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    Orchestral Excerpts for the Clarinet

    a teaching guide


    Sean Osborn

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    Orchestral Excerpts for the Clarinet: a teaching guide


    Orchestral excerpts are among the most important things to teach the career-

    minded clarinet student because one of the most common way to make a living as a

    clarinettist today is by playing in an orchestra. In order to be hired, one must first posses

    the ability to play the instrument well, and the most common choice of music at an

    orchestral audition to demonstrate this is orchestral excerpts.

    When teaching orchestral excerpts to clarinet students it is important to teach

    from two distinct angles: how to play the excerpts in an orchestral rehearsal or

    performance, and how to play the excerpts at an audition. Often one will play them the

    same in both situations, but occasionally one must tailor one's performance to the


    In the summaries that follow I will attempt to point out ways to assist the student

    in performing the pieces from both a technical and musical standpoint, discuss the current

    performance practice of these pieces, and highlight trouble spots, common pitfalls, and

    passages of particular interest to an audition committee.

    I believe that the order in which one teaches the excerpts should be tailored to the

    individual situation and student, but for the purposes of this paper, I will assume that one

    is teaching an undergraduate freshman at a university whom one expects to have for the

    next four years. Freshman are unlikely to grasp the complete musical significance of

    Beethoven and Brahms right away. However, I recommend starting with the most

    common pieces to be performed in a quasi-chronological order. When the student is

    older and preparing for an audition, teachers will be re-visiting many of the pieces

    already studied. The student should then have the musical sophistication to understand

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    the music, and will already be fundamentally familiar with the pieces. While the excerpts

    are initially listed by commonalty with relation to their appearance on auditions, I

    recommend that for the long-term, one teaches the excerpts in the order in which they are


    Finally, listening to the pieces is of utmost importance to proper performance

    either in the orchestra or at an audition, and whenever possible orchestral parts should be

    used for study instead of excerpt books.

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    Most common first clarinet parts asked for auditions

    Key: t = technicaltt = technically difficultttt = technically very difficult

    m = musical (slower, phrasing more important)mm = musically difficult

    mmm = musically very difficult

    Class #1 - On virtually every audition

    Beethoven: Symphony #6 - mvmt. 1 (t, mmm), 2 (m) , 3 (tt)

    Beethoven: Symphony #8 - mvmt. 3 (mmm)Brahms: Symphony #3 - mvmt. 1 (mm), 2 (m)

    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream - Scherzo (tt)Rachmaninoff: Symphony #2 - mvmt. 2 (mm)

    Respighi: Pines of Rome - mvmt. 3 (mmm)

    Class #2 - On almost every audition

    Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suite #2 - ttt

    Beethoven: Symphony #4 - mvmt. 2 (mm) (less common - mvmt. 4 - tt)Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919) - Variation of the Firebird - ttt (less common the

    Infernal Dance - ttt+)Prokoviev: Peter and the Wolf - Cadenza (ttt)

    Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue - Opening Solo (t)Schubert: Symphony #8 (Unfinished) - mvmt. 2 (mm)

    Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol - mvmt. 1 (tt), 3 (tt), 4 (tt)Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6 - mvmt. 1 (m)

    Brahms: Symphony #4 - mvmt. 2 (m)Mendelssohn: Symphony #3 (Scotch) - mvmt. 3 (t)

    Sibelius: Symphony #1 - mvmt. 1 (m), 3 (tt)Kodaly: Dances of Galanta - page 1 (m, t) (less common - last page (t, mm))

    Class #3 - Common

    Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique - mvmt. 3 (mm) (less common - mvmt. 2 (t,m), 4 (m))Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel (tt)

    Strauss: Don Juan (m)Shostakovich: Symphony #9 - mvmt. 2 (mmm), 3 (ttt) (less common - mvmt. 1 - t)

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    Shostakovich: Symphony #1 - mvmt. 1 (t), 2 (t), 4 (ttt)Rossini: Semiramide Overture (t)

    Bartok: Miraculous Mandarin - first two calls (ttt) (less common - third call - ttt)Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 - mvmt. 1 (m) (less common - mvmt. 2 (m), 3 (t))

    Brahms: Symphony #1 - mvmt. 2 (m) (less common - mvmt. 3 (m))

    Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade - mvmt 2 (tt, mmm), 3 (tt), 4 (tt)(less common - mvmt.1 (t))

    Class #4 - Less Common, but should be known by all

    Borodin: Polovetsian Dances (tt)

    Tchaikovsky: Symphony #4 - mvmt. 3 (ttt)Rimsky-Korsakov: Coq d'Or Suite - mvmt. 1 (ttt)

    Beethoven: all symphonies (varies - mm to tt)Brahms: all symphonies (#2 = m,t)

    Dvorak: Symphony #9 - mvmt. 3 (mm)(less common - mvmt. 4 (m))Ginastera: Variations Concertantes for Orchestra - clarinet variation (ttt+)

    Rossini: Figaro's Aria from "The Barber of Seville" (tt)Shostakovich: Symphony #5 - mvmt. 1(m), 3(mm)

    Smetana: Bartered Bride Overture (tt in "c")Tchaikovsky: Franchesca da Rimini (m)

    Class #5 - Occasional, Important to know

    Stravinsky: L'Historie du Soldat, Petroushka (tt, m)Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra (t, m)

    Debussy: Nocturnes (tt)Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice (ttt)

    Mahler: Symphonies #6 (mm), 7 (tt/mm), and 1 (m)Mendelssohn: Fingal's Cave Overture (m), Symphony #4 (tt)

    Mozart: Symphony #39 (trio of mvmt. 3) (m)Moussorgsky: A Night on Bald Mountain (m)

    Puccini: Tosca - Act III tenor aria (mm)Rachimaninoff: Piano Concerto #2 (mm)

    Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole (mm,tt)Rossini: Barber of Seville Overture (t)

    Shostakovich: Symphony #10 (tt)Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite (t, m), Suite #4 "Mozartiana" (tt in "c")

    Verdi: La Forza del Destino Overture (m)Weber: Der Freischutz Overture (m)

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    Second Clarinet - in order of comminality

    Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream - Scherzo (tt)

    Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suite #2 (ttt)

    Tchaikovsky: Symphony #5 - mvmt. 1 (m)Ravel: Rhapsodie Espagnole (tt)Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra (t)

    Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique (t)Smetana: Moldau (t)

    Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919) (ttt)

    Eb Clarinet -in order of comminality

    Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel (ttt)

    Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique (tt)Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suite #2 (ttt)

    Ravel: Bolero (m)Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (m, t)

    Shostakovich: Symphony #5 (t)Shostakovich: Symphony #6 (ttt)

    Copeland: El Salon Mexico (t)Ravel: Piano Concerto in G (tt)

    Prokoviev: Symphony #5 (t)

    Bass Clarinet

    Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite (tt)Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suite #2 (ttt)

    Strauss: Don Quixote (t,m)Ravel: La Valse (m)

    Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel (tt)Wagner: Tristan and Isolde - Prelude and Liebestod (mm)

    William Schuman: Symphony #3 (ttt)Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (tt)

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    Mozart - Symphony No. 39 in Eb major K. 543

    This symphony is an excellent introduction to orchestral excerpts for many

    reasons: most clarinet students are already familiar with Mozart because of the concerto,

    it is neither technically nor musical difficult, and it is a common audition and

    performance piece - especially for orchestras made up of younger players. While only the

    trio of the menuetto is ever asked for at auditions, I recommend studying the entire piece

    because it is engaging, and it provides proper perspective on the solo. The eight bar

    phrase that comprises the clarinet solo in the trio is a simple question and answer. Play

    elegant and expressive skips (especially the C - Bb) while keeping the tempo. The

    phrasing should not be too complex: I recommend moving to the third bar of each four

    bar sub-phrase, then away. You may vary this to your taste to make it more interesting.


    All of Beethoven's symphonies are staples of the repertoire, appearing in concerts

    by professional as well as student groups. Many different ideas exist about interpretation

    in Beethoven. After studying Beethoven with many people (in particular, conductor

    Otto-Werner Mller), I am a strong believer in a few things. First, Beethoven's dynamic

    scheme consisted of only four levels:f, p, ff,andpp- mpand mfdo not exist in

    Beethoven symphonies! You should therefore divide the dynamic scale you can achieve

    on your instrument into four equal parts. This means there is a lot more dynamic range to

    a Beethovenpianoorforte, then to a Mahlerpianoorforte, and you can add considerable

    expression to each phrase without going outside of the marked dynamic. This also means

    that forte is exactly halfway between piano and fortissimo, and should be played

    accordingly, and not too strongly, unless of course the music (or conductor) demands it.

