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Robbie Ellis: Trolling the ...Embedded audio
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I’m a composer. Jess Rodda is a tuba player. I know her because we both studied in the same place for a while, though not at the same time. One day she asked me over Twitter whether I’d write a short piece for her brass trio. At the precise moment she tweeted me, I was having difficulty turning a playscript into a singable libretto. Trolling the Tuba is therefore a fruit of procrastination.
It’s a ragtime where the bottom instrument has the melody and the middle instrument has the bass most of the time. Jess told me her trombone player has no triggers on his instrument, but he’s got quite a good low end. I use heaps of fundamentals and ask him to fake an Eb in 8th position, when a slide trombone only allows for seven positions all up. The horn part I suspect to have an unreasonable number of notes above the stave... and below the stave too, for that matter. The tuba part is pretty silly and quite high and fiddly, except when it isn’t.
– Robbie Ellis, 29 March 2013
Programme note typed at The Perfect Cup Café, 4700 Damen Ave, Chicago IL 60625.
At the time of writing, the composer doubted his piece would ever be performed in public.
23 Aug 2013: Performed by International Low Brass Trio: Jeff Dittmer (horn), Gabe Cruz (trombone), Jess Rodda (tuba), at Novato United Methodist Church in Novato, California, USA.
14 Oct 2013: Performed by Jeff Dittmer (horn), Gabe Cruz (trombone), Jess Rodda (tuba), at Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in San Francisco
24 Oct 2013: Performed by Jeff Dittmer (horn), Gabe Cruz (trombone), Jess Rodda (tuba), at Osher Salon, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in San Francisco