Review from ITEA Journal, Fall 2008

from ITEC's Noontime Concert Series, Friday, June 27, 2008

'...Their (Texas State Tuba Ensemble) next selection was the fourth movement from “Suite No. Four” by Kenneth Friedrich. This work was composed in the memory of Tommy Johnson. The movement features a very beautiful lyrical opening section and a lively fugue like section. One of my favorite sections was a bell tone section going down through the ensemble. Here the ensemble did a wonderful job matching style and articulation and blending.'

~Lloyd Bone, Glenville State College

Review from ITEA Journal, Winter 2009

Through the Eyes of Innocence

Kenneth Friedrich has produced a sometimes contemplative yet easy to listen work for flute, tuba, and piano with Through the Eyes of Innocence. Being true to its name, the work has an innocent quality about it, as I can almost imagine hearing parts of the piece on popular children’s shows accompanying a child exploring the neighbor’s lawn or playing at the neighborhood park. Within this simple palette, Friedrich includes interesting harmonic changes that provide forward direction and good pacing throughout.

Although the range of the tuba part may seem large, 90% of the part lies within the “cash register” of the tuba with rare forays into the basement or the top of the staff. After a statement of the melody, the flute often acts as ornamentation to the tuba playing the melody, so greater technical facility is required. But all parts are well within reach of amateurs willing to work hard.

The parts are quite legible with the flute and tuba duet functioning as the instrumentalists’ part and all parts are on the piano score. Readability would be improved if the piano part were written an octave lower with an octave designation at the beginning of the 1st movement. Also, the first movement has a metronome marking but no style marking while the last movement has a style marking but no metronome marking (the second movement has both). These minor inconsistencies are no reason to miss this light piece for flute, tuba and piano, and I can imagine it working well as background music while “passing the plate” at church or with a bit of added narration or theater. I think it could work quite well for children’s concerts. Check out excerpts from the score and full recordings at Ken Friedrich’s website above. The tuba range is DD to b.
~Jason Byrnes, University of Northern Colorado

Review from ITEA Journal, Spring 2009

El Toro Loco

When I opened the first page of the score, the instrumentation of four euphoniums and two tubas immediately caught my attention. With this orchestration, a big challenge for many ensembles would be finding bodies to cover four euphonium parts. An E-flat or F tuba could cover the fourth euphonium part, but the third part lies above the staff for long stretches and reaches a plateau of b-flat1. In addition, the work is scored in pairs (euphonium 1 and 2, euphonium 3 and 4, tuba 1 and 2), which would create problems with timbre if a tuba played the fourth part.

The music is fun to play and written in a Latin or even a mariachi flavor as the title suggests. There are four different sections and a fifth where the first idea is repeated up a whole step. The top melodic line is mostly carried by the first or third euphonium with the second or fourth euphonium a third below. For a majority of the work, the tubists play an accompanying role but do have melodic material for short stretches.

There is a tricky offbeat accompaniment line that passes through the parts, which is made more difficult by the music typesetting. Though copied out with a computer, this pattern is crushed in some parts so that consecutive sixteenth rests meld together, creating a confusing visual appearance.

Many of Mr. Friedrich’s low brass works are available from Cimarron Press, though this work is self-published and available on the composer’s web page. It is playable by an undergraduate ensemble or a group that has at least three euphoniumists with developed high ranges and most easily performed with a conductor.
~Ken Drobnak, The University of South Dakota

ITEA Journal Volume 38 Number 3 (Spring 2011)

Twenty-four Low Register Concert Etudes for Tuba by Kenneth D. Friedrich. Available through Kenneth Friedrich: 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex. 78640. #KDF-10121. $19.50.

