A Critical Review by Rob Koenig

In Toledo, love is love and this reluctant Tuba recital attendee learned to love the Tuba and two amazing musicians at Toledo School for the Arts last night in less than 60 minutes.

Before the recital, like many people from Ohio, I thought the only purpose of the Tuba was to Dot the “I” in Script Ohio. But now that I have heard the full gamut of sounds, octaves, and emotions that can be performed on the Tuba, I now appreciate the Tuba and the dedicated musicians who play it.

As the large enthusiastic audience grew silent, David Saygers announced that the Tuba is a loud instrument and he encouraged all audience members to use the free ear plugs at the door.  This warning was made completely unnecessary as soon as the recital began and we heard the remarkable soft and loud volumes that the instrument could create.  The dynamics of the Tuba are quite remarkable when played by a master like David Saygers.

The program included the Sonata for Tuba and Piano by Barbara York which offered movements such as an energetic Andante-Allegro, as well as a tasty Allegro.  Mr. Saygers also played the classically resonant Konzert fur Tuba and Klavier by Anton Lebedjew.  However, the most impressive selection was Bonampak by Alice Gomez in which the listener could almost see the battle field heroics performed by the leaders of the ancient Mayan army.  This exquisite program concluded with the performance of Jabberwocky by the impeccable David R. Gillingham.  My single criticism is that the program should have been longer.

The performance of David Saygers (and the electrifying Jamie Dauel, pianist) was just a fleeting glimpse into the complicated and sometimes elusive world that is classical Tuba performance.  It is my fervent hope that during TSA’s 21st year, there could be a series of Tuba recitals that can provide us with more of what is obviously a rich secret society of the remarkable music played on the Tuba.  Although the Tuba may be the lowest member of the brass family, last night’s performance demonstrated that it can be played at the highest level of musicianship. My musical understanding and appreciation is far better because of an unexpected journey I took to a Tuba recital.