Saturday, December 17, 2011

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,

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