We're performing Ravel's Alborada del Gracioso this weekend. Originally composed as a piece for piano solo, Ravel himself orchestrated it. In doing so, he gave the four short solo lines about a third of the way through the piece to the bassoon.
Prior to the first solo there is a massive orchestral chord. Wait a beat or two before starting to let the air clear!
grace note groups in these solos should start with a light
articulation. Tongue single grace notes and the first of a group of
grace notes. Accented notes and notes with tenutos
under big slurs should also receive a light articulation. This will
help bring them out and give them the necessary tonal weight required by
the recitativo indication. Don't stop the air prior to articulation under the big slurs, simply give the note in question a gentle nudge!
Notice the rhythmic accelerandos in the first and last solos. These should be executed with some freedom. Play them a bit as if notated as an accelerando
on the SAME repeated note value ("basketball bouncing by itself on the
gym floor" effect). Don't let them sound like a musical math problem!
The middle two solos, being shorter and smaller in pitch compass, should be more mellow and understated than the outer two.
Notice the combination of "faster" (pressez)
and "softer" during the triplets in the fourth solo! These two
indications do not often go together -- louder/faster is more common.
Tempo for these solos should be slower than the interludes and can vary. Try them at roughly half the tempo of the interludes ( ♩=♪).