soldiers in World War II about the anatomy of Hitler, Goring, Himmler & Eichman, which some of you no doubt remember. And so we conclude our concert at a respectable, but uncompetitive score of one over par.


Production Notes

Robert Eliason, the famous brass instruments expert, asked me to record his tuba quartet's concert. On my suggestion to use a company that specializes on music live performances, he responded with assurance that they already made studio recordings, and I should just capture the event on video with my portable equipment. I was glad I had a decent sound-recording device with a preamp, used by professional musicians. 

Bob and I scouted the location way ahead, and discovered that the only possible place for me to set up would be on the second floor balcony of the building, located right next to the designated large patio.

On the day of the actual event, on which we all, including the musicians, helped Bob and his wife Ellen move, I managed to gain the access into an empty space on the first floor, by jumping over the balcony reels and securing the entry door open.

During the setup, I faced an unusual amount of destructions: palm trees in heavy pots were moved in my camera's view, bright blue tents were set-up by the management against performer's will, loudspeakers were placed too close to my microphone, people were trying to take pictures of the band, leaning on the tree that touched my balcony... and I could go on. It was not getting easier during the recording, mostly due to the fast traveling Sun and unexpected behaviour of some members of the audience and the volunteers.

The camera's position was fixed: I could not move it after pointing it on the more or less visibly arranged band. I regretted not to have risked placing the microphone closer to the instruments, which would have allowed me using a stereo mic, but it was clear that I had neither time nor realistic possibility to tape the cables to the asphalt with my black gaffer's tape, and there was reasonable expectation of risk people might hurt themselves or the equipment. 

Tubas have a very special sound to work with, I recorded it low to avoid distortion, and then increased gain in limited post - I had no time to work on the files properly. I used a windbreaker and had no problems with the wind. A couple of people, though, almost crushed into the balcony I was on, and I needed to cut a few seconds in the beginning due to the cracking noise. 

It was a fun experience, and I hope the musicians - delightful people, have a good memories of their performance, supported by this video. 


Links to the Video

The video on YouTube will start at the beginning of each compositions:

00:00 The Standard of St. George

03:04 March from the Second Suite in F

08:56 Barbara Allen

11:47 Amparita Roca

15:41 Rondeau

19:48 Achieved is the Glorious Work

23:32 When I’m Sixty-Four

27:50 The Purple Carnival March

32:48 The Pink Panther

37:17 Teddy Bears’ Picnic

40:30 Mabel Waltz

46:38 Colonel Bogey


About Robert Eliason

Yankee Brass Band - Robert Eliason

Robert Eliason - Early American Brass Makers

Robert E. Eliason - The Curt Sachs Award 1998

The Harvard Dictionary of Music - Contributors

The Big Brass Quartet concert with Dan Albright, Paul Hemond, Bob Eliason, Mike Wiley - Concert, San Diego, April 2016


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