Below are my complete clinic notes on Etude No. 2, “The Slow Etude,” from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. Watch for my notes on Etudes 1 and 3 coming soon! Check out my previous posts on the all-state etudes: Click HERE.
ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2018-2019
Soprano Clarinet Preparation Tips: Etude No. 2 “The Slow Etude”
Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”
“Building Great Clarinetists”
Clarinet Performing, Teaching and Consulting
Hurst, Texas, USA * 682-888-7639
clarinetmike.com * email@example.com
Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School [Rose Etudes] Published by Southern Music Co. (For official TMEA listing, Click HERE.)
Note: Cyrille Rose (1830-1902) was a very important clarinet teacher at the Paris Conservatory and 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. Rose did not compose these etudes, but he adapted and enhanced etudes written for other instruments. He “clarinetized” them.
Etude 2 Adagio non troppo, Page 59. Key: D Major. Rose 32 Etudes #13. Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School, Edited by David Hite, Southern Music Co. Tempo: Quarter note = 54-63; Play from the beginning to end. Errata: Measure 21 – the second note in the measure – the E – should be a 32nd note instead of a 16th note. Measure 36 – Articulate sixteenth triplets as notated in measures 37 and 38.
Composer and Style: This Rose etude is based on an etude by court oboist Franz Wilhelm Ferling (1796-1874) – to view the original etude, click HERE and go to Etude #9. This etude is similar to the slow movement of a sonata or concerto with Ferling possibly influenced by the great violin virtuoso Paganini (cite). In our version, Rose not only adapted and enhanced this Ferling etude for the clarinet, he also added a lot of measures. The original Ferling etude was likely marked Adagio con espressione. So play expressively like a great romantic virtuoso with lots of emotion and feeling!
Overview: This moderately slow etude is very sophisticated with lots of “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing and tricky rhythms. There are 3 major issues: Tone, “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing, and Tricky Rhythms.
Sections and Phrases: Etude has 8 phrases with each about 8 measures long. P1 = m1-m8, P2 = m9-m16, P3 = m17-m24, P4 = m25-m32, P5 = m33-m40, P6 = m40-m48, P7 = m49-m56, and P8 = m56-end. Each phrase can be viewed as part of a 2-phrase set (P1 and P2 together, P3 and P4, P5 and P6, P7 and P8). In fact, P1 and P2 together form a parallel period [or something like that!]. P1-P4 can be considered Part 1 and P5 to the end as Part 2.
Tempo: Quarter note = 54-63. It would be best to perform this etude in quarter notes (in 3); however, if you can’t play it accurately in 3, then you must perform it in eight notes (in 6).
Musical Issues: As noted above, the original Ferling etude was likely marked Adagio con espressione, “slow with expression.” Rose changed this to Adagio non troppo, “slow, but not too slow.” The editor of our edition, David Hite, (who tended to overedit at times) added the word piangevolemente “plaintively” at m1. It seems that Rose had originally written espress., “expressively” here instead. I suggest going with Rose (and Ferling) and try to be as expressive as possible. The other indications, such as tres doux, morendo, etc. are better and should be considered – it is critical you understand all the terms and indications that are on the music. Also, especially note all the extreme dynamics. They clearly indicate an over-the-top romantic style of phrasing. Always play with the most beautiful tone possible. In any performance, tone quality should be considered one of the most important factors.
Rubato: Teaching and performing with Rubato is always a precarious business. However, some rubato is certainly called for in at least a few spots in this etude: consider some in m29, m47-m48, m55, and m59. Consider taking a little time on the Bb in m32 before the A tempo in m33 (P5). A tip on using Rubato: practice the passage straight (in time) with and without a metronome, and then add Rubato. Once rubato has been added, always go back and practice it straight at times. [Note: Always learn a work with dynamics, do not try to add dynamics later!]
Problem Passages: There are a number of spots that are rhythmically sophisticated and have to be carefully counted with lots of slow, careful practice – 5 of the first 8 measures in the first phrase (P1) are tricky! Pay special attention to the difference between double dotted eight/thirty-second and dotted eight/sixteenth passages. Spend a lot of time getting the trills and grace notes “just right” in P4 and P7. The last 3 measures requite lots of relaxation and air.
Technical Issues: Fingerings: M6 requires some kind of finger slide. I suggest doing the slide between the first 2 notes of the measure with the right little finger. Shorten the first note D# and then go quickly to right B. [This is also the way I suggest doing the slide in m67 of Etude 1.] Practice this super slow at first. M58 use regular F# on last note – this is a good example of why it is important to be great at flipping between regular F and F#. (see here] Consider resonance fingerings in exposed throat tone spots; however, remember that good voicing is the best resonance fingering! Articulation: The “mezzo staccatos” of m5, m6 and m22 are open to interpretation: try them lightly tongued with, and then without, separation to see what you like. Turns: Play the rhythm of the turn in m55 the way it is written out in m19.
Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: Scales: D major, Chromatic. Arpeggios: D major (D F# A), G major (G B D), A7 (A C# E G), and B minor (B D F#)
Breathing: As marked. Relate breathing to phrasing as much as possible.
Suggested Listening: Listen to slow movements of romantic era sonatas. Here are a few: Beethoven “Pathetique” Piano Sonata Mvt. 2 HERE, Schubert Piano Sonata in A Major Mvt. 2 HERE, Franck Violin Sonata HERE and HERE.