Commissioned by Tim Wollenzien and the International Music Camp in memory of Harold Brasch.
I stumbled upon this picture on Facebook one day and I wondered what these things were, I looked them up and found the following entry on Wikipedia. I was commissioned to write a quartet for tubas coincidentally that same week! I wrote the piece wondering what it would sound like if Tubas were actually used as military weapons, and the piece starts much like the sounding of the Horn of Erebor in 'The Hobbit'; a foreboding and threatening sound. The piece quickly marches into battle with chromatic lines reminiscent of Holst's 'Mars.'
"The Japanese war tuba (known in Japanese as: 九〇式大空中聴音機, "Type 90 large air sound detector") is a colloquial name sometimes applied to this Imperial Japanese Army acoustic locator due to the visual resemblance to the musical tuba. The name derived from a misidentification, possibly in jest, of a historical pre-WWII (1930s) photograph featuring Japanese Emperor Hirohito (posthumous name Shōwa) inspecting a trio of acoustic locators with a backdrop of anti-aircraft cannons"