Ken Friedrich has quickly become a great friend and prolific composer for the tuba and euphonium community. Ken is frequently in attendance at regional and international conferences and takes a strong interest in composing new music for both tuba and euphonium. This new book, Twenty-four Low Register Concert Etudes for Tuba, is a result of a conversation at one such conference. At the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, Ken was approached by Daniel Perantoni to write a set of fun etudes that would work on low register playing. The result of this conversation is the composer’s earlier 24 Melodious Low Register Etudes for Tuba. After writing this book, Mr. Perantoni encouraged Ken to compose another set of more advanced etudes for college upperclassmen and graduate level musicians, resulting in this latest publication.

The etudes are more like a collection of unaccompanied solos than traditional etudes. Each has its own character, and each are given an actual title instead of just an etude number. These etudes also emphasize other areas in addition to low register playing. Instead of just using the low range the whole time for pedagogical reasons the composer does a great job of integrating this range into the broader musical framework of the piece.

These pieces are quite challenging. They definitely were written for more advanced level musicians. Each etude will require invested time in preparing for performance level. However, the collection is worth the effort. Not only will they stretch your range and flexibility on the tuba, but also they are truly fun to perform.
~Jason Roeder, Texas Pan-American University

24 Melodious Low Register Etudes for Tuba by Kenneth D. Friedrich. Available through Kenneth Friedrich: 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex. 78640. #KDF-10118. 2010. $19.50.

In the tuba literature, there are very few gaps left to fill. One of those is etudes for the extreme low register. There are a few books, but other than those, we have had to fill in with taking existing etudes or Bordogni vocalises down an octave (or two, if you’re using the Rochut book and taking them down an octave already just to get them in the tuba register). Mr. Friedrich has a new entry into the breach. The idea was suggested to him by Dan Perantoni, who challenged him to create “low register studies with a melodic approach.”

Not only do we have a melodic approach, but there is a great deal of variety here. The keys vary all the way from three sharps to six flats, but it is the style that jumps out at you on every page. One page has bouncing triplets, one staccato eighth notes, the next eights and sixteenths in 6/8 time…the page with sixteenth triplets was, luckily, marked Tempo Rubato, because I needed that freedom to get from one beat to another.

A few of these etudes don’t go very low (one page only goes down to GG-flat) but I think the point of those studies is the change of registers, something which is also sometimes neglected by the student. Throughout this book, there is the opportunity to see notes below FF in print, all the way down to BBB-flat. You don’t see those notes playing Bordogni but thinking 8vb.

I like the variety of this book. Keys, tempos, style, registers, rhythms, and time signatures change from page to page. If you’re serious about improving your low range, you should give this book a try.
~Michael Short, Drake University

Suite for Unaccompanied Tuba by Kenneth D. Friedrich. The Music of Kenneth D. Friederich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex., 78640.; 2003. $11.

What began as an attempt to help a student has turned out to be a nice unaccompanied piece for the intermediate tuba player. Suite for Unaccompanied Tuba was written in 2003 by Austin, Texas-based composer Kenneth Friedrich for a student with an impending Army band audition. And apparently it worked pretty well for the student as he is still in the Army band program. Mr. Friedrich has written extensively for low brass and has been reviewed in the ITEA Journal previously, and his familiarity with writing for the tuba is evident as this piece is realistically challenging and stylistically diverse.

Suite consists of four contrasting sections that are played with little or no break between them. The first section is Andante con Moto, followed by Allegro, then Lento and finally Presto, the order resembling that of a Baroque sonata. Each section changes mode or key and contrasts in style. The writing is tonal but angular at times and definitely has a contemporary style. The opening Andante is graceful, the Allegro more spirited and angular, the Lento elegant and reflective and the Presto a lively finish with leaps and runs. There are some technical challenges such as some wide leaps and a fair amount of chromatic alteration. The range is from FF to c¹ with most of the playing in the staff or just below so that is not a problem for most intermediate players. The challenge would come from achieving clarity in the leaps and technical passages and, as is the case with all unaccompanied pieces, playing with a musical sensibility to phrasing and structure. It is an attractive piece for the developing player as a prelude to more advanced unaccompanied pieces and would be a nice addition to a recital. The only comment I have on the notation is that the dynamics are written above the staff, which is a bit unusual. This piece is available through the composer’s website listed above.
~Roy Couch, Cameron University

Night Fantasies for horn, tuba, piano by Kenneth D. Friedrich. Music of Kenneth D. Friedrich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex. 78640. #KDF–10095. 2008. $19.95.

Night Fantasies was written for Dr. James Shearer, professor of tuba at New Mexico State University as a means to bolter the repertoire for his trio. Written in four movements: “Snow Dancing in My Socks,” “What’s Hiding in My Closet,” “Land of Harps and Fluffy Stuff,” and “Ready for My Close-Up,” Night Fantasies depicts a child’s set of dreams of dancing in the snow, fear of an unknown creature luring in the closet, visions of heaven and fantasies of being a move star, respectively.

The first movement, “Snow Dancing in My Socks,” features both the tuba and the horn separately, playing long, lyrical phrases, and only joining forces at the end. This happens while the piano plays a continuous stream of quarter-note arpeggios and flowing eighth-notes, perhaps to depict the falling of the snow. “What’s hiding in My Closet”pits the brass against the piano in an imitative duel. Large, angular leaps and accents are prevalent throughout, in stark contrast to the pastoral first movement and the graceful third: “Land of Harps and Fluffy Stuff.” Rolled piano chords, rising to the top of the instrument’s range depict a harp throughout most of the movement, while the horn and tuba play syncopated rhythms in counterpoint. The finale, “Ready for My Close-Up,”features a piano ostinato that is nearly continuous and eventually imitated by both horn and tuba.

The range of the tuba is EE to e-flat¹, making it playable on either CC or F. My preference would be for the F tuba, making it easier to match the timbre of the horn. With a running time of approximately ten minutes, Night Fantasies would be a logical repertoire piece for a senior recital or other similar performance opportunity.
~Jonathan Fowler, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Surge by Kenneth D. Friedrich for tuba trio. The Music of Kenneth D. Friederich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex., 78640.; 2009. $15.

After hearing one of Mr. Friedrich’s pieces at ITEC in Tucson, I was very happy to have the opportunity to review his latest work, Surge. First of all, I would like very much to perform this piece. The cover states that it was commissioned by James (Casey) Tucker, Stephen Adams, and Morgan Jenks. All three of whom were students from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.  

Surge may easily be described as lively, energetic, and exciting. The opening tempo is allegro and stays there for the duration of the work. The tonality is modern (lots of open fifths), but not atonal. The greatest challenge of Surge will be found in the staggered entrances. This technique is pervasive across the piece but does not pose enough of a problem to warrant too much worry. There are repetitive four note sixteenth runs throughout Surge. Total length of the piece is just over five minutes.

The print for each part is clean and easy to read, and each part consists of three pages (two on a single 11”x17” and one on 8.5”x11”), so page-turns should not be an issue. The score is equally easy to read. Range for each of the three parts (starting with tuba 1) is CC to e-flat1, AA-flat to c1, and FF to a-flat. Tuba 1 would probably sound best on a bass tuba. Surge would be a good piece for college level players to perform.
~Jeremy Lewis, West Texas A&M University

Sketches for flute and tuba (2010) by Kenneth D. Friedrich. Commissioned by Per Fosberg. The Music of Kenneth D. Friederich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex., 78640.; #KDF-10117. 2010. $17.50.

Since 1980 Kenneth Friedrich has been a very active composer for low brass. Be it solo or most any combination, he has written for or is ready to rise to the challenge. Notable is his recent set of two low register etude books available singly or as a set.

