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Low Brass Concert Review

Jason Crews

It’s difficult to make any attempt at reviewing Pat’s recital. You could summarize

his entire performance in one word, amazing, but a single word can hardly do it justice

because his performance was … amazing. In addition to his playing Pat has a great stage

presence and easily entertains his audience with his wit between pieces, and even

enhances his performance with the occasional funny gesture solemn look. His theme was

something old and something new allowing him to choose a wide variety of music and

have each piece showcase different aspect of Pat’s amazing skill, and at the same time

keeping the audience on their edge of their seat.

Pat played four pieces totaling about two hours. The first piece was an oboe

concerto adapted to tuba, followed by Hyden’s cello concerto adapted for tuba by Pat,

then a more modern tuba piece, Concerto for Tuba by Martin Ellerby featuring, according

to Pat, Steven Spielberg’s E.T.’s flight across the moon, and ending with Variations on a

theme from Norma from Arbans’ method book. Each work displayed the amazing talent

that Pat possesses.

Perhaps the most impressive of which was the adapted cello piece. Concerto

was considered lost for good until the manuscript parts were discovered in Prague by a

librarian. That’s why the piece still has an active international copyright hundreds of

years after Haydn. Even in the slow movements in this work have a virtual torrent of

notes, and it was easy to tell that Pat did not miss any. Another impressive piece was the

modern tuba work Pat’s performance of Concerto for Tuba by Martin Ellerby. This was

the only work Pat played that was one continuous movement. It begins with a slow and
sad opening, then into the faster section featuring E.T.’s appearance. While this piece may

not have as many notes as many of the others it no less impressive. Pat exemplifies the

most beautiful tone a tuba can produce; a tone that most instrumentalists can only dream.

The first encore was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee which

was written for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Pat’s performance of this piece was no

less stunning than the entire recital, and it’s easy to see why it has become one of his

signature pieces. It’s not the range or the tone of the piece that makes Pat’s performance

so impressive, it’s the shear speed of the notes he throws at the audience that left almost

every audience member’s mouth hanging open.

Te second encore was Pat’s impressions of various other instruments through his

tuba. The two most memorable of which was Pat’s duets with himself, and his

impression of a guitar player. The effects he produced by singing into the horn and

playing at the same time were interesting and entertaining to say the least. It turned out

to be a hilarious ending to a wonderful recital.