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Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 22:36:15 -0400
From: Lawrence de Martin
Subject: [CB] Tubax concert report

I had the great pleasure of attending Paul Cohen's memorial concert for
Sigurd Rascher last evening.  The Tubax was just one of the novel
elements that honored this pioneer of the orchestral saxophone.  There
was also a premier piece and a piece that was premiered earlier this
year with Rascher in the audience.  Most of the works were written or
arranged for the departed master.  Mr. Cohen also provided lucid
commentary, carrying on the Raschler tradition of saxophone evangelist.
The spirit of reverence was strong throughout.

My first impression while waiting outside during the last-minute
rehearsal was that there was no bass coming through the door.  The Tubax
is somewhat narrower than earlier cb saxes, with a smaller bell.  This
gives it a sound like a contrabassooon or cb sarrusophone (although I
have only heard these on recordings) and less weight than a tuba.  I
think that the delicacy and agility make it both a worthy alternative
for ensemble work and a superior solo instrument.  Even the
professionals who attended this student recital showed astonishment when
the Tubax descended down the bottom octave.

The Manhattan School of Music saxophone ensemble - eight players in all
six sizes - performed sublime chords in Bach's "Wachet auf" , Caravan's
"Jubilate" and Andriessen's "Six Moods" under Mr. Cohen's able baton.
These had voicings as rich as any string works in memory.  I believe
that the leader's ability to synchronize the breathing and intonation
sounded like just chords.  It was a whole different mood when the
tempered piano was employed.

I was impressed by Argeo Asconi's quick adaptation to the new cb
instrument.  He played a facile duet with piano by Hartley as well as
the three ensemble works on Tubax and bass.  He also performed on
soprano and tenor, the latter in the Webern quartet Op.22 which was the
highest point of the concert.

The music was beautiful, wish you had been there, sign me up for the CD!

Larry de Martin


Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 00:31:39 -0700
From: bitwise
Subject: [CB] Contrabass cats and cars

Somehow, I think the sound-producing mechanism of cats is
different from that of a rackett (although cats can certainly make
a racket). ;-)

I was driving down the freeway last Sunday evening, when I
detected the delicate aroma of skunk. Employing a trick I learned
from my uncle for venting four-door vehicles, I partially lowered
the rear windows (they're electric, and controlled from the
driver's door.) Upon doing this, I immediately experienced a
DEEP rumble - the kind that feels like your eardrums are being
pressed together on positive half-cycles; the kind we maniacs
dream of producing on our instruments. I estimate this was about
4-8 Hz, based on my being almost able to count individual cycles.

The question for the list is, was the car behaving like:

  1. .) An octo-contrabass ocarina, or
  2. .) A stopped 32+ foot organ pipe? (A stopped 32-foot pipe blows about 8 Hz).
The car in question is a VW Passat wagon, which is not anywhere
near 32 feet long. Only the two rear door windows were open,
each about 1/3, and the heater was on fan speed 2,
non-recirculating. Needless to say, the windows were open just
long enough to clear the air.

By the way, Grant, I visited the Contrabass page recently and
noticed some pictures seem to have been added to the gallery.
I checked out the bass harp - awesome! I'm not surprised that it
doesn't draw - those reeds must be huge! Who would think E1
would come from something that compact. What are the
overall dimensions, anyway?

Dave, congratulations on the bass sax rescue, and thanks for
yet another useful contra-alto tip.



Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 08:52:25 -0400
From: "John Webster"
Subject: Re: [CB] Contrabass cats and cars

Your have cupped and slightly out of balance rear tires.


From: "Dave Spiegelthal"
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 09:28:20 -0400
Subject: Re: [CB] Bass saxes and cat purrs

     I think the Noblet bass sax (which it turns out is owned by a public high
school in Virginia and is almost NEVER played) dates from the 70's.  It's
actually a rather lousy horn, very fragile, body brass is too thin, keywork is
too flimsy, and there are many intonation problems.  It wouldn't be on my wish
list of instruments, I'll put it that way.  I was glad to get it out of my
possession simply because I was uncomfortable having financial responsibility
for such a delicate and expensive object.
     As for the basso profundo purr of Shadow (and other) Cats, I remember
reading once that scientists still haven't figured out how such a small animal
can produce such low frequencies.  Is this true, or is there a reasonable
explanation somewhere?
     Dave Spiegelthal
     Calverton, VA

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