Reprinted from ITEA Journal Volume 38, No 2, Winter 2011.
When attending music school, there are certain pieces that all music students will encounter by the time that they graduate. The Carnival of Venice is one of those pieces. Love it or hate it, we usually encounter this piece when introduced to multiple tonguing and wanting to perform something with flair. The problem often for students is the fact that this piece can be in unfriendly keys. If you are playing a CC tuba and playing the version out of the Arban book, it is an understatement to say that there are some tricky fingerings. F.I. Nale has come out with a published version of the Carnival of Venice in the key of F major, which means this is ideal for someone looking to play this piece on a CC or F tuba. This is a very straight-ahead version of the piece and holds to the identity of the original version. It is a great learning tool to introduce students into the world of double and triple tounging. The range of the piece is FF to a1. If you are a student looking to play Crnival in a more forgiving key for your CC or F tuba then this will be a nice addition to your collection.
Stephen Kunzer – University of Nevada – Las Vegas
Reprinted from ITEA JOURNAL, Volume 36, Number 2, Winter 2009
Fantasie and Variations on “The Carnival ov Venice” by Jean Babtiste Arban freely arranged for tuba and piano by F.L. Nale. Chicken Scratch Press, 2005, Available through WindSong Press P.O. Box 146, Gurnee, IL 60031.www.WindSongPress.com. $15
F.L. Nale transcribed Arban’s Carnival of Venice so it lies best for CC tuba (being in F major, it allows for the least amount of valve combinations on a CC tuba for this tune). Other than the key, the tuba part is the same as the many Arban arrangements for F tuba, so if you have learned the part on F tuba, you can simply pick up the CC for this arrangement; with that in mind, the distinctive quality of F.L. Nale’s is found in the piano part. In fact, the WindSong Press website states that “The piano part has been edited slightly to give the accompanist a break from the monotony of the original” – this is true, as the piano part contains melodies from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman (more recognizable than it may appear) in the latter half of variation 3 and “Pop Goes the Weasel” in the first half of variation 4. I appreciate the use of these quotes in a piece like Carnival, which is not intended to be full of deep musical meaning, and the Offenbach quote works brilliantly, if trite tunes in the context of a hackneyed piece. However, the “Pop” quote is more distracting than clever, as it occurs in the first half of the variation, which makes it occur immediately after the last quote, and has several As and Fs occurring on strong beats over a C7 chord. All of the piano interludes are identical, and, other than the quotes, this piano part contains no noticeable differences from the original piano part (yes, this will still be your pianist’s least favorite piece on the program).
Nale’s arrangement is entirely lacking in tempo/style markings, whereas most arrangements have slightly different tempos or styles in order to provide contrasts in a piece that by its nature of being a theme and variations is repetitive. It seems that the next to last variation of this arrangement, which is marked Andante e dolce in the Domek arrangement for F tuba, particularly would work well with a tempo change.
Another notable aspect of Nale’s arrangement is the lightness of the staff lines in the solo tuba part. I ancourage you to check out the .pdf version of the first and last pages are found at the WindSong Press website. This is a good representation. This could be of little concern at all, since most players will have to practice the part extensively in order to deliver a convincing performance, so the patterns will be largely memorized. The piano part is easily legible.
Jason Byrnes – University of Northern Colorado