Ennio Morricone (b. 1928) is an incredibly prolific Italian composer, orchestrator, and conductor. He has composed the scores for over 500 films and has also contributed much to the concert repertoire. He has not, however, written concert music for brass alone. However, his rich wealth of filmic material has served as an excellent source from which to arrange. One of Morricone’s best known works, from the movie The Mission, is the piece “Gabriel’s Oboe.” Normally scored for (you guessed it) the oboe, this exceedingly beautiful melody has understandably been “stolen” by other instruments, such as brass band. In fact, when researching the extent of the piece, a version exists for pretty much every combination of brass instruments.
Today we will look at a version for brass band with tuba solo. While I think the large range and relative variety of timbres in a brass band can work well on a piece like this, I question the use of tuba as the solo voice. To be sure, solo tuba is a nice sound, but simply does not have the dexterity of a woodwind for the ornamental flourishes. Also, in this particular arrangement, the solo voice tends to get lost in the accompaniment. Listen for yourself and see what you think – this is the Appalachian Brass Orchestra with Oystein Baadsvik as tuba soloist: