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Solo Audition Pieces

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by Phil Smith, Aug 11, 2005.


  1. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I'm thinking about auditioning for the Greenwich Village Orchestra and would need to prepare two solo pieces to play. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Contra|Brett|

    Contra|Brett|

    Oct 6, 2004
    Play the solo peice you play the best. Since it's an orchestra, think about some orchestral excerpts.
     
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You see, that's the problem, I don't know any. :D
     
  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I would find a good classical teacher. Should be easy in your neck of the woods.
     
  5. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    If you have the Simandl I book (which you should), at the back there are several orchestral excerpts that are audition standards. I recommend that you look at the recitative from the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Listen to a recording, too, if you don't know the piece.

    It would be a good lick to play at the audition, and it's a fantastically musical excerpt that will give you a new appreciation for the instrument.
     
  6. I disagree with the Beethoven Nine idea. It's a nice piece of music, but it's not a very good excerpt. It doesn't show about your ability to work the bow, and isn't particularly fast or impressive (not that excerpts have to be, but it helps in some cases)

    I would recommend Beethoven Five, third movement Scherzo & Trio and a Mozart symphony (35, 39, 40, or 41).

    Good solo pieces which you could learn "quickly" would probably be the Eccles Sonata and the Capuzzi and Dittersdorf concerti.
     
  7. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Maybe, but for someone who purports not to know any orchestra music, the Ninth is a much easier place to start, and it's still musical.

    I wouldn't offer it up as my solo piece for the NY Phil audition, but consider the context.
     
  8. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    It's a standard excerpt. I've had to play it for well over half of the auditions that I have taken.
     
  9. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    +1 against this. The recits are extremely standard. I know that two openings ago this was the only excerpt on the BSO final round. Its an extremely important excerpt.

    I think that lots of people get too caught up on playing the hard excerpts. I think that, while it may get you to a certain point, just being able to hack your way through some of those nasty mozart passages or the beethoven 5 scherzo & trio doesn't really cut it. It is more important to play the parts well, with perfect time, perfect intonation, and admirable musicianship.

    The same goes for solos, sure it is kind of impressive to see someone play bottesini 2 and get through it, especially at a young age. But I would be more impressed by someone who could play the Eccles sonata and sound like Gary Karr doing it.
     
  10. G-force

    G-force

    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Oh PLease the recits, Not a good Idea ?
    since when ?
    Of course it is. Any piece which demands such bow and dynamic control as the Beethoven lick is among the upper tier of orchestral excerpts. It doesn't get any better than this.

    Anyone can be flashy and punch out a hammer stroke but the 9 recits demand a musician first and an instrumentalist second.
    Technique must be transcended here or it is just notes.
    When I studied with Both Homer Mensch and Roger Scott we spent many lessons going over the many different ways this excerpt might be played. It is not like Mozart 40 or Haffner BUT that is why it is such a great excerpt.

    Lyrical but not cheezy

    The bass is not used as a percussion instrument or an extension of continuo ,but a real instrumental "voice". A prelude of what is to come. If the bass section plays this well the tenor can just whistle and the point is made.

    This is the beauty of the Beethoven. I don't know of many other excerpts which are so grand as this one.

    It is drama, it is Shakespeare not a NASCAR race

    That being all said and done. A little hammer stroke goes a long way......
    G
     
  11. G-force

    G-force

    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    AND ANOTHER THING. Of course excerpts have to be impressive. That is the point.
    Otherwise my awesome open string sound will just blow the jury away.
     
  12. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    For me, the first page of the Mahler Second Symphony is not far behind.
     
  13. G-force

    G-force

    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
  14. ahem.

    It seems to me that the request was for "solos". I don't think excerpts from orchestra parts fit the bill at all.

    'Though the "excerpt" from Die Meistersinger in the back of the Simandl books does get presented as a "solo" at some school music assoc. "contests"....
     
  15. Well that's all really great for you, but I still don't think it would be a good excerpt if you only have time for two or three. I know it gets requested at auditions where the panel has the time to hear more diverse repertoire, but this does not show much in the way of what the bassist can do in a section.

    I'm not talking out of my ass. I've spoken at length with Bruce Bransby about excerpts and auditions, and he consistently brings up the Beethoven 9 recitative and the bit from Othello as "horrible" excerpts for fast-paced auditions. He said he and Mr. Hurst at Indiana University tend to ignore anyone who auditions with those pieces. He says they typically are looking for bow control/ability and dexterity in the left hand. The Beethoven doesn't show much of either of these things.
     
  16. G-force

    G-force

    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    I don't think you are talking out of your ass.
    I just don't agree with Mr Bransby then.
     
  17. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    As to solos vs orchestral pieces, the person playing the audition was looking for guidance on both. Some of us were trying to help.

    On the matter of the Beethoven 9 recits, context is somewhat relevant.

    Our friend is not auditioning for the Boston Symphony, or even for Larry Hurst at the Indiana conservatory.

    He's (apparently) an orchestral newcomer auditioning for a no-pay, amateur orchestra that has announced openings for "all strings."

    The orchestra is not trying to see if players are competent pros. They're trying to see if players can play at all.

    In that context, the Beethoven 9 recits are a great choice.

    And, pace Mr. Hurst and Mr. Bransby, the fact that the recits were the
    only excerpt requested at a recent BSO audition (I think that's a pretty fair orchestra, with a pretty fair bass section, led by a Mr. Barker who's supposed to know something about the instrument) MIGHT suggest that they're not a particularly dumb lick to know for anyone.

    In the end, though, it's not necessarily an either/or proposition. Anyone in our friend's position should get an excerpt book (from Lemur Music or elsewhere), take a look at the excerpts that have been mentioned and others, and consider what honestly shows his ability in the best light. They're all good to learn.
     
  18. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Maybe you could ask the GVO and see what they recommend?
     
  19. Well, the original request was for "two solo pieces". Probably the best suggestion was from Johnny L: just ask the GVO for some guidelines!

    The BSO had a rather lengthy list. I wonder in which case or which "round" the recits are claimed to have been the only request. It is... not unusual for the Recitatives to play a large part in the FINAL ROUND, with a conductor; