Below are my clinic notes on Etude No. 2 from this year’s Texas TMEA All-State Soprano Clarinet Etudes. My notes on Etude 1 are available here. Watch for my notes on Etude 3 coming soon!
ClarinetMike’s Texas TMEA All-State Clarinet Clinic 2019-2020
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 * firstname.lastname@example.org
Etude Book: David Hite editor, Artistic Studies, Book 1 – From the French School [Rose Etudes] Published by Southern Music Co.
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, Page 64. Etude Title: 32 Etudes, 19. Eight note = 92-104. Play from Beginning to end. Errata: check carefully here.
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 #35. Ferling’s “intimate knowledge of French opera” inspired him to produce this etude in the style of a Romance (cite). This excellent etude is loaded with opportunities for emotional musical expression and creativity. THINK OPERA! Further, recall that Rose himself was 1st clarinetist with the Paris Opera orchestra for 34 years. So, Opera, Opera, Opera! “Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve!”
Overview: Slow etude with lots of “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing – think “Opera!”
Phrases and Sections: Etude has 5 phrases: P1 = m1-m8, P2 = m8-m14, P3 = m15-m22, P4 = m22-m32, P5 = m33-end.
Tempo: This etude should be learned and performed in 6, i.e. one eight note gets one beat. The TMEA listing has it Eight note = 92-104 with the middle section (P3 and P4) faster at about Eight note = 108-116. However, I think these tempos are too fast, especially the middle section (P3 and P4). I suggest playing the middle section only a little faster than the opening. And at the opening, I wouldn’t go any faster than Eight note = 92 with a little slower being preferred. FYI, the legendary clarinet player and teacher, Daniel Bonade, suggested Eight note = 84.
Terms: The editor of our version, David Hite, added a lot of words to this edition. As suggested elsewhere, do look up these indications in the glossary at the back of the etude book (such as lagrimosamente, “tearfully”). Hite’s comments are generally good; however, as I have pointed out before, he does tend to over-edit at times! I suggest checking out the expressive indications in some different editions of this etude.
Musical Issues: “Over-The-Top” Romantic Phrasing – think “Opera!” Play the Eb in m8 as an accented mezzo forte. In m23 and m25, consider “linger[ing] for a moment on the bottom note of each trill before going into the trill. Speed up each trill as you play through it” (Guy, p. 37, cite). In m37, use only a small separation on the staccato notes – think mezzo-staccato or as we used to say at CU Boulder “long short notes.” Be sure to learn dynamics as you learn the rhythm and notes. Adding dynamics later does NOT work very well: ClarinetMike says, “If you learn it at Mezzo-Nothing, you’ll play it at Mezzo-Nothing.”
Rubato: Some rubato makes sense in a few spots, especially in the last half of P4 and at times in P5. Thinking of m20, m38 and m40 as “A Tempo” will help you, especially if you take a small rubato into them.
Scale and Arpeggio Cheat Sheet: G minor scale and arpeggio. Chromatic scale.
Arpeggios: G- = G Bb D, F# Fully Diminished 7th = F# A C Eb, Bb = Bb D F
Technical Issues: In m4 and m36 play grace notes as 2 thirty-seconds on last fourth of beat 2 for dramatic effect. Play the 3 grace notes in m18 as a triplet on the upbeat of beat 1. In m26, take the breath on beat 3 (write -3 above eighth note) as this will give you two counts to get ready for the big molto risoluto. Also in m26, consider using side key trill fingering for A in grace note. Breath on beat 6 of m27 (-6). In m35, be sure to tongue the last note in the measure for dramatic effect. Also, consider using A side key trill fingering on open G trill in m39. In m41, notice and mark the skip between the last two notes of the measure. I use a bracket here between these two notes.
Fingerings: Be sure to use left C before and after fourth space Eb’s as in m12 and m16. Use fork fingering for Gb in m17. Do NOT use “1 and 1” for Bb at m20 or anywhere in this etude unlike what is suggested elsewhere. I very rarely use “1 and 1” because the tone is not as good as the regular fingering AND it will not speak if your clarinet is only very slightly out of adjustment. Consider resonance fingerings in exposed throat tone spots, especially on last 4 notes of the etude. However, DO NOT use resonance fingerings (or right hand down) in faster technical passages as they’ll hamper and “muddy up” your technique.
Problem Passages: M2 is tricky to count, especially if a student has learned it wrong. In P3 (m15-m22) be sure to count the rhythms very accurately. In m26-m27, it is tricky to make the thirty-seconds and high G sound musical – ALWAYS play with a beautiful sound. Plus, make sure your high G fingering is trustworthy and in tune. In m38-m41, the rhythm is the critical.
Cadenza: The measures in P4 before and after the cadenza in m30 are very important. Plan these very carefully. On the cadenza itself, turn the fast chromatic passage into two measures of 4/4 in triplets with the last set being 4 sixteenths (or one measure in 4/4 of double triplets). Start the cadenza slowly and then speed up with a crescendo slurring into the high D trill. Crescendo even more on the trill for dramatic effect. It is possible to think of all (or most) of P4 as a cadenza.
Breathing: Relate to phrasing as much as possible. Make your breathing part of the music. Consider moving breath at end of m10 to third beat of m11.
Suggested Listening: Listen to great opera like singers Natalie Dessay and Maria Callas. (I’m especially crazy about Natalie Dessay.) Here’s a few videos (click on the name): Dessay 1, Dessay 2, Dessay 3, and Callas.