Saturday, August 12, 2017

Alborada del Gracioso

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.

 Beginning at 9, the bassoon has four short unaccompanied solos joined by shorter and shorter impressionistic interludes by the strings and percussion.

Prior to the first solo there is a massive orchestral chord. Wait a beat or two before starting to let the air clear!

All 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 ( ♩=).

No comments:

Post a Comment