Review


Jim Self
HoopLA:
Brass quintet

Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Publisher: Potenza Music
Date of Publication: 2014
URL: http://www.potenzamusic.com

Score and parts

Genre: BRASS ENSEMBLES

If you’ve gone to the movies anytime in the last 40+ years, you’ve heard the beautiful sounds of Jim Self on tuba. Yet, studio playing is but one of the hats he wears. As a faculty member at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, Mr. Self dons not only his brass pedagogue hat, but also his composer hat as evidenced in this brass quintet treat. As the repertoire notes indicate, Mr. Self composed HoopLA for a USC student group, Valente Brass, who ultimately came up with the title of the work, as “it’s a lot of fun in Los Angeles.”

Upon reading the work with my colleagues here at the University of Arkansas, we immediately decided to program the work as a recital opener. Its primary theme is established in a Latin-based style that permeates most of the work. The whole of the piece is primarily in 6/4 meter, which allows the thematic material to dance around suggestions of 12/8 and 3/2. It is the rhythmic quality of the work that makes it stand out, as Mr. Self includes lots of hemiola, off-beat entrances, and syncopation. This is the strength of the work as well as its biggest challenge. Performers must listen with caution, count carefully, and establish a unified tempo to ensure proper performance. A strong undergraduate quintet should be able to perform the work with success, as the parts are not excessive concerning range. It should be noted, however, that the trumpet parts are for trumpets in C.

 

Reviewer: Cory Mixdorf
Review Published February 2, 2019