Tuba Tune in D – Craig Sellar Lang (1891-1971)
Craig Sellar Lang was a New Zealander by birth, from Napier, a port about two hundred miles north-east of Wellington in the North Island. His family emigrated to England, and he studied music at the Royal College of Music in London where he was a pupil of Stanford. He took up teaching as a profession, first at Clifton College in Bristol, where he had been a schoolboy, then at Christ’s Hospital school, in Horsham, West Sussex, to where the choristers of Westminster Abbey were briefly evacuated during the Second World War.
This Sunday’s organ postlude in church, Tuba Tune (Opus 15), is a favourite of recitalists, and Lang’s best-known work. It is designed for the high-pressure trumpet-like reed stop known as the Tuba, a rank which is often powerful enough to sound over the full organ. The piece begins in the style of Handel but, in its central section, has some brief key changes that belong distinctly to the 20th century. Lang’s joyful piece has established a firm place in the repertoire through its combination of dancing vitality and a sense of occasion.