Saturday, December 17, 2011

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Practice Guide for Bizet’s Minuet

This is the North Carolina Honor Band 2011-2012 Grade 9-10 flute audition piece.

Before attempting the piece, I suggest you practice:
E-flat scale, arpeggio, and thirds.
B-flat arpeggio
Descending chromatic scale (to help with m 38 and m 700.
A-flat Major scale, arpeggio, and thirds (to help with m 43-54).

I also suggest you become familiar with the score, which has a steady accompanying rhythm. It will help you get a feel for the piece as a whole before you begin your work. Listen to these two performances by two of the most famous flutists of all time:

This piece is from Bizet’s orchestral ballet music, “L’Arlesienne.” Harp is the predominant accompaniment in the opening measures. This is a performance of the piece in the orchestra version: http://youtu.be/k7YfUCAaFEE?t=5m15s

Though this piece is quite long, there is a limited amount of material to learn. Practicing it in sections is efficient. This is how the piece is constructed:
Section A: m 3-10
Section A1: 11-18
Section B: m 19-30
Section B1: m 31-42
Section C: m 43-46
Section C1: m 47-54
(m 55-74 is a return of m 11-42)
Coda: M 75 to end. This is a repeat of A1. The last 3 measures is an augmented (rhythmically slowed down) version of m 6, but in the key of the piece--E-flat.
Tips to improve your performance:
• Play with a connected legato style and good phrase direction.
• Play in a dolce (sweet) style.
• Release the last notes of the ascending arpeggi in m 4, 6, 12, 14, 56, 58, 76 and 78 gently with a sweet tone—not what these notes want to do!
• Avoid thinking in 8th notes. It will create choppy sounding phrases. Instead think of each beat as four 16th notes that create direction in the phrase.
• Fit your breaths within the rhythm of the note or rest in front of the breath. (Moyse’s version does this so well…)
• Be sure your quarter note pulse matches as the rhythms change in m 17-27.
• Careful that grace notes do not affect the rhythm of the notes after the grace notes.
Observe the dynamics:
• Play ff in m 43-54. In the original version, this section is played by full orchestra. Try to sound like the whole orchestra with a full and rich tone!
• Observe the pp dynamics in m 9 and m 75.
• Enhance your phrases with good crescendi in m 25, m 35-36, m 39-41, m 65, m 68-69,
• m 71-72.
• Make a big crescendo in m 33 and m 65 to prepare for the big ascending interval at the beginning of m 34 and m 66.

All the best,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bizet Minuet: Rampal!

Bizet Minuet: Marcel Moyse


Practice Guide for Keith Snell's Rondo Capriccio

This piece is the 2011-2012 North Carolina Middle School Honor Band flute audition piece.

Let's get started!

First, it is helpful to know what the title Rondo Capriccio means…

A capriccio is an instrumental piece in a lively tempo and brilliant style. Oh no—it’s going to be fast!;-)

In rondo form, a main theme (I’ll call it “A”) alternates with one or more contrasting themes. The number of themes can vary in a rondo and the recurring sections are often changed or shortened.

Rondo form of Keith Snell Rondo Capriccio:
A becomes Coda

So now you can relax a little-- the “A” music repeats a lot, so there is less music to learn!

Before trying to play the piece all the way through, I suggest practicing all the “A” materials, carefully comparing them for differences. Then practice “B/B1,” “C,” “D,” and the Coda.

The “A”, or returning section:
• Pickup to m 9- m 14
• Pickups to 33-m 40 --ends with a variation of the first statement, so we’ll call it “A1”
• Pickup to m 57- m 72
• Pickups to 105-112
“B” section : m 25-32
“B1” section: m 113-128 slight variation of the music in section “B”
“C” section m 49-56
“D” m 88-104
Coda: Pickup to m 129 begins as “A”, but then extends using the pattern from the “B” section.

Tips to improve your performance:

In the tempo of the piece, count out several measures in the piece in your mind and begin on the “+ of2” so your entrance makes rhythmic sense.

Make clear staccato notes, but be sure to phrase the notes in four or two measure units.

Breathe before the pickups to each occurrence of the “A’ or “A1” sections. This will help the listener to hear the structure of the piece.

Perfect the f3-e and e-f3 fingerings to eliminate any “blips’ between the notes. Also be careful to observe the g#’s in m 94. 95, 102. (G# is fingered the same way as A-flat)

Play beautiful high E’s. Use the wet inside parts of your lips together with your tongue to create fast air to keep from pinching or shrieking the high E’s.

Work for lovely vibrato and connected notes in the “D” section.

Double check that your quarter note pulse matches between each section.

Be sure to practice the coda a lot. Don’t just keep practicing the “A” section that seems so familiar by now! Make a big crescendo to the end and finish with a full tone and vibrato.

Other dynamics to be especially observant of:
Crescendo to F in m 32, 57, and 128
Subito p in m 126

Good luck on your audition!