The tuba part in this challenging duo ranges from AAA-flat – f1. Enclosed I found a nice, clearly written score and two sets of parts one having the tuba part larger and “bold” the other did the same for the flutist. The duo parts are printed “crosswise” across a double page, so most of the seven movements can be seen and performed without a page turn. The final movement marked presto animato is longer and may require skillful juggling or two stands to get through. One should not be daunted at the thought of a seven movement duo, because each instrument has a solo movement, so actually you get five duo movements, one solo movement, and one chance to rest a bit! A majority of the fast, articulated passages are scalar, and many of the fastest chromatic passages are slurred, so the technical aspects are manageable. Leaps tend to be an octave or less, and the chromatic motion gets into the ear and under the fingers within a few readings. I am pleased to say that this work lends itself to CC tuba, creating a nice balance to all the high, higher, highest direction many recent solo works are heading. The voices are spaced far enough apart and sounds will complement each other so balance is easy to achieve.

This would be a nice addition to a college recital or professional level performance, and is a good example of how Kenneth Friedrich is growing and maturing as a composer.
~Phillip C. Black, Wichita State University, Wichita Symphony

Fallen for trumpet, horn (euphonium), tuba, and piano by Kenneth D. Friedrich. The Music of Kenneth D. Friederich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex., 78640.; #KDF-10093. $34.50.

Fallen, a suite for brass trio and piano, is a six movement work for trumpet, horn (euphonium), tuba, and piano. This work adds another combination of instruments to the many works of Kenneth Friedrich. This new suite has six different movements that all have something to do with the word “fallen.” 

Movement 1, “Fallen Angel,” is a short movement with separate entrances from each player while the piano part blends them all together. Each part is independent of each other since they never play the same rhythm at the same time. Movement 2, “Fallen and Can’t Get Up,” is an upbeat and playful movement where the tuba part ties this one together. In the middle of this movement, there is a fugue-like section that is followed by the return of the playful section. Movement 3, “Fallen on Hard Times,” is a trumpet solo with piano. There are no style suggestions or markings on the solo part and the tempo is adagio. I assume that the solo part should be lyrical vs. the way it looks on the page? There also appears to be a fairly long cadenza within this movement, but it is marked a tempo vs. cadenza. If this is correct, then there will be some difficult multiple tongued passages. Movement 4, “Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole,” features tuba with piano. The previous movements had a medium tuba range (FF to g) and could be played on either the bass or contrabass tuba. Movement 4 will probably work best on a bass tuba since it has a more demanding upper range, (FF to d1), with larger skips, and has long held out passages with c1 and d1. There are a few places that look trickier than they really are and this is due to some awkward groupings of the notes per beat. Movement 5, Fallen in Love, is a horn (euphonium) solo with piano. Like movement 3, this one seems to be missing phrase or style markings to match the lyricism that I think is intended by the title. There is also a very articulated cadenza-like section that, unless it is slurred, will have some difficult articulated passages. Movement 6, “Fallen, but Not Forgotten,” brings the trio back together with a fanfare opening. This movement is full of dynamics and clear markings of style; however, there are some confusing rhythm groupings that make a few measures tricky to read.

I would have liked to read through this work while on tour with SymbiosisDuo, a brass trio with trumpet, euphonium, tuba and piano, but my copy of this workdid not come with a euphonium part. I tried to listen to a recording sample of this work on, but did not succeed. On paper, this looks like a fun work for advanced high school or young college musicians. The ranges are B-flat trumpet a-sharp to c3, euphonium F to b-flat1, and tuba FF to d1. My biggest concern is in the music layout of this work. I would suggest that there be more staves per page on the score to reduce the amount of pages and page turns, add cues in the parts for the longer piano interludes, add courtesy accidentals, and reduce the flats mixed in with sharps per measure since this makes skips look larger or smaller than they really are.

~Gail Robertson, SymbiosisDuo, Willson Euphonium Artist, The University of Central Florida

Sunday Drive for English horn, tuba, and piano by Kenneth Friedrich. The Music of Kenneth D. Friederich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, Tex., 78640.; $15.

Kenneth Friedrich has composed a wide variety of music that is either self-published or available from Cimarron Music. Trish Weaver commissioned this work, which uses the unique instrumentation of English horn, tuba, and piano. Friedrich notes on his website that this piece was “commissioned by a tuba player while renewing her love for the instrument.” He has assigned this piece a grade 2 rating. The ranges of the parts are English horn b-flat to b-flat2 and tuba AA-flat to g.

The English horn and tuba interact with each other in various ways throughout this piece. Sometimes the English horn plays the melody while the tuba acts as accompaniment. At other times the piano provides accompaniment while the English horn and tuba perform independent melodic parts. The final interaction variation between the English horn and tuba can be found in the few sections where the two parts are unison with or without piano accompaniment. Occasionally the English horn and tuba are given solo parts with or without piano accompaniment.

As the title might suggest, this piece is marked at a relatively slow tempo. The melodies found in Sunday Drive are lyrical and at times quite catchy. The tuba part mainly lies in comfortable range for most tubists with minimal wide leaps. There are moments when the tuba part and piano part overlap that may cause clarity issues during a performance.

Overall, this piece provides an interesting addition to mixed chamber ensemble literature featuring the tuba. The tuba and piano parts are both accessible for a wide range of performers. The English horn part does lie somewhat high and may be challenging for less experienced performers. Sunday Drive is appropriate for university level students and professional performers alike to add variety to any recital.
~Dr. Daniel Brown

ITEA Journal, Vol 39, No. 1, Fall 2011

Landscapes for flute and euphonium by Kenneth D. Friedrich.  Music of Kenneth Friedrich. 2308 Wickersham, Suite 1804, Austin, TX 78741. (512) 623-0484;  KDF 10130.  $18.50.
A Landscape, a new duet for flute and euphonium by Kenneth D. Friedrich, is a wonderful addition to the low brass duet repertoire.  Everyone should be familiar with Kenneth Friedrich since he has composed numerous works for tuba and euphonium.  We are thankful that he continues to add so much to the low brass repertoire and I was delighted to see a flute and euphonium duo combination to enable us to perform with our flute playing friends. 

This work has four contrasting movements with equal roles for each instrument. 

Movement 1, "Snow Glow," starts with the flute introducing us to a beautiful melody that is later followed by the euphonium with its own unique melody.  Although there are no articulations or style suggestions, the tempo suggests that it should be treated in a lyrical style.  (The euphonium part does not have a tempo marking on this movement or the third movement.) The conversation between the flute and euphonium is interesting and the melodic lines are so personable that I literally sang it repeatedly in my head after I was done playing it!  I especially like the unison line that leads up to the end of this movement.  (You can listen to this movement at

Movement 2, "At the Beach," is a fast playful movement.  Its melody is fun and catchy, but not overdone.  The roles continue to swap between the flute and euphonium and the style and articulations are clearly marked throughout.

Movement 3, "Scent of the Sierras," is marked Adagio.  New melodic lines continue to intertwine in this movement.  The euphonium's role creates an interesting accompaniment to the flute's melodic line.  Later in the movement, the flute embellishes the accompaniment and the euphonium assumes the melody.

Movement 4, "Desert Sunset," is in 9/8 with a Moderato tempo.  This movement is the most difficult for the duo.  Both parts share a difficult, but fun, accompaniment role which seldom gives the players anywhere to breathe.  The intervals are large and the ranges high (especially in the euphonium), posing a good challenge for both players.  The difficulty in this final movement is exciting.

The music layout and paper quality are fine.  A score and both parts are provided.  I prefer to read from the score so I can see what the other person is doing, but this would not be practical for page turns.  The music layout is great for the individual parts because it is set up so you can lay the music out flat and turn pages over between movements.  Since the work is for euphonium, I always suggest that there be a B-flat Treble Clef part as well as the Bass Clef part.  Even though the measures are numbered at the start of each line, I would also recommend that rehearsal numbers or letters be added for rehearsal purposes.  The euphonium range is E-flat to c2.
~Gail Robertson, SymbiosisDuo, Willson Euphonium Artist, DMA Student, Michigan State University.

Ten Tuba Duets for Teens by Kenneth Friedrich. The Music of Kenneth D. Friedrich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, TX., 78640. 2011. $14.50.
As anyone who has taught middle school can tell you, one of the most important aspects in developing young musicians is getting them involved in chamber music. And yet there is a dearth of adequate material for the beginning and intermediate musician. Kenneth Friedrich has produced a very nice little collection of duets for tuba that helps to address this essential element of musical development. This set provides a nice variety of stylistic approaches and all are very appropriate for the age level. Mr. Friedrich mixes tempi and even includes a scherzo movement and one that asks for swinging eighth notes. They are all in keys with which the middle school player should feel comfortable – F, Bb, Eb and Ab major. The technical and rhythmic considerations are reasonable and the range lies mostly in the staff, with some writing below the staff. The range for both parts is GG to a, though the extremes of this range are rare. The 1st part is usually written above the 2nd part with limited voice crossing. A nice feature of the writing is that there is melodic interest and importance in both parts. The music is easy to read and well-marked with dynamics, articulations and repeats.

This is a very attractive and welcome addition to the chamber repertoire for middle school tubists and will be useful in lessons or even for ensemble contest.
~Roy Couch, Cameron University

Thirty MELLOWdious Studies (Bass Clef Edition) by Kenneth Friedrich. The Music of Kenneth D. Friedrich. 386 Stennis, Kyle, TX., $20.
Since 1980, Kenneth Friedrich has been a very active composer for low brass. Be it solo or most any combination, he has written for it or is ready to rise to the challenge. The popularity of his works is growing in leaps and bounds as Dr. Friedrich matures and “finds his voice” to speak through low brass.

This etude book is designed for and within the range of the euphonium, trombone, bass trombone, and bassoon. In addressing a request for etudes with “more melody,” Dr. Friedrich states: “ I hope this request was fulfilled in this multi-styled, multi-leveled collection of studies. Since I intend this set to be accessible to every player, I set the range to the ‘cash register’ of the instrument to allow more focus on line.”

It is quite a feat that this set of etudes does cover such a huge range of style and melodic/rhythmic diversity all while staying in a two octave comfort zone: F-f1. As a bonus, this range lends itself to playing down one octave on CC tuba or playing as written on f tuba. All but five of these studies safely stay “on the flat side” of the keys, and in human terms let me state that a beginning student might get through one study a week, a high school or college level student could do a few, and a professional would find pleasure in reading a few each day for a fun warm-up. They do keep you on your toes rhythmically. Many of the “mellow”dies take unexpected twists and turns; they are not Kopprasch or Rochut style but rather Friedrich style, which I would compare to a Frackenpohl or Uber vein.

Teachers and students of all levels can/will benefit greatly from studying this delightful new etude book as well as the other offerings of Dr. Kenneth Friedrich.
~Phillip C. Black, Wichita State University, Wichita Symphony

ITEA Journal, Spring 2012

Six Miniatures by Ken Friedrich for tuba ensemble. Cimarron Music Press, 15 Corrina Lane, Salem, CT 06420. 860-536-2185. Fax: 888-235-1772. 2009. $20.
Ken Friedrich’s Six Miniatures was originally composed for brass quintet and later arranged by the composer for an ensemble of three euphoniums and two tubas. The six movements of this work vary in length between forty-five seconds and three minutes for a total of about ten minutes. Each movement has a different groove or character ranging from calm and contemplative (movement V) to lively and energetic (movement III). Six Miniatures is of intermediate difficulty and could most likely be played by most college-level tuba-euphonium ensembles with the members to cover all five parts.

The euphonium parts are written in both bass and treble clef. There are no page turns during movements of the piece and each part, as well as the score, is very clear and legible. Take note that the Euphonium II part has the highest note (b flat1) of the euphonium parts, but Euphonium I stays higher for a longer period of time. The range for the parts is as follows Euphonium I: d – a1, Euphonium II: G – b1, Euphonium III: F – e1, Tuba I: B-flat – g, Tuba II: FF – a-flat. A recording of Six Miniatures for brass quintet may be heard here: 
--Jeremy Lewis, West Texas A&M University