Tuba Concerto (Vaughan Williams)

The Concerto in F Minor for Bass Tuba and Orchestra by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was written in 1954[1] for Philip Catelinet,[2] principal tubist of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), who together gave the premiere on 13 June 1954 with Sir John Barbirolli conducting. The same musicians made the work’s first recording that same year.[3]

Composition and historyEdit

While at first viewed[by whom?] as the eccentric idea of an aging composer, the concerto soon became one of Vaughan Williams' most popular works, and an essential part of the tuba repertoire.

The work is in three movements:

  1. Prelude: Allegro moderato
  2. Romanza: Andante sostenuto
  3. Finale - Rondo alla tedesca: Allegro

A performance commonly takes about 13 minutes. Apart from the solo tuba, the piece is scored for two flutes (2nd doubling on piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets (in B♭), bassoon, 2 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in B♭), 2 trombones, timpani, triangle, side drum, bass drum, cymbals, and strings.


Vaughan Williams' concerto has since received a number of concert performances and recordings. Live performances include those by Gerard Hoffnung,[4][5] James Gourlay,[6] Michael Lind, and Peter Whish-Wilson. In addition to Catelinet's pioneering recording, other recordings of the concerto have featured the following artists:


  1. ^ "Northwestern SSO". prd-nusso.it.northwestern.edu.
  2. ^ "An account of the composition and first performance of the concerto, by Clifford Bevan" (PDF).
  3. ^ Hussey, Dyneley, "The Musician's Gramophone" (October 1956). The Musical Times, 97 (1364): pp. 524-526.
  4. ^ Madell, Geoffrey, "London Music: Morley College Symphony Orchestra" (August 1958). The Musical Times, 99 (1386): p. 1440.
  5. ^ Obituary for Gerard Hoffnung (November 1959). The Musical Times, 100 (1401): p. 619.
  6. ^ Foreman, Lewis, "First Performances: The Broadheath Singers and the Farrar Centenary" (December 1985). Tempo (New Ser.), 155: pp. 38-39.
  7. ^ Ottaway, Hugh, Review of Vaughan Williams recording ("The Wasps and other short pieces") (1973). The Musical Times, 114 (1565): p. 711.
  8. ^ "David Unland". Ithaca College.