    This leads to: Second, Beethoven often writesfbefore the climax of a phrase is reached -

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    therefore you should not stop your crescendo just because you see the marking. Third,

    Beethoven sometimes abbreviatedsforzandowith sfand sometimes with onlyf. Some of

    the best examples of this can be seen in the second movement of the ninth symphony

    after letter "A" where you have afat the beginning of each of sixteen bars in a row.

    Familiarity with Beethoven's works will make it obvious whetherf indicates aforteor a

    sforzando. Lastly, Beethoven has provided us with metronome markings for all the

    pieces, and these are almost universally followed by all ensembles.

    Symphony No. 1 in C major Op. 21

    This symphony, and Beethoven's 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th symphonies almost

    always appear on auditions only when included in the requirement to prepare "all

    Beethoven Symphonies". The first symphony contains no solos of note for the clarinet.

    However, there are a few passages to study more closely. There is the short solo after E

    in the first movement - listen to how the grace note (which is usually played on the beat)

    has been played up until then and imitate it. Discussion with the conductor may change

    the way you play it. In the third movement Trio, second strain, the clarinet is at the top of

    the chord. Be sure to start strongly enough to allow for a suitabledecrescendo. In the

    last movement, insert slurs over two notes as needed to be able to play the articulated

    runs as fast as the strings. The best place for the slurs is on the 4th-5th notes of the run.

    Symphony No. 2 in D major Op. 36

    The second movement of this symphony contains quite a bit of exposed clarinet

    solos, including the primary statement of the theme. The trill should be done tastefully

    and with only 5 or 7 notes. The crescendoshould also be tasteful, and should near a f

    before the subitop. Keep in mind Beethoven's dynamic scheme and things will be

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    expressive without being blatant or gross. Intonation with the Bassoon is very important

    in this movement, and should be checked before the first rehearsal. Thesforzandos

    should be played as pressure accents rather than as stingers (as they often are in the faster

    movements). The other movements of this symphony have very little that is exposed or

    difficult for the clarinet.

    Symphony No. 3 in Eb major "Eroica" op. 55

    Beethoven balanced his orchestrations very well for the orchestras that played his

    music. Today it is common practice to play with a full string section, which is four times

    the size of Beethoven's, and not double the winds. This creates obvious balance

    problems, which are particularly troublesome in "Eroica". In this symphony, like the

    first, the clarinet has little of major importance. The solos are fleeting and not difficult,

    the first of which is at the beginning of the Allegro con brio. This solo is in octaves with

    the horn and flute, and is the second statement of the main theme. There is much to play

    as part of a woodwind trio or quartet in this piece, and sometimes the clarinet line may be

    easily lost in the texture due to register. Do your best to avoid this. A good example is

    mvmt. 1 measures 57-61. One tricky spot to be ready for is when the whole orchestra

    drops out in mvmt. 2, measure 47 leaving you alone for two beats. Another spot of near-

    aloneness is the beginning of the coda of the scherzo. In the last movement, after letter

    C, you will have to play this passage as loudly as possible - it is basically the clarinets

    against the rest of the orchestra. The accompaniment figure in measures 367-74 should

    be played slightly separated and bouncy - you are the only one playing this figure. Later,

    the second clarinet has a similar solo.

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    Symphony No. 4 in Bb major Op. 60

    The fourth symphony of Beethoven has many long exposed passages for the

    clarinet and the second movement solos occur on nearly every audition. The first

    movement finds solos at letter C and after H that are thematically the same. Follow the

    general line of the phrase up and down dynamically, and avoid having the downward 7th

    in the fourth bar of the recap. solo wreck this line. Play the legato lines as legato as

    possible and the short notes very short. This seems self-evident, but this movement is an

    exercise in contrasting note lengths and playing extremes here is better.

    The second movement's first solo is really a duet in octaves with the flute

    beginning in measure 10. The meandering line of the phrase is continuous for the next

    seven bars, and if one weren't playing a clarinet, one wouldn't breath at all. Try to mask

    your breaths, and play the seven measures as if they were one phrase (as they are). I

    recommend breathing after the bottom E in bar 12, and again two bars later after the long

    G. If you need another breath, take it after the E in the next bar. Discuss breathing and

    phrasing with the flute player prior to the first rehearsal if possible. You may stagger your

    breaths or phrase them together - neither is more correct. Letter B is a true solo, over the

    top of pizzicato strings. The phrasing is more or less the same as letter F, which is the

    main audition passage (because it is higher and therefore more difficult), so I will discuss

    only letter F.

    Start the solo at letter F very softly, even though it is only p, because you will be

    heard no matter how softly you play over the strings, and you will then be able to make

    more expressive crescendos. Cantabileis the key word for this passage. Drive toward

    the Bb in measure 2, make it expressive (possibly with a subtle ) come away dolceon

    the sixteenth notes and fade out on the down beat. Do not play the C overly long! If the

    conductor is sensitive, you will be able to add a little retinuto for the sixteenth notes. If

    you would like to do the same rubato in an audition, you risk the possibility of the

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    committee thinking the rest that follows is either too long or too short. If you don't do the

    rubato, you run the risk of sounding boring. Often, second-guessing a committee is a

    lose-lose situation: do what you want. Slur into the C in measure 3, and play the Db with

    the two side keys. The strings have a regular rhythm at this point, so no more rubato is

    allowed, and you must NOT be late on your entrances. In an audition, the whole

    committee will be subdividing in their heads to see if you can count rests - so be precise.

    Take a small breath or none at all before the next passage, so as to disturb your body as

    little as possible. This helps you to maintain the placement of high notes in your mouth,

    mind, lips etc., and eases the entrance of the D. Try to enter on the D both softly and

    solidly - this note is the whole reason for this exerpt to even be on an audition. Play the

    motive expressively - this is also important to show the committee that you are not scared

    by the passage, but are comfortable with it. Take a huge breath and play the next motive

    in answer to the previous, but land on the A very softly to make the crescendo. The C

    can be stretched and G shortened ever so slightly, but do NOT be late to the A. I

    recommend a small dim.and tenutoon the C with a little dip in the phrase going to the G.

    This creates a loop effect in the phrasing of the motive. All of this intricacy on two notes

    contrasts nicely with a slow, steady crescendoon the A. During the crescendo, think not

    of getting louder, but of getting nearer or bigger to about the level of a Beethovenf. This

    will help you keep your tone even as you change dynamics. The subito piano comes on

    the downbeat of the next measure, not on the G. This subito may be used to create

    another "loop" phrasing to turn the musical direction around. If you absolutely must, take

    a quick breath after the F. Play a real 32nd-note at the end of this measure ,neither a

    sixteenth nor a 64th.Diminuendoto the 32nd-note C and play as softly as you can. This

    crescendoshould be quite large. You are joined gradually by the rest of the orchestra

    during this note, so be sure you are still heard as the primary voice as they enter. You

    may breathe after the downbeat of the next measure. Play graceful and legato triplets.

    After leading to the Bb from the A play a slight dim.at the very end of the measure

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    leading to thepmarked on the F in the next measure. Play a full (but not longer) 8th note

    and release. Adhere to Beethoven's tempo and do not to play too slowly at an audition.

    Letter E is a reprise of the opening duet, with a variation. Be precise with your

    rhythm on the triplets, and make thesf as pressure accents. G is another reprise

    followed by arpeggios traveling through the orchestra. Follow the line of notes

    dynamically and pretend to play the first note of the flute's (after your last note) - this will

    help you to hand off your line well.

    The Scherzo presents little solos with no problems. The last movement, on the

    other hand, has some quite difficult passages. At letter A, the alberti accompaniment solo

    must be played loudly enough to be clearly heard, and staccato. The sixteenth note solo

    is an excellent reason to learn to double tongue. While not marked with a dynamic, a

    Beethovenpis appropriate. In an audition, you may play the passage as slow as 152 to

    the quarter-note, if you can tongue it all. Otherwise, add a slur or two (or three or four)

    for two notes and play it at 160. The first place to add a slur is from the C before the

    grace note to the D after it. This slur is extremely well masked by the grace note. The

    next place to add is preferable at the end of the passage, going from D to C in the final

    measure. It is likely that you will be able to start at tempo and tire as the passage

    progresses, so adding slurs at the end is preferable. Doing this enables you to remove

    them at the last instant in performance if you don't need them. Other good spots are from

    the C to the B at the beginning of the second measure, and from the top A to G in the

    third measure. Be sure to play theppas a subito, and theffas well. In auditions, the

    excerpt usually ends after the first note of theff.

    Symphony No. 5 in c minor Op. 67

    This most well known of Beethoven's symphonies has a few nice clarinet parts,

    but finds its way to auditions rarely. The first clarinet solo is at measure 67 in mvmt. 1.

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    Do not drag or be late. The cadence is on the D in measure 70, so a nice little cresc.

    leading to it is appropriate, as well as a little dim. away from it. In measure 130, the two

    clarinets are alone for this motive, and should be in perfect time. The entrance is easy to

    be late on, and it's often hard to play the right dynamic, articulation and intonation here.

