Below are my complete notes on Etude No. 2, “The Slow Opera Etude,” from this year’s Texas All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Etude No. 1 and Overview and Style.
ClarinetMike’s Texas All-State Clarinet Clinic: Etude No. 2, 2015-16 Soprano Clarinet
Dr. Michael Dean
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA
BG France Performing Artist
firstname.lastname@example.org * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * clarinetmike.wordpress.com
Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, Published by Southern Music (For official TMEA listing, click HERE.)
IMPORTANT: Load ONLY accurate information by using Rhy-No Practice Technique with BOLD Dynamics.
Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris opera orchestra. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them. Information on the original etudes and other editions is available HERE.
Etude 2, Adagio, Page: 76, Key: Db Major, Etude Title: 32 Etudes, No. 31, Play from beginning to end. Tempo: Eight Note = 88-108 [learn and perform in 8]. Errata: m6 high note is Db. m13 lowest note of turn is G natural.
Overview: This slow etude is loaded with operatic romantic phrasing.
Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874). Ferling wrote this etude in the style of a Bel Canto Aria likely being influenced by Italian Opera (www.idrs.org/scores/ferling/introduction.html). This amazing slow etude is LOADED with opportunities for emotional musical expression. THINK OPERA! Recall that Rose himself was 1st clarinetist with the Paris opera orchestra. So, Opera, Opera, Opera! “Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve” and make the judges cry!!
Sections and Phrases: Etude breaks down into 4 Phrases with a Transition, Recap, and Coda: P1 = m1-m6, P2 = m7-m14, P3 = m15-m22, P4 = m22-m30, Trans. = m30-m32, Recap = m33-m34, Coda = m35 to end. For practicing, organize the etude into 3 Sections: S1 = P1 and P2 (m1-m14), S2 =P3 and P4 (m15-m30), and S3 = Transition, Recap and Coda (m30 to end).
Musical Issues: I suggest a final performance tempo of no faster than Eight Note = 92. Carefully consider all the terms that are on the music. They clearly indicate an over-the-top operatic style with lots of dynamics, rubato, etc. [Note to region judges, band directors, private teachers, etc.: This is the Slow etude! Please do not reward those who play very fast with no dynamics or musicianship. This is music, not football.]
Problem Passages: Section 1, esp. P2, m7-m14, is very difficult technically and musically. After the first 2 measures, P2 is practically a cadenza! Work on this section every day, if possible.
Technical Issues: Slides: Finger slides are tricky in m3 and especially m12. Relaxing your fingers will help. Flipping: several spots (m3, m12, etc.) involve flipping between F and middle finger F# in the right hand. Work to make this smooth mechanically and sound-wise. Turns: there are 3 ways to do the turns in m11 and m13: 1. Principal note on downbeat with 4 turn notes on upbeat. 2. Principal note with first 2 notes on down beat as triplet and last 2 notes of turn on upbeat – thus the five total notes of the turn are done as triplet on down beat and two sixteenths on upbeat. 3. Make all five notes (principal plus 4 turn notes) an equal quintuplet (for 5’s, say “Opportunity”) over the one beat. I prefer number 2 (but 3 is also good). TMEA Performance Guide suggests number 3. Trills: In m24 hold down left Db and trill to Eb. Stop trill on beat four and do grace notes on upbeat. Similarly, in m28 hold down Db and trill Eb with bottom right side key. Stop trill on beat 3 and play 32nds on upbeat as written.
Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Db major scale and arpeggio. Important Arpeggios: E fully diminished 7th, Bb minor 7th, F# fully diminished 7th, and Gb major.
Breathing: As marked. Follow the phrasing as much as possible. Consider a quick breath on beat 1 of m3. Also, it is possible to breathe at end of m34 instead of m35 as marked. A breath at the end of m36 is a good idea.