By Melinda Bargreen
Seattle Times music critic
Everybody knows the tuba — the big, loud brass instrument at the back of the orchestra or the band, issuing the occasional oom-pah and playing long tones underneath all the other brass.
But the tuba really is the best-kept secret in the orchestra. It isn't just a brass boomer or a background instrument: Its voice is beautiful and mellow, capable of lyrical melody over an astonishingly wide range. Few composers, however, have given the tuba the chance to shine. There are a handful of concertos, with Ralph Vaughan Williams' the best known.
Now there is a new one. Seattle Symphony audiences will hear the world premiere of Samuel Jones' Tuba Concerto on Thursday (7:30 p.m. at Benaroya Hall, repeating Saturday at 8). The soloist, Christopher Olka, is the Symphony's own tubist, and Gerard Schwarz will conduct. (Music lovers will find an additional inducement in Tchaikovsky's beloved "Pathétique" Symphony, also on the program.)
You WILL attend, Garritan and Hopkins, and any other Seattlistas or my minions will (censored in the name of good taste)...