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HOFFMEISTER NR. 1, AUDITION SOLO?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by continuo77, Mar 27, 2006.


  1. continuo77

    continuo77

    Mar 22, 2006
    I ran across the Henle urtext edition of Hoffmeister Concerto (Nr. 1). It includes piano reduction (2 keys, solo and orch), and a solo bass part which has the standard solo/orch plus a scordatura version so it can be done in Viennese tuning.
    I think the first movement would make a great audition solo, as do 2 friends of mine in the Pittsburgh section.
    I personally dislike Koussevitsy and the Bottesini, so I end up using Vanhal or Dittersdorf. I see this Hoffmeister concerto (1st movement) as being a great alternative. It offers alot of lyrical passages and I think has the potential to show what you know about playing bass, in regards to phrasing, tone and intonation.
    I know it is pretty standard in European auditions, but does anyone want to share their opinions on how they feel this would go over (when given free choice of concerti) in an American audition?
    Cheers
     
  2. prelims222

    prelims222

    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    I think the problem you'll run into with pieces like Hoffmeister is that they aren't really as familiar to the committee and therefore it is hard for them to evaluate it on the same basis that they might evaluate something like Vanhal or Koussevitsky.

    I recently listened to some brass players preparing for auditions, and it is harder to make an assessment of playing when you don't really know what you are listening to.
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Is the Dragonetti considered 'below' the ranks of the other pieces you mentioned? Just curious where it would be placed and it's value.
     
  4. GirlBass

    GirlBass

    Jul 31, 2005
    New York
    I think the Dragonetti is considered more of a high school piece or maybe a first year college piece these days, not one to be played in a professional audition.
     
  5. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Hal Robinson played Dragonetti when he won the national symphony audition. Eugene Levinson played Dragonetti when he won the New York Phil audition. But then again, those aren't really professional auditions.
     
  6. GirlBass

    GirlBass

    Jul 31, 2005
    New York
    ok, I meant in "modern times" (notice how I said "these days")
    You always hear stories about how so and so won some big audition playing Dragonetti, or an etude, or some piece in that category, but how often has that happened in the past 10-15 years?
    These days I don't think you really can walk in and play the Dragonetti and be considered on the same playing field as those playing the Vanhal, Bottesini, or Koussevitzky, etc.
    Can you name anyone in recent years that won an audition playing the Dragonetti? Do you think Paul Denola, the most recent National Symphony audition winner won that job playing the Dragonetti? I doubt it.
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    How long has Eugene Levinson been the NY Phil Principal? Didn't he replace John Shaeffer not too long ago?

    I learned the Dragonetti from my teacher Lew Norton (NY Phil) in the mid 1970s. His teacher in Texas also taught Hal Robinson. Small world huh? By the way, the Dragonetti has plenty of room for expression in the midst of it's 'High School' technique display.

    Actually, if played well, the Dragonetti is a great piece for my ears.
     
  8. GirlBass

    GirlBass

    Jul 31, 2005
    New York
    I believe Eugene joined the NY Phil in 1985. That's about 21 years ago.
    There is nothing wrong with the Dragonetti. I was just speaking from my experience and what I have observed in those around me taking professional auditions, and in some cases winning them. People are getting better and better at a younger age these days, and while the Dragonetti demonstrates technical ability, I don't think it is considered on the same plane as some of the other bass concerti in professional auditions of the last 10-15 years. Before that, the competition was MUCH lower, as was the technical ability. Times are changing and hundreds of qualified people show up to audition for one opening and I sincerely doubt that they are playing the Dragonetti, even though Hal, Eugene, and a bunch of other guys that have been in the major professional orchestras for a few decades got away with in their auditions.
    But if you want to take the next big audition on the Dragonetti, good luck to you, and if you advance or win, then I stand corrected.
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Me audition? Sorry, I don't audition. I was just asking a question.

    Also, can you fill out the rest of your profile? I can't tell if your in High School or a 30 year veteran of the Orchestra scene.

    By the way, one of the top 11 finalists of the NSO auditions was here last week trying Basses. It was great to sit and watch a great player from 10 feel away. Next time I see him, I will ask about the Solo pieces played at the Audition.
     
  10. The advice I've gotten from my teacher, who won his audition for the Seattle Symphony about six years ago, was to play what shows all your ability and none of your weaknesses. I believe he won his audition playing Koussevitzky, but I think he wouldn't keep you from playing Dragonetti at an audition if you knew it would blow the panel away.
     
  11. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Please remember that in any given audition there are many non-bassists in the jury, sometimes they will outnumber bassists. This means that many adjudicators won't know how difficult or easy a piece is.
    I personally think that a really well played Dragonetti (or Hoffmeister for that matter) would work just as well as anything else, even in the ears of bassists.
     
  12. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    Yea, I heard a similar story from Rob Kesselman who's in the Philly Orchestra a few years back. For his Curtis audition all he had to play was Dragonetti. That said, it is true that times are changing rather quickly. You're going to be hard pressed to find someone winning a major orchestra gig these days playing something that isn't Koussevitzky, Bottesini, Dittersdorf or Vanhal. Not saying it doesn't/can't happen...you know what I mean. Besides, don't most orchestras more or less specify what they want as far as solos now?
     
  13. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    The winner of the most recent cello audition in the philly orchestra played the swan as his audition solo. You don't have to play the Tubin to show people that you are a great player.
     
  14. GirlBass

    GirlBass

    Jul 31, 2005
    New York
    sorry, I meant 'you' in the general sense, not you personally Ken :)

    I also wanted to add that I respect the ability of Hal and Eugene and didn't mean to belittle their success in anyway because they are fantastic musicians.

    The Dragonetti concerto has a solid place in the the bass repertoire, and serves its own purpose well. It was my first concerto and first real study in the thumb position and entry in to the world of harmonics all the way at the top of the fingerboard. But for professional auditions of the major orchestras in this country, I don't think it will cut it; however, for students and less competitive auditions it is fully acceptable.
     
  15. continuo77

    continuo77

    Mar 22, 2006
    It really is amazing how people can can get off track on this site. Thanks to the one person who could remain on the thread topic, and a seperate thank you to those of you who offered so much insight on the "Dragonetti" concerto.
    Again--- Is there anyone who is currently taking auditions, or already in a prof. orchestra who has an opinion on using the Hoffmeister Nr. 1 as an audition solo, if given the choice?
     
  16. prelims222

    prelims222

    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    My opinion is that unless you play the hell out of it. I mean seriously play it like no one else can - you are getting into trouble. It doesn't 'sound' that impressive when I've heard it performed, and it has a lot of double stops which can be trouble.

    Given the choice, _I_ wouldn't play it. If i was on a committee I think I'd be surprised to hear it and it might get my attention in that regard. If you played it well, it would be good, but thats obvious.
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Sorry, but Off Topic is a way of life here on TB. You have to take some bad with the good. Now, if you need to actually thank me, just hop in your car. I'm just off 78 down 309. While you're here, you can play your solo piece for me on one of my regularly admired Basses. Then, you can play the Dragonetti and I will tell you which one 'I' think sounds better under your Bow. Oh, and lunch would be on me for the performance and keeping my Bass warmed up.
     
  18. mcnaire2004

    mcnaire2004

    Jan 17, 2006
    everywhere
    Well on alot of symphony sites they have the Dragonetti in A as one of the concerto choises. I recently played the Dragonetti in G for a audition and I was told that the Dragonetti isn't that high of a difficulty level. And, as far as Continuo goes. Are you refering to "the Bottesini" as all of his concerto's? Or just one? I dislike his second Concerto but I think the first one is increadible. The Di Bravura and his Concerto for violin and bass is amazing to. If you only heard one of the Bottesini concerto's I urge you to listen to the rest. Even if you hate one the others are good. I listen to them (free) on rhapsody. It has Concerto No. 1(Gran Concerto in F sharpe minor), Concerto for bass and violin (Gran concerto for bass and violin), and it has the Edgar Meyer playing the Concerto No.2.
     
  19. bierbass

    bierbass

    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    20 years, its been a while now.;)
     
  20. JayR

    JayR

    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm sorry, I don't want to sound ignorant, but why is the Vanhal on the list with all those others? I've played both the Dragonetti and the Vanhal and honestly the Vanhal seems easier to me than the Dragonetti is. I mean, if not for the uber-high treble clef bits, it seems to me it would be about on par with the Capuzzi concerto for difficulty. Am I missing something here?

    I guess I'm just asking this because I can't stand the Vanhal concerto and it makes me kind of want to die thinking about playing it any more.
    ...Daaa dum daa deedledeedle daa......

    *shudder*
     

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