    Do not try to play overly soft unless asked to, and it will be easier.

    The second movement finds the bassoon and clarinet in often in octaves for many

    little solos once more. The solo 7 measures before A is thematically important. Play the

    32nd-note metrically correctly, and do not play the two Bbs as a unit - between them is

    where the phrase breaks a little, the second note leading towards the quarter note. The

    same applies to the motive whenever presented again in this piece. The solo after A is a

    great place to show how many different colors you can make on one note. Start with a

    healthyf. You may choose to start the note with only air and no tongue to avoid a hard

    attack, but do not ease into it or be late. As you approachpiano, you can take all color

    out of your tone, and gradually add it back over the next three bars - this allows you to be

    expressive without crescendoing. The real cresc.starts as you move into the F#. Play

    legato intervals and drive to the suspended downbeat of measure 55. Break slightly after

    the G and re-attack the F. If you absolutely need a breath, it can be taken here. The rest

    of the woodwinds join you at thef. Be sure to make a nice subito surprise at the end of

    the phrase on the D. At measure 107 try to match the articulation the bassoon does,

    unless you have strong feelings about the way it should go (conductors usually do about

    this passage). If you do, discuss it with the bassoonist ahead of time. A variety of

    lengths can be used here, and all have their merits. During the solo/sectional passages

    after the fermata it is important to not play to vertically - make space after the eighth-

    notes, but do not let it destroy the line. In measure 166, you and the bassoon have to play

    short notes in a long line without rushing or dragging - this is difficult but important to

    do. Play the eighth and quarter-notes very long - almost out of time, and the short notes

    very short. Think the meter in a slow one, and you will keep the proper line in your

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    phrasing. Play measures 177-79 very legato, even when you re-articulate the B in 178.

    185 is another balance problem, and you must play as loudly as possible. The coda solo

    in beginning in 229 should be playedppand very dolce- you will be heard. A little loop

    and dim.on the last dotted 16th/32nd up to the high Bb is quite nice to do, and it sets you

    up to make a huge crescover the next 9 measures.

    It is good to have the beginning of the scherzo memorized so that you may watch

    the conductor and play the solo with him. This is a hard spot for them, and they will be

    quite upset if they don't see your eyes and/or you are not together with them. The short

    As that you play at the end of the movement should be as short and soft as possible. Play

    them a little louder if you have to, rather than longer. It's OK to sound pecky here -

    you're imitating a very shortpizzicato. The only thing of importance in the last

    movement is the reprise of the scherzo where the clarinets play a duet. Be bold, and don't

    shy away from the dissonance. Imitate the phrasing this passage had in the scherzo when

    played by thef horns.

    Symphony No. 6 in F major Op. 68

    This is the most popular piece to have on any clarinet audition and presents new

    challenges to every clarinettist each time they refine their ability and standards. In the

    first movement, you have a few little solos before the main audition one. Despite not

    being the melody, some conductors will insist that you play loudly in the 8 bars leading

    up to B. If you can get away with it, defer to the 'cello melody in this passage. Four bars

    before D should be played sprightly. Legato slurred notes, short staccatos, a general

    for the two bar motive, and a slight accent on the D all help this passage come alive. Take

    a cue from the oboe for phrasing, as they play similar thing many times in this piece

    before you do. During the solo that begins in measure 426, it is good to play dolcefor

    most of the time. A wonderful exception is to make the skip of a 6th and the three notes

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    that follow it in measure 429 espressivowith a little swell upwards through the triplet and

    more legato notes. You may even be able to stretch them slightly, because you can steal

    time from the longer G. Hand off to the oboe well at the end of this passage.

    The solo that starts at letter K is on almost every audition, and sometimes they

    want you to play the two measures before K to set the tempo - I prefer this. The

    embellished stepwise sequence up (B, C, D) should be followed dynamically, without

    destroying the subitof. Play each motive with identical nuance, and be absolutely precise

    about the placement of the sixteenth-notes. It is a common error to play them too quickly

    an the eighth too long. You may lead into thef with the last two notes before it. The

    whole orchestra plays the next arpeggio with you every time, and in performance, you

    may drop out here to catch a breath if you need to. Play all the triplets fairly short and

    bouncy. Show the phrase in measures 480-2, by making the second note of each measure

    a new beginning leading towards the next measure. The next few measures should be

    played the same way, but are easier because they aref. Play each repetition more

    strongly than the last, and reach your climax in measure 488, where you immediately

    start a dim. The main thing the committee listens for in this passage (aside from absolute

    precision) is a real dimto a realppwithout getting slower or playing longer notes. This

    is difficult and requires much practice, but is worth the effort. Little accents on the low B

    each time can help. In performance conductors may slow down or even do this whole

    passage in a slower tempo. You cannot anticipate this preference at an audition and I

    recommend playing it at the written tempo of 126.

    The solo at the end of the second movement is even more common on auditions

    then the first movement solo. The solo in bar 7 is in octaves with the bassoon, and the

    phrasing is similar to the last solo. The one difference of note is thefpin bar 12:

    crescendoup to thefand play a very suddenpwithout sounding harsh. The solo at letter

    D is often heard on auditions with the bar before D, so that you may more directly

    indicate your tempo to the committee. Make a nice swell in this bar - up and back, with

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    the Bb as the high point. This solo is heard primarily to catch you not counting your rests

    in the proper tempo. Subdivision is extremelyimportant. In a way, listening for that

    makes no sense, because in performance, with the conductor beating and the strings

    playing running sixteenth-notes, it is very hard to play too early or late. Each of the three

    entrances bordered by rests should be done with a little swell surrounding the appogatura

    eighth-note. Try to keep the line through the rests if you can. Do not hold the quarter

    note overly long - fade it out exactly in time (this helps you stay accurate during the

    rests). The grace notes can be played a few ways, but I recommend against articulating

    them. I prefer to play the last two sixteenth-notes preceding them and the three grace-

    notes as a unit of 5 notes. I also play this unit slightly across the bar line, so that I am a

    little late to the down beat. This is OK, because you can make up the time on the long

    notes, and as long as you end in time, you will not destroy the line. Playing them this way

    gives you a little more time to play them gracefully. If you prefer, you may play all 5

    more quickly and reach the eighth-note F on time. The pick ups to measure 73 are the last

    in the sequence of four entrances, and the harmony finally moves to a cadence. Help

    show this by a nice blossoming crescendoto the C. Come down dynamically on the

    arpeggio, and play the following phrase (which is an embellishment of what you've just

    played) similarly, ending at a nicepiano. The grace notes should be played at the

    approximate speed of triplet sixteenth-notes (comprising the length of an eighth-note in

    total), a little faster is OK, but not too fast or they are ungraceful. Take a huge breath

    before the grace-note in bar 74 (it's the last you may have in the excerpt), play the grace-

    note barely shorter than a sixteenth-note, and start this allpiano. Cresc.through the next

    bar to the subito in the bar after. During this bar of 24 sixteenth-notes, a little

    nuance/rubato can be done during the half-step from B to Bb. Try to show the

    relationship over the bar of C to B to Bb to A at the top of the arpeggios. It is common to

    slow down at the end of the last arpeggio, but by no means is it necessary. Reach the

    lower end of a Beethovenfby the end, and play a nicepianoin the next bar. You may be

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    more contrasting at an audition, because you are not trying to cut through a thick

    orchestration. Watch out for rushing in this bar, as the articulation makes you want to

    move ahead. At the subito, a little phrasing to follow the line is nice, or to go contrary is

    nice. If you can play a nicepphigh D, do the contrasting. Hesitating after the D slightly

    is a nice effect. The eighth-notes should be shortish, but not pecky (but not mooshy

    either), with lots of space between them. If you need a breath here, take one after the

    lower D, and play the spaces between the notes large enough, so that your breath space is

    no larger. You may slow down and slightly lengthen on the last two notes a little to set

    up the trill. I like to begin long trills like this slowly and accelerate the trill. Others like

    to play them all fast. Be true to yourself, because you will be bound to offend someone

    on the committee no matter what you do (and I believe this is a good approach to all such

    decisions regarding an audition - don't try to second-guess a committee unless you are

    certain that the conductor is there and insists on hearing a particular passage a particular

    way.) However you play the trill, crescendo through it and stay heard over the thickening

    orchestra. Pretend to play the resolution, but do not, and you will phrase the end

    properly. The rest of the movement is not heard at auditions, but the Coo-coo bird

    motive in bar 131 should be played very short and pecky, and in perfect time with the


    The third movement is rarely heard at auditions. The solo starts with three notes

    out of the blue answering the oboe in measure 114. Play dolceand with a dimup to and

    through the D. Measure 122 is played in the same vein, but starting with the second beat

    of bar 123, you are in a new statement of the theme. There is no time to make a break

    with tempo, so you must set this new phrase apart from the previous one with dynamics.

    Play the four notes previous to thisp, and abruptly start the new phrase (on the D) with a

    healthy mp. Accent the tied notes over the next three barlines for a nice swing -

    remember, this is peasant music. Climb dynamically to the long note, but still save a lot

    for the monster crescthat follows. Drive all the way to the bottom, and then play a big

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    subito p. The G must be soft, but loud enough to be heard - especially at an audition. If

    you are playing in a boomy hall during you audition, you will not have the usual

    acoustical padding of an audience and may have to tailor your performances a bit to suit.

    Thissubito pis a good case. You may have to play it louder to be heard in a boomy hall

    that is still reverberating from your crescendotoff. Play the tempo indicated if you can

    articulate all the notes, or maybe as slow as 100. Otherwise, add a slur somewhere - I

    recommend form the A to the F# in bar 132. The solo at letter B is never on auditions.

    Play it in a nice meandering, peasant dolce- you've heard this theme a number of times at

    this point - play it in a similar fashion. Accent the tied Gs a bit to show the syncopation.

    The last two movements are also never on auditions. The short pleading solo of

    mvmt. 4 is a chance to put as much expression as you can into only three notes. I like to

    play the second set of three bothpiu ppandpiu espressivo- this avoids a cheesy echo

    effect. You may play the second entrance more strongly if you like. The clarinet opens

    the fifth movement (after the storm). Play simply. Drive to the bar line at the beginning

    of bar four and back away from it. You may be able to push and pull the tempo ever so

    slightly along with the dynamic - I think this helps the phrasing.

    Symphony No. 7 in A major Op. 92

    This symphony again has little of importance for the clarinet. The rhythmic cell

    of the first movement (dotted-eighth, sixteenth, eighth) is important to learn correctly.

    Practice playing the passages without the sixteenth-note first, and get the eighth-note in

    its proper metrical place. Then add the sixteenth-note without changing the placement of

    the eighth. It is common to play the sixteenth and eighth too early, ending up with a

    duple-like rhythm instead. Be sure to play the difference when the dotted-eighth-note is

    changed to an eighth-note with a sixteenth-note rest.

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    The second movement has nice solo after letter D 16 bars. This is another balance

    problem spot. Try to play a Beethovenpwhile still being heard soaring over top of the

    orchestra. The staccato markings on the triplets should not be taken too seriously - play

    separate but not short. The woodwinds join you on the long G, so take any breath you

    need after one of these and hide it in the orchestration. 11 measures before the double bar

    is a solo again. Come out of the texture at a nice Beethovenf, and dim.in one bar to the

    pwhere you continue your dim.up to the E. Change direction on the E and begin a new

    cresc.rapidly to the next long G at a nice Beethovenf. This helps all the new instruments

    entering sound a little less sudden. Keep growing through the end of your line, and

    pretend to play the note on the down beat of 4 before the double bar. Throughout this

    movement, there is the motive quarter, eighth, eighth. The strings play the theme and two

    variations of it before you get to. Listen to their stroke and try to imitate it. You will

    have to play it exposed at the end.

    The only thing difficult about the scherzo is playing the rhythm in the trio. Be

    precise with the eighth-note, and you should have no trouble. There is nothing of note in

    the last movement, but study it anyway because you will play this piece often.

    Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93

    On nearly every audition, the eighth symphony is smaller in scope than any other

    symphony since the second and is full of important clarinet material. The first movement

    is either in a fast three or a slow one - often both, depending upon the music. The first

    solo is in the fifth bar of the piece, and is the "answer" phrase to the phrase of the first

    four bars. The high point of the phrase is the A half-note, and its stressing should be

    followed by a slight dim.Do not clip the D in measure 7, as you think might be

    stylistically correct In most cases like this, we are taught to play the last note of a two

    note slur clipped, but the common performance practice these days is to play these

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    figures longer in this piece only. I'm not sure why that is, but it is very important to

    remember, especially in the Trio when taking auditions. The next big first movement

    solo comes 8 bars after letter D. It is the opening phrases again, but this time all in the

    clarinet solo. Again, don't clip the end of the two-note slur. Of course if you have not

    been told one way or the other, it is always safe to imitate what you have heard the rest of

    the orchestra do up to that point.

    In measure 244 begins another small solo, in answer to the previous tutti version.

    Begin at a healthyplevel with a slight pressing accent on the syncopation tie. After the

    A in 246, a tiny break and a small stress on the D is nice to illustrate the skewed rhythm

    of the passage. The next two bars contain suspensions and the resolving notes (C# and B

    respectively) should not be rushed through and perhaps even stretched a little to give the

    listener a chance to hear the resolution before moving on to the subsequent figuration.

    The second of these two bars, the one with the ritard.in it, should be felt in 3 and played

    with a slight echo in dynamics as well.

    The big solo of this movement is 4 measures after letter G. In a flatter key, it is

    again the primary motive. Do not try to playpp, and be smooth with all of your

    connections. Make sure the articulation in bar 307 between the two Ds is heard. Putting a

    slight accent on the second D and following it with a small crescendoupwards is good.

    Doing the same in the next two bars helps the modulation along.

    The second movement is never asked on auditions, but is difficult to play

    correctly. This movement is Beethoven's homage to the metronome, and the soft, short,

    light notes in the woodwinds, aside from being very difficult to play soft, short, light, and

    together, are meant to represent a metronome. Play them as steadily as you can. If you

    have to make a choice, play shorter rather than softer. If you take smaller breaths and

    don't have as much pressure behind each note, they may come out easier. Remember to

    stop each note with your tongue for maximum shortness.

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    The third movement is a return to the conservative Menuetto that Beethoven

    began rejecting with his second symphony, and the trio is a huge clarinet solo that is on

    virtually every audition. It is often on the first round of auditions because it illustrates

    many things about a players ability all at once. It demonstrates intonation in every

    register, rhythm, nuance, legato and above all: control. In spite of the staccato markings,

    NO note in this passage is to be played short. This seems contradictory, but it is just

    never done. Don't bounce, don't clip.

    The first strain of the trio is easy and is quite a nice warm up for the difficult

    second strain. As with every excerpt, be in time and at the correct tempo, but committees

    are very fussy about the speed and rhythm in this excerpt and will be merciless if you are

    off at all. The pickups to measure 49 should be very dolceand simple. Play an exact

    triplet in the next bar, neither rushed or stretched, but very smooth. Do not emphasize the

    notes, or play them with less volume as you might other figuration. Maintain the cresc.

    line through them. The two Bs at the end of the bar are fairly legato and lead to the next

    bar. After the dotted-quarter note B, you may dip a little in nuance to let the last three

    eighths of the bar lead to the next. In measure 51, move through the first two beats with

    increasing expression, and make a real jump back topon the third beat. Again here be

    very careful not to distort your rhythm in the slightest degree. Helpful in making the

    subito sound more dramatic but not gross is to play the first two beats as if they were

    marked espressivoand the last again dolce. Filling up the second beat in time as much as

    you can without distortion also helps this affect. Unless instructed not to, play the repeat

    and count all the measures rest religiously. Some people like to hear repeats the same,

    but I prefer to play repeats with heightened contrast.

    Measure 55 starts the high passage. Begin at about mpwith long but articulated

    eighths and play bar 57 as an echo. 58 should start at 57's level but cresc. through the bar

    to a higher level than you had in 55. A true forte is required in 60, because you are

    playing above the entire orchestra, and you need the contrast so that you can play the next

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    passage in a healthypand still sound soft by comparison. Measure 61 should be phrased

    identically to measure 49. Do not take time in 62, but be as smooth as you can with the

    big skips. Half-holing on the second D of the measure will help it come out without

    popping or being too soft. Crescendoing through this measure is both a help and a

    hindrance, but it must be done or it will be too boring. Committees like this piece to see

    how well you can phrase. Beethoven is not as juicy as Tchaikovsky or Ravel, but here is

    your chance to be expressive. The cresc.makes it harder to play the skips, but you also

    don't have to play aphigh D at the end of the bar. Keep the cresc. right up to the bar line,

    and then fall back to a very dolce pin bar 63. Find a fingering for the high G that does

    not fail and stick with it. I use the overblown B (thumb/reg. LH-1, RH-fork and Ab/Eb

    key) and then "yodel" down to the B. The change in registers provides a little break of its

    own that nicely mimics legato articulation there so I don't have to tongue the B and break

    up the line. In any case, all articulation in this passage should be legato. Measure 66 is

    easy to rush in an audition - be careful. The D is the down pulse and the Gs are the

    embellishment of it. Do not bounce on the Gs. The G in 67 belongs to the others, and not

    to the eighth-notes that follow, so flow downward with phrasing beginning on the F#.

    This is the model for measures 71 and 73. 70 can be played with a little more cresc.on

    the Gs than in 66. The articulation should be one of a flat rock skipping across a pond.

    Articulate with only a little separation (NOT short) through the line and don't let the

    tonguing break it up. Play even crescendosin bars 72 and 74 making sure that the B is

    louder than the high D arriving at a Beethovenfby the end of the bar. Do not take time

    on the subitop, and be careful of rushing throughout measures 69-75. Measure 75 has a

    slight dim. Be sure to start loud enough in the next bar to get good contrast from yourpp

    in the penultimate bar. In this bar the phrase breaks between the 3rd and 4th eighth-note

    with the latter belonging to the last bar. You can show this phrase-break with a slight

    cresc.through the last 3 eighths which will also help you by giving you a higher dynamic

    in which to play the last bar. The last bar is usually played with a rit.and always with a

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    dim.up to the high G. My favorite fingering for this G is: Thumb/Reg. LH-1,3 RH-1,2

    Ab/Eb. Whichever fingering you find, make sure it's infallible and in tune! If you are out

    of tune on this note, it will hang in the air until the orchestra starts up again or you play

    your next audition excerpt. Of course, it doesn't have to be the same fingering as in

    measure 63.

    The last movement is not asked on auditions, but it doesn't hurt to be ready to play

    it. The biggest solo happens twice pretty much in the same manner (measures 236 and

    letter I). Without bouncing, make sure the articulation is audible between the two Es and

    As. The quarter-notes in measure 239 should again be played along the line and not too

    short (the skipping rock again). The last four bars can be more expressive than the first

    four or less, or completely different. Just don't be boring and play it the same.

    Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125

    An unqualified masterpiece, Beethoven's ninth symphony has great passages for

    everyone. It is long and the clarinets play nearly continuously throughout. If possible,

    play this piece with assistants. They will help with volume where needed and give you

    ample recovery time for your solos. This symphony is full of more contrast than the

    others and the changes turn on a dime sometimes. Be alert, and be brave.

    The first movement has no true solos of more than a few notes, but much to play

    in octaves and thirds with the rest of the woodwinds. Play real sixteenth and 32nd notes

    wherever marked and do not confuse the two.

    The scherzo's problems are confined to playing articulated descending octaves

    quickly without squeaking and getting the dotted-quarter/eighth/quarter motive

    rhythmically accurate (as in the seventh symphony). The trio, however begins with the

    clarinet playing the same theme four times in a row. It's a short passage and it goes

    quickly. While one could tire of hearing the same four bars four times with the same

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    phrasing, do not try to vary it too much - it goes by too quickly. One fun phrasing to do

    is to poke lightly or heavily (or both at different times) the syncopated D that connects

    the sub-phrases.

    Depending on the tempo, the third movement can either be torture for breathing or

    no problem. Try to work out with your section where to breathe. I recommend staggering

    when you can. If you have assistants you can even use them sometimes to help you.

    There are many small clarinet duets throughout the movement, and all are basically the

    same in that they require maximum expression and legato. Again, do not confusep and


    The beginning of the last movement is sometimes at a speed requiring the

    insertion of a few slurs. It is loud enough that no one will hear if you need to add some.

    Another option is leaving out a not here or there. Be careful of all the sudden tempo

    changes. Motives from the previous movements are inserted in the introduction. The 6/8

    variation of "Ode to Joy" should be quite cute and bouncy. Playppand beware of getting

    lost because beat 2 increasingly sounds like the down beat as the passage continues.

    There are pitfalls which are rather obvious in this movement such as playing smoothly

    and quietly up to the high Dfermataafter letter R when at this point in the piece you are

    exhausted. Another is the fast light articulation to be had in the following passage. If all

    the woodwinds play as short as they can, the ensemble, which is usually quite difficult,

    will be better.

    Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 8 in b minor (Unfinished)

    Another mainstay of the audition repertoire, this little jewel of a piece has many

    pitfalls in and out of the solo passages. In the first movement, the first theme is stated

    beginning in measure 13 by the clarinet and oboe in unison. It is usually best to get

    together with the oboist before hand to go over intonation. When playing this with the

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    strings, it is often difficult to find the beat in their repeated 16th notes. If the conductor

    does not help keep you and the oboist together, particularly on the eighth-notes, ask the

    oboist to nod a little and follow them. Try to keep expression to a minimum until the

    hairpin, where you can really wail. Measure 29 should be played a little louder thanpso

    that the clarinets are heard above the clearingfpand the sustaining instruments. The

    syncopations after A are difficult to play soft enough and without dragging. Playing each

    first note a little louder followed by a small dim.will help, and will phrase nicely. If you

    are on time with the first note, the rest should follow quite easily. Beware of the string

    rubato and go with it. Sing a little on the suspensions such as in bar 52. Get VERY soft

    during the decresc.and take it all the way to niente. Thesfin this piece are with more

    pressure than striking. Play them deeply. As with Beethoven, modern performance

    practice lends itself to certain balance problems. One such problem is 6 before D - play as

    loudly as you can. At the end of the movement, you and the oboe play a stripped down

    first motive in measure 352 with a HUGE cresc.up tofand back. Here the difficulty is

    making the change without going out of tune (be careful not to go flat), or changing the

    tone color or balance between you at all. Beforehand practice will also help this.

    The second movement is what is asked on most auditions. Recent performances

    have reversed the trend of playing this movement too slowly. It is markedAndantecon

    moto, and should really go at about an eighth-note=96. At this tempo, you may even be

    able to play the long solo in one breath!, but be ready for a widevariety of tempos for

    this movement. The big solo beginning in measure 66 is over syncopated strings. Be sure

    to enter and move on time. Precise conducting here helps, but you can't always count on

    it. There are littlesfzin the strings, and sometimes the conductor will stretch to

    accommodate them, leaving you in the learch. Be ready for anything during this solo.

    This solo is beautiful in it's architecture and is a great opportunity to show what you and

    the clarinet can do. Color is key. Take a huge breath and start as softly as you can, but

    with a precise attack. Do not cresc. on the E. Press into the G at a subito higher dynamic,

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    using breath only for the change. I find it helpful to move my body for this a little too.

    Fade the hairpin all the way through the bar and to the F# where you are againppand

    rather colorless. Play the A similarly to the G, but with ever so slightly more expression -

    remember, you have a long way to go. This contrast between the desolation of the

    unaccented notes and the dispair of the accented ones can be quite beautiful. Before the

    5th bar of the solo is the least obtrusive place for a breath. Though you've just started to

    play, if you grab a quick breath here, you may not need another one at all. You now have

    two bars to play a shortened version of your previous expression and get frompptof.

    The arrival offis in measure 72 and that C should be louder than it was when accented in

    71. Thisforteshould be glorious, soaring, exultant, and big but NOT loud (i.e. crass,

    harsh, etc.). Do not press on thefhere. Almost immediately, you must return, in two

    bars, topp. During your dim.,you can also drain all color from the sound and arrive

    belowppby the end of bar 73. You can then change direction when you get to bar 74,

    add a little expression and move the phrasing forward. The chord changes there can help

    you. Also adding the expression can give you a slightly higher dynamic from which to

    make the final dim. Play from here seemlessly, practically glissing from note to note

    with your legato. Beginning in 77, play each repeat of the E-G softer, fading away in

    color and dynamic. You may slur to the final B, as you will be playing so softly no one

    will notice, and articulation here may destroy the line. You may choose to make more

    expression out of the final interval of a fifth, or to continue the fade. Either is acceptable

    and both are beautiful in their own way. If you absolutely must, you may breath before

    the final G, but do not be late. Fade out on the B as only a clarinet can, arriving at a

    nearly inaudible level by the beginning of the final bar. Do not hold over the written

    value, because the Oboe enters in the next bar.

    After playingffand then resting for nearly 27 bars, you must play measure 138 as

    Schubert wrote it:pppon a high note with an expressive accent. Do not be late. Have

    some air moving through your instrument in the bars preceding it and take time during

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    the rests to imagine what it feels like to play the Bb. Anyone can play this warm, but you

    must practice playing it after sitting there for 3 minutes.

    The second big solo is merely a restatement of the Oboe's first solo. You will be

    able to play it in one breath no matter how slowly. Instead of being desolate and

    dispairing, you are now in major mode and can be a little more cheerful in your

    expression. The cresc.here leads to the glorious return of the motive of bar 231 followed

    by its docissimoecho. Try to play an exact 32nd note without being flippant. Everything

    here must be very smooth as well. Play a nice cresc.with the Flute in 263 without

    pressing. The solo beginning in measure 276 can be with much expression and a relaxing

    of dynamic into the tonic of 280. Six bars later you will be able to play a truepppwithout

    being covered, so take advantage of it. Just don't be late entering.

    Gioacchino Rossini - Overture to Semiramide

    Rossini Operas are mainstays of the repertoire, as are their orchestral overtures.

    The chief demands placed on the clarinet in all of Rossini's music are to play lightly and

    quickly. The overture to Semiramide is typical of this. While the main solo asked on

    auditions is in the middle of the Allegro, there are a few other pitfalls to point out. The

    figure at letter A at first looks difficult, but with practice can be played as fast as needed

    and with the proper rhythm. Accenting the staccato note a bit helps play the off beats

    without rushing. Letter A begins a typical "Rossini" crescendo - widespread in all of his

    works. Always save a bit of volume for the final push at the end of the long crescendo


    The first difficult spot for the clarinet comes in the Allegro, 6 measures after letter

    G. The woodwinds all toss around this figure and it is important not to be late. Usually

    played quite swiftly (a quarter note equal to as much as 152), you may insert a slur from

    the fourth to fifth notes in the run if you need to. Don't be late, and don't rush the figure.

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    In performance it is OK, even preferable for the first note of the run to pop out, but in

    audition this is not as kosher. Thinking of the first three notes as a pickup to the fourth

    beat of the bar helps you to enter at the top inp. Beginning 4 bars before H the passage is

    now easier, and you are in octaves with the flute. Don't forget to crescendointo H. The

    rest of the orchestra will be getting quite loud at this point and you still need to be heard.

    Also be careful not to slow down and/or get heavier as you get louder.

    The passage usually asked for on auditions begins after K. This solo is over

    pizzicatoquarter notes in the strings. While it is fast, it needs to sound relaxed and

    unhurried. Play the first bar with the grace notes close to the quarters, and play the

    quarters on the long but separated side - not short. The hairpin in the first bar should go

    all the way to a Rossiniforte,which is close to a Beethovenf, and come all the way back

    topby the fourth beat of the second bar. From here on out there are generally two

    schools of playing this solo. One is to be fairly simple and let the line speak for itself, the

    other to play with dynamics and color as much as possible in the short figures of the solo.

    While the latter can border on trite and contrived if overdone, this is opera and I prefer it

    to the former. Having said that, you may think of the first bar as quarters leading all to a

    rather bold G which retreats in dynamic and color to a dolcep. The next four notes can

    be quite cute in the following manner: A small hairpin down is played over all four notes;

    give a little poke accent the F to make light of the fact that the figure is played on the

    weak beat; clip the D, but do not play it early; play a short E and a soft and short C.

    Repeat the figure in the same manner butpiu p. For the third time play louder than the

    other two and start a small cresc.that continues through the C major arpeggio up to the

    high C. Play this C reminiscent of the G in measure 2 of the solo. This illustrates the

    architecture of the solo nicely. Repeat the B-D-C-A figure as you did the earlier triplets:

    p, piu p, meno p/cresc.leading to the D. Following the long high D the next 5 notes really

    belong in to the phrase that continues in the next bar, so make a bracket in your mind

    between the D and the A in the 10th bar after K. This will of course be easier if you

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    again have phrasing reminiscent of the G in the second bar of the solo and start the

    triplets againp. Playfully move through the next bar careful to keep all twelve note in

    even rhythm without crushing the two that are slurred. A slight poke accent on the

    articulated beats is both playful and reminds one of the figure at letter A. A small cresc.

    through this bar is good, but save for a much bigger cresc.in the next bar. In 12 after K,

    you can stretch slightly the octave leap for dramatic and charming effect. It is from the

    top D that you should begin a large cresc.through the whole bar. Arrivingfat the G in

    the next bar, play each beat-long cell softer than the one preceding it and still with the

    accent on the articulated beat that this figure gets. Counting 5-4-3-2-1 to yourself while

    you play this bar and the final note in the next is a perfect way to illustrate the attitude

    with which this dim.should be played. This is an awful lot of discussion for a 10 bar solo

    that should sound like an unconcerned walk in the park, but a little nuance goes a long

    way with this cute and refreshing piece. Of course, this solo can be played with a wide

    variety of acceptable phrasing as long as it does not contradict the character of the piece.

    The rest of the overture is merely a recap of themes already played. When the

    Allegro triplet solo comes back, you are playing the lower-octave line, which drops out

    after a few bars.

    Barber of Seville Overture and Figaro's Aria

    Currently Rossini's most popular Opera, The Barber of Seville is widely adored in

    and out of Warner Brothers' cartoons. The beginning of the overture is always in 8, but

    the length of the pickup sixteenth-notes are rarely agreed upon. Some conductors prefer

    them played as 32nd-notes because of the slow tempo. Be ready for anything.

    This Overture, even more than Semiramide, is about short and light notes!

    Beginning in the 11th bar of the Allegro play short, almost pecky notes. Play the 32nds

    in the next bar very quickly and with little accents so they don't sound like pickups. Clip

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    the dotted-eighth-notes almost in half. All of this is played with the Flute and Violins.

    After letter E, you have the answer part of the B theme. Do not drag, and play all the

    notes very short. Crescendothrough the bar of Gs and press into the G#. Play the same

    phrasing two bars later, but about a half step up in dynamics. In bar 100 play very short

    quarters, and don't be afraid of the gaping silence you are adding and use that as an

    excuse to rush - these quarters must be unhurried. Fall off of the half-note dynamically,

    and play a very sprightly ending. The three note cell in measure 102 should be as follows:

    a long first note, clipped second and soft third. This nuance gives a nice shape to the cell

    as you dim. through the bar like as if you were sliding down a banister to the final note in

    bar 103. Following this, you play the same thing again up an octave.

    After switching to the A clarinet, you get to play the entire second theme in a solo

    beginning after letter I. I think it is important to provide as much contrast between the

    motives that make up this theme as possible, in the same way that the characters each

    display a different mood with different music often simultaneously during the opera. In

    that light, play the second and third bars after I very dolceand legato, with the accent as a

    stress rather than a punch. Sort of like Bartolo's awkward love answered by Figaro's

    scheming. The rest of the solo is the same as before - even the fingerings, though in a

    new key.

    Figaro's first Aria of the opera is the one with the famous "Figaro, figaro,

    figaro......". The aria is about how Figaro is so in demand as a confidant and problem

    solver that he gets no rest. The line above is his mimicking of all the people constantly

    calling on him. Baritones like to sing this one FAST so be ready to play up to a dotted-

    quarter note equal to 184, though at an audition a crisp 168 is acceptable. The key in an

    audition, of course, is to be a clean, clear, crisp and short as you can. The difficult and

    exposed part begins in measure 17 (sometimes letter A), and is a perfect imitation of

    people chattering away. Play the grace note before the beat, but as close to it as possible,

    and make sure the beat gets a little accent. If you don't do both of these things, the figure

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    will come out sounding like six even sixteenth notes. Clip the eighth at the end of the

    first beat, and don't rush to beat two. The Gs should be very short and even, as should the

    bars with only six eighth-notes in them. This whole passage is another "Rossini

    crescendo" so by the time you get to the high notes you can play them at a comfortable

    mf. Save a lot for a big final push in the last six bars making your cresc.all the way to the

    last high C. Keep the volume increasing through the last three notes - it makes for a lot

    of bravura.

    Felix Mendelssohn - Scherzo from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

    This piece is a mainstay of both principal and second clarinet auditions. Though I

    will mostly address the only the first part, what I say can quite easily be applied to the

    second. What the committee is usually looking for in this excerpt is how cleanly one can

    articulate a fast passage, not how fast one can articulate. True, if you play it too slowly,

    they will think that you cannot articulate quickly, but first prize does not go to whoever

    tongues the fastest in this piece. The Scherzo has been performed and recorded at a

    dotted-quarter-note equal to anywhere from 69 to 96, but 88 is the best speed to prepare

    cleanly. This is quickly enough to show your speed, but not so quick as to be frantic. It

    also has the virtue of being a speed nearly everyone can handle, and one where if the

    adrenaline of an audition makes you play faster, you'll still be able to make it. The mood

    in this piece in performance and in audition is light, quick, capricious, sparkling,

    sprightly - nothing heavy, difficult or pushed. Remember at all times the character of the

    piece is a representation of some rogue fairies.

    General pitfalls of this excerpt are playing the group of four 16th notes crushed

    together in time, playing too softly and not having some notes speak, not playing the full

    value of rests, and notes popping out - particularly when going over the break. I find it

    much easier to play this whole piece without lungs full of air. You don't need a lot of air

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    except in a few spots, and the less pressure behind each articulated note, the easier it

    comes out evenly inpiano. Something else I have tried is playing with very little jaw

    pressure. Depending on your reed, this can be quite effective. The danger there is

    scooping the pitch on notes in the clarinetregister. Generally, I think that a forward

    tongue and a rock-solid embochure on a responsive reed sending a thin and very focused

    stream of air aimed right at the reed is best. Lots of embochure and tongue support with

    little diaphragm support works best for me.

    The beginning is markedp, and onlyp. Do not try to playpp.Remember that you

    are under the flute melody, and do not over-power them. In the first bar is the primary

    rhythmic cell of the piece and the hardest one to play correctly. Do not crush the 16th

    notes. Practice this slowly with the metronome on 8th notes, making sure each 16th is in

    the right place. It is remarkable, even fast, how much time you really have to play these

    16th notes. It's more than you really need. Playing them correctly in rhythm has the added

    bonus of giving you the time to play them shortly. Playing them short adds to the

    sprightly nature of the piece and just sounds better. Play the notes in bar 2 exactly alike

    and very short. I recommend playing the B in the clarinetregister rather than "on the

    side". Properly supported, the difference in color is negligible and it will ultimately

    sound better than the weak upper chalumeaunotes. Just be careful not to accent the B. I

    usually play the whole bar with my right hand down and already fingering the B on the

    right. The passage at L requires the B on the left because of what follows it though. The

    accents in bars 6 and 7 should be quite sharp and a little accent in the same place in bar 5

    is appropriate. Bar 10 and 12 should be very short with a nice falling off shape. Bar 15

    is the first time the clarinets have the melody. Start at a healthy mfand play a very even

    dim. Play the first note of this run secure, but not accented. The C at the top should be a

    softp, and the notes of the next bar should be at the same dynamic level. Follow the

    same character through letter A. Letter A is the motive on only one pitch and therefore is

    much easier to rush - be extra careful here. Again a sharp accent 5 and 7 bars after A.

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    Start the cresc.at the low end ofp, and follow it through the next 6 bars until the bar of

    rest. The 16th note bar needs an added hairpin up in dynamic to the top C within the

    overall cresc. The hemiola trill bars that follow should be as jaunty and sprightly as

    possible. Short notes and at least 5 note trills with little accents to bring out the hemiola.

    The last two notes before B should also be short and cute. In an audition, this is where

    you will skip to letter D to keep playing. However, I recommend practicing the passage at

    letter C because it is difficult, and learning it is helpful for playing the audition passages


    6 bars after letter D begins a short recap., the main difference being the arpeggios.

    They should be played with a secure but unaccented bottom note followed by a dim.to

    the top B. Do not accent when going over the break. For these bars only, more diaphragm

    support helps. Play 3 before E softer than 4 before, and 2 before softer than 3 before.

    Think of the phrase during these bars as if you were sustaining the notes, but play them

    very short. Lead into E with a small cresc. in the bar before, coming up topat E. Grab a

    big breath and start the sustained notes making sure not to be sharp on the first low B, as

    is easy to do. Play the crescendo evenly heading all the way to thesfnote. Whereffis

    written is NOT the high point of the cresc.- thesfis. To the overall smooth cresc.it is

    nice to add a bit of "terracing" or small accents each time you change pitch. By the time

    you reach the dotted-quarter-notes, you can play them with real pressure accents that are

    sharp, but not stinging, with each note louder than the one before. At theffyou can be a

    little heavy, but don't slow down and be sure to save some volume to make a big

    difference on thesf. Play this note short, so the sound can clear and the flute be heard.

    The clarinet answer phrase will be easier to play if you don't breathe during the rest.

    You've taken a huge breath for the cresc.so you don't need the air, and you don't want a

    lot of pressure from your lungs so you can play nice and light. I even exhale a little

    through the rest. You can breath after the 16th notes. At an audition, it's best to hear the

    flute 16th in your head during the rests so that you come in at exactly the right time and

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    in perfect rhythm. Continue to dim. through your 16ths. You may accent every fourth

    note a little to help with the phrasing and rhythm - this also usually prevents rushing. F is

    pretty much the same except that you start the dim.this time in stead of the flute. Be sure

    to still play thesfand short 16ths, even though you are startingff. Most auditions end

    either the bar before G or four bars before that.

    Other important passages are the very exposed duet 12 bars before K, which must

    be light as always, and has a tendency to sound either late or behind in performance. L is

    the same as the opening but you should be fingering the B on the right so that you can

    play the different scale in the 8th bar of L. Follow the same phrasing pattern here, and

    make the accents at M quite sharp and quickly back top. There is a short solo after O

    with the Flute. Decide ahead of time weather to play the grace notes before the beat or on

    it. They are more commonly played just before the beat, and are always played very

    quickly. The last exposed passage for the clarinets is 7 bars from the end where they

    answer the Flutes and have the melody in the first clarinet. This is the first time you have

    the motive inpp. Be sure to make that difference. 5 and 4 before the end should be even

    softer as you have only harmony. The last three notes are extremely short, and without


    Symphony No. 3 in a minor, Op. 56 (Scotch)

    Both this symphony and the "Hebrides" overture were written about a trip

    Mendelssohn took to Scotland. Everywhere you turn in this piece there are exposed

    clarinet passages, though usually only the second movement is asked for on auditions.

    The solos begin right at the beginning of the Allegro of the first movement with

    the clarinet an octave below the first violins. I recommend using your sound to color the

    violins rather than drawing attention to yourself. Be present with your sound, but don't

    hog the music. There were reportedly rough seas during Mendelssohn's trip, and they are

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    depicted marvelously in this movement. Play with maximum expression and make all the

    sudden changes quite dramatic. A good example of a place where you can be very

    expressive is after letter C. The hairpin should be dramatic, but save a little to make the

    next hairpin even more dramatic. The second statement of the motive is higher and with a

    cresc.Attention to these details is of paramount importance.

    The second movement is a dance. The strings are playing repeated sixteenth

    notes on the same pitches, and it is impossible to find the beat. If the conductor is good

    he will understand this and be clear for you, but try your best to be on time. It is easy to

    rush this solo in general, and particularly easy during the dotted-eighth/sixteenth rhythm -

    be steady. It is Vivace, but also non troppoand the metronome marking is correct and not

    terribly fast. The first two notes of the solo are very important and the basis of the whole

    theme. Practice the ascending fourth alone for a while to get the proper feeling and to be

    aware that the seven notes that follow the G are merely an embellishment of it. This will

    also help you to play a true sixteenth-note pickup instead of something shorter, which is a

    tendency. The musical motion in this solo should always be forward (but not rushing

    forward). Crescendoslightly through the first four bars of the solo as you head to the

    cadence in the fifth bar. Accent the D in the fifth bar since it is the arrival, not the B.

    With nuance, follow the contours of the line in these 5 bars and the next 4 a bit, making

    subtle differences in each sixteenth/dotted-eighth note group. Space of about a sixteenth

    note between them will help the nuance while not destroying the over-all line. The

    second phrase can of course get higher in volume as you go up to a B now. Also be sure

    to make a clear articulation between the two Ds at the end of this phrase so they don't run

    together. When starting the third phrase, it is a good idea to start in a smallerpthan you

    even began the solo with. The strings havepizzicattomoving toward the cadence of this

    phrase and crescendoingwith them is nice. The fourth phrase can be more triumphant,

    and will lead to the longer passage that follow better if you cresc. nearly up to thefat the

    end of 9 bars before letter A.

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    This passage must be heard above all of the business going on below you, so play

    a meatyf. It begins with that ascending fourth again, so make the listener aware of it by

    being bold with your pickup and arrival note. The hairpins should be big, and the

    indications for dim.and cresc. dramatic and strictly adhered to. It is easy to lose count

    during the long notes. The second statement of this theme (beginning 8 bars after A)

    needs to be even louder. Observe thesfand make bigger hairpins and sail yourffabove

    the whole orchestra. This is where about half of the auditions stop you, but not where the

    difficulties end.

    Four measures later, you have a rather tricky passage in unison with the 'cellos.

    Be careful not to rush the pickup notes, and save some volume for thepiu f, and the end

    of the passage. Following that, you have a full 16 measures to agonize over your next

    entrance. Here again, it is easy to get lost. Like the passage in the Midsummer's

    Scherzo, it is best to play thisp entrance with very little air in your lungs. This will allow

    you to float into the mix at a trueppand very short. The accents are sharp and very

    important and every note not slurred must be short, nearly pecky. The second and third

    bars of C need to be brought up above the rest for just a bit, and accordingly, have been

    markedp. 6 bars after C be careful of rushing over the next 7 or 8 bars. No auditions

    ever go beyond this point.

    D is merely a test of your tongue's endurance. E is little excerpts of the dance

    coming in and out of the texture. Here it is of particular importance to be exactly in time

    and not to rush the pickup note. 10 after E is a little duet for clarinets. Be sure to leave

    enough space to make your grace notes heard even though you should play them as

    quickly as you can. A little accent on the grace-notes will help them pop out better. You

    end the movement with a recollection of the theme that should be very sweet and simple,

    but still with all the markings observed (sfand accents).

    The third movement gives great opportunities for expression, such as in 9 bars

    before D when the orchestra cuts out leaving you and the second clarinet to play a lovely

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    arpeggio dim. Stretch this as much as the conductor will let you. Beginning in the sixth

    bar after F you have two little solos in counterpoint to the rest of the orchestra that must

    be heard. Sneak in on the G and grow quickly out of the texture before you make an

    expressive interval to the high C and continue your cresc.downward. Don't get lost in the

    texture as you descend. The same goes for the next two bars.

    The last movement is more sudden dynamic changes and shocks - be observant.

    The sixteenth notes should be played quite close to the dotted-eighths, which should be a

    little short. The double dotted quarters should always be long. The motive in 10 before G

    is best done with a pressure accent and a crying or wailing sound. The last page of the

    piece starts with a long and very exposed duet with the Bassoon. Be expressive and sad.

    You and the bassoon will alternate melody and harmony in the latter half of the duet,

    melody being indicated by measures with hairpins in them. Yield to the bassoon when

    you have the harmony, and base the level of yourppending on proper balance with their

    pp(though it is nice when you can both fade to nothing by the end).

    Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 (Italian)

    Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony is more common on Second clarinet auditions,

    but is rare on either. The first movement doesn't have much difficult or exposed. There

    are lots of passages for a few woodwinds together and the clarinet can be heard in the

    texture. One place to be aware of is the dove-tailing you will do with the flute starting 31

    measures before E. Play without accents as much as you can and match the flute sound.

    Nuance following the line is quite nice to play with. After E is a theme in minor mode

    that should be played short and creepy. Most of what the clarinets play in the second

    movement is soli. The first should really dominate where it is marked "Solo". This is the

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    Major variation of the theme. It is harder to project when it returns in a lower register so

    you may have to play louder thanp.

    The third movement is pretty basic, and the big clarinet solo is the tail end of the

    first section and every time that motive comes back. The last movement is what is asked

    for on the few auditions that have this piece on their lists. It is very fast - up to 100 for

    the half-note, though 90 is more likely. At an audition, play it as fast as you can play it

    cleanly, and easily. You must not make this excerpt sound difficult. The second clarinet

    has a harder part with some particularly tricky fingerings and crossing of registers to deal

    with. The first exposed passage begins in bar 14 and is exposed until theff in bar 30.

    Needless to say, the notes must be light, very short andpp! Do not play even as loud asp.

    If you can play this passage very fast, you may want to audition on it a notch slower so

    that you may actually play short notes. This could impress the committee more than

    plowing through at top speed. A little accent on the trill is common, and it should be

    played with as many notes as you can. Lay back during the whole-notes to let the other

    lines through. Make a huge cresc.and start it where it is written, instead of later which

    is done sometimes. This is usually the end of the audition passage for either clarinet part.

    Seven bars before letter C comes a fun little passage. Play the run very smoothly and the

    eighth-notes like 1/32 notes with rests. The hair-pins at C should be big, but try to blend

    with the prevailing size of hairpin in the orchestra. The last important thing you have is

    10 bars from the end and is marked "Solo". It is easy to be early or late with these as they

    come in the off beat, but you must be precise. A little hairpin dim.through the triplet

    makes for a nice shape to the motive, but start the cresc. and move through the notes

    when it's marked.

    Hector Berlioz - Symphony Fantatique

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    An absolute masterpiece, Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique has a fascinating

    history. It is one of the first instrumental works to tell a detailed story. It is about a

    composer who is in love with an actress who won't give him the time of day. In his

    dispair, the composer decides to commit suicide by overdosing on opium. He doesn't take

    enough, however, and he proceeds to have wild visions of himself and his beloved.

    Berlioz wrote this piece to get the attention of an Irish actress named Henrietta Smithson

    that he was in love with who wouldn't have anything to do with him. The piece so

    impressed her, that they began seeing each other and eventually had a short and

    tempestuous marriage. Attention to detail is particularly important in this piece and

    Berlioz was very particular about his markings.

    In the introduction, most of the passages are for tutti woodwinds, and the clarinets

    are often in octaves with the flutes. In the main part of the movement at number 11, you

    have the main theme of the piece, or idee fixe, in octaves with the flute. This is the theme

    that represents the hero's beloved, and it is transformed throughout the piece. It is

    impossible to play this passage with too much passion, so pour on the expression. There

    are sudden and extreme dynamic changes that need to be done. Thesfs before 12 are as

    sharp as you can make them without being stung. This is the passion of a young man

    hopelessly in love.

    The Ball opens with our hero moving through a crowd at a dance party. He hears

    the music, and sees his beloved at number 26. Here again is the idee fixe. The main solo

    for the clarinet is a fragment of the main theme beginning at 35. The rfzshould be quite

    dramatic, bordered by extreme hairpins up and down. Beginning in measure 11of the

    solo, back off of the dynamic up to the high C, very dolce. Breathe, then come in with

    the second clarinet dolcissimofor the final 5 bars of the solo.

    "In the country" finds our hero listening to shepherds playing their pipes to each

    other. The clarinet's first entrance is very delicate. Stay relatively soft so you give way to

    the more interesting lines happening elsewhere. After a while, our hero sees his beloved,

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    and takes her in his arms. The passage from 41 to 43 is the only depiction of a complete

    sexual climax that I know of, the high point being theff four bars after 42. With that in

    mind, much of the expression of the movement comes into focus. In the tender moments

    of afterglow, the clarinet, representing our hero, sings a tender love song to his beloved

    beginning in the third bar of 43. Start with a real mf, but dolce. This gives you plenty of

    space for a dramatic, whisperedppppecho. Berlioz was a master orchestrator, and he

    knew only the clarinet could achieve such an echo. The accompaniment ispppizzicato

    strings, so play as softly as possible and you will still be heard. Start thepoco fa little

    softer than you were in the mf. Each of the next three bars is a gesture, self-contained, and

    restated more passionately each time. When that figure can no longer contain the

    mounting passion, Berlioz gives us more notes in 3 before 44. Don't be afraid of big,

    weightysfs. 2 before 44 is six individual pulses that lead forward in a terrace effect, like

    climbing stairs. The measure before 44 should be at least fat the beginning. The E is

    definitely the high point and all of the sixteenth-notes should have much bravado.

    Diminuendoonly to mfby 44, and from there decay. This solo is usually the only thing

    heard on auditions from this piece. Committees want to hear how expressively you can

    play - you must not be timid or boring. The restatement that follows is with the other

    woodwinds. At the end of the movement, we hear again one shepherd, but the other is not

    responding - perhaps he is busy with our hero's beloved. Has she been unfaithful? An

    approaching storm heralds disaster.

    The fourth movement has our hero being lead to the Guillotine, not the Stake, for

    murdering his beloved in a jealous rage. The passage at 56 is tricky, but not exposed.

    Just before our hero's head is cut off, he has a vision of his beloved in the clarinet solo

    after 56. Make huge hairpins - this is the last moment of his life. The downbeat of seven

    after 56 is the blade of the Guillotine cutting his head off. Thepizzicatithat follow

    represent his head bouncing down the steps of the platform, followed by the cheers of the


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    The fifth movement - A witch's Sabbath - has the first clarinet switching to Eb,

    but in modern practice the principal clarinet will play the second part and someone else

    will play the Eb part. There are still passages of note for the "first" clarinet in this

    movement. The story for this movement is that our dead hero is being haunted in hell by

    his dead beloved, now a witch. Measure 21 is a foreshadowing of the arrival of the

    witches, led by the composer's beloved. This is a fragment of the idee fixein distorted

    rhythm. Play very softly at the beginning. Leave the hamming to the Eb when they come

    in with the complete theme. You just have one cresc. - make it a big one. There are lots

    of tricky things in the fugues that make up the bulk of the movement, and being on time

    is very important. Beginning in 447 is difficult passages that is even on some principal

    clarinet auditions. Play the fastest trills you can. The trills that fall on the first note of the

    triplets should be played on the beat.Leggierois the key for theppassage that follows.

    The rest is fairly straight forward.

    Johannes Brahms

    Primarily a chamber music composer, Brahms only wrote four symphonies (and

    only 9 other works for orchestra), but all are staples of the repertoire of every orchestra

    from the youngest youth symphony to world-class orchestras. While classical in form,

    the pieces contain expressive marks on par with Brahms' main rival - Richard Wagner.

    Rhythmically, Brahms was decades ahead of his contemporaries. Often a particular line

    in one voice can be interpreted two different ways rhythmically, and through much of his

    work there are different meters in the music occurring simultaneously. Hemiolas and

    shifting the meter by one beat in the bar are favorite techniques of his. It is easy to get

    lost in some places even when you know the piece well, so counti