RECOMMENDED RECORDINGS 

In addition to practicing your instrument, it is crucial to study the performances of the great musicians in order to develop your musicianship. Below is a short list of recordings by other artists which I have enjoyed and found helpful and inspirational.

 

 

VOCALISTS

When trying to develop a beautiful sound, you can certainly benefit from listening to fine players of your own instrument; but don't neglect to seek out great artists on other instruments as well. As I've looked for models of beautiful bass sound, I've found that the male voice, as sung by these great vocalists, provides a great standard to emulate. These are the recordings I have listened to the most, and which have inspired me to play with a beautiful sound and phrasing.

 

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3)

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (CD) 

 

 

BORIS CHRISTOFF
RUSSIAN OPERA ARIAS AND SONGS

In looking for a sound to model on the CC contrabass tuba, I have always imagined the stereotypical Russian operatic bass-baritone with a barrel-chested voice that resonates the entire room. Randy Hawes turned me onto Boris Christoff, who is the quintessential version of just such a singer. The ease with which he produces a massive resonance in the low register is something I try to emulate when I play the tuba.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3)

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (CD)

 

 

THOMAS QUASTHOFF
MOZART ARIAS

I have many recordings by this amazing German musician, but I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to this one. His warm, effortless sound, and smooth, expressive phrasing is something I try to achieve every time I play.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3)

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM 

 

 

DIETRICH FISCHER-DIESKAU
MAHLER SONGS

Fischer-Dieskau is one of the greatest baritones in history, and this recording is a classic. He brings a huge range of color and expression to everything he sings. 

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3) 

 

 

 

FRITZ WUNDERLICH

Fritz Wunderlich was a German tenor with a very different sound from the typical operatic tenor of today. His sound is lean, clean, and bright, and without strain. I often imagine his voice when I am playing a passage in the highest register. 

INSTRUMENTAL RECORDINGS 

 

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (CD)

 

 

ARNOLD JACOBS
PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST

This CD (as well as the follow-up volume: Legacy of an Artist ) is a compilation of live performances, interviews and master class lectures by Arnold Jacobs, the tubist of the Chicago Symphony for over 40 years, and one of the great teachers. Many of Jacobs' lectures center on how to maintain a focus on the conception and delivery of musical thought.

 BUY FROM WINDSONG PRESS.COM (CD)

 

 

CHICAGO SYMPHONY LOW BRASS SECTION 

This is a classic recording which was made in 1971 by the low-brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra of the time: Jay Friedman, James Gilbertson, Frank Crisafulli, Edward Kleinhammer and Arnold Jacobs. Their performances of chamber music and orchestral excerpts represent the standard for low brass playing, and have served to inspire generations of trombone and tuba players.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3)

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (CD)

 

 

THE ANTIPHONAL MUSIC OF GABRIELI

Another classic brass recording, this one features the brass sections from the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestara, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as recorded in 1968. The tuba players at that time were Abe Torchinsky, Ronald Bishop and Arnold Jacobs, respectively. This was truly a ground-breaking recording at the time it was made, and it has stood the test of time as one of the most important brass recordings ever made.

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3) 

 

 

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS TUBA CONCERTO
JOHN FLETCHER

There are numerous fine recordings of the Vaughan Williams Concerto. This is the one I grew up on, and John Fletcher's beautiful playing opened my eyes to what the tuba could do. I think this recording still represents the gold standard for this concerto. 

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3) 

 

 

STRAUSS HORN CONCERTOS
DENNIS BRAIN, HORN

Dennis Brain (1921-1957) was one of the great soloists of all time on any instrument. His father and grandfather were noted horn players, and he himself was principal horn of the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic orchestras of London. He collaborated with some of the greatest conductors (Karajan, Sawallisch, Beecham), and his recordings of the Strauss Concertos and the Mozart Concertos for horn stand out as some of the most important recordings of a brass instrument. His impeccable tone, intonation, articulation and musicianship are unparalleled. 

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (mp3) 

 

 

MUSSORGSKY/RAVEL: PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC/SINOPOLI
 

There are truly countless recordings of orchestral works that are worthy of note. I single this one out because Principal Trumpeter Philip Smith's opening Promenade changed the way I thought of playing a brass instrument. The live, brilliant, singing sound that continues from the beginning of one note into the next is an example that had a profound effect on the development of my own playing. It perfectly illustrates the concept of "staying in the sound" which I try to impart to my students. Warren Deck sounds phenomenal as well!

BUY FROM AMAZON.COM (CD)

 

 

GREATEST HITS
EMPIRE BRASS

Along with Canadian Brass, the Empire Brass led the way to establishing the brass quintet as a standard medium for brass chamber music performance. This group represented a new standard of refinement, and had a huge repertoire which ranged from the premieres of challenging new works by contemporary composers, to arrangements of orchestral light classics, to pops arrangements. Rolf Smedvig at the top, and Sam Pilafian on the bottom insured that this ensemble always sounded brilliant. Having studied with Pilafian from a young age, and having heard countless rehearsals and concerts by this group when it was in its heyday, I was hugely influenced by this group. I have actually never heard this particular album, but it collects many fine examples of their recording for Telarc. (Also look for EMI releases still in circulation.)

 

 BUY FROM BARNES AND NOBLE.COM (CD)

 

 

RUSSIAN MELODIES
VIENNA TROMBONE QUARTET

This group displays an amazingly well balanced and blended sound; and the technical precision, clean articulation and ensemble phrasing is truly excellent. One of my favorite brass ensemble recordings.