Monday, October 11, 2010

Britten Peter Grimes - Act 1

What is being tested - quiet dynamics, huge dynamic range, slow bow control, tuning, shifting, rhythm

Notes written on the part - I put reminders to myself to read in the audition just before I play. For this excerpt they are:-
think tempo, quaver = 66, thing thro quavers, triplets, semis, 5's, 6's
Extension - open (C) lower line, closed upper line

How to prepare
Tempo - my metronome does not go as slow as crochet = 33, so I have to used quaver = 66. It is a very slow tempo, easy to play to quick in a pressure environment in an audition. Think thro every quaver, especially in bars 12-14
Rhythm - there is a tendancy to rush the tempo with it being so slow. Keep that quaver = 66 in your head. Think thro the triplets, semis, 5's and 6's in your head, with a metrnome and without - dont rely on having the metrnonome at all times. The 5 in the last beat of bar 7 is different to the 6 in the similar last beat of 3 before 77, they are stretched out much more, dont fall over them and make the different audibly to the listener. The 5 is tricky, the 6 is easier, make sure you dont rush the 5.
Bow control - practice long slow bows, flautando, to help build control. The bow position on the string is crucial - for the pp and quieter passages I play as flautando as possible, over the fingerboard. The two crescendi in bars 5 and 11 need the bow pushing towards the bridge, more so the second.
Bow distribution is also a challenge, with uneven note lengths, for example the first two bars have down 2 beats, up 1 beat, down 2 beats, up 3.5 beats etc. Start the piece at 1/3 bow, and aim to be at the tip for the 2nd beat of bard 2. Let the gradually move to the tip for the last 1.5 beats of bar 4 so there is enough bow for the cresc into bar 5, but not too much as the next one is bigger in bar 11.
Colour - I do the quietest bars 6 and 12 senza vib, varied vibrato on the rest.

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