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York, Barbara


  • Ensemble: Tuba and Piano
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 5
  • Duration: 10.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: CM1170

Notes on “Directions for Tuba and Symphonic Band”.  This version is for Tuba and Piano

This piece is not in a conventional concerto form or style, nor does the title, “Directions”, refer to the outward directions that people take when going from place to place. It is a piece about the development of the human being and the directions in which one puts both consciousness and attention as we all grow and mature in our awareness and spirituality. In this piece the tuba soloist and the band are not separate individuals, but are intended to represent parts of the same person — the tuba soloist being the more conscious, decisive and deliberate part, and the band members the more internal and less integrated parts of the self.

The first movement (Out and About) is the least mature in that respect and almost has a circus-like quality from time to time. Imagine a young child whose awareness and attention are all focused on learning about, manipulating and functioning within the physical world. This has a cheerful, child-like and innocent quality, like a young person
bouncing along happily while he or she discovers how many things there are to do and explore within the physical world.

Between the first and second movements there occurs what I would describe as an “internal dialogue”, where the tuba talks with the more internal parts of him or herself (the band) and expresses some basic feelings of longing and lack of completeness with his/her life and how he/she feels as a person.

The second movement (In) moves our attention more internally into the realm of emotion, somewhat like an adolescent who has discovered feelings of tenderness and longing, infatuation and even unrequited love. This movement has greater musical and emotional subtlety than the first, but there is still something within it that remains
unfulfilled and unsatisfied, so we find ourselves engaging in a similar “internal dialogue” at the beginning of the third movement.

The third movement (Up and Through) finds our subject turning attention and awareness to more spiritual pursuits, and it is at this point that we find bits of thematic material from the first two movements returning and becoming restated, transformed and integrated into a new and more cohesive whole, as the tuba picks up different instruments and different
sections to join it in its thematic focus. By about two thirds of the way through this movement, we experience a “breakthrough” into a kind of spiritual exultation where there is a much fuller integration of all the parts of the personality (the tuba soloist and the band) and the tuba solo becomes the leader in a joyful and exuberant dance.

Barbara York

Please note, the scoreflipper demonstrates sections of the first and second movements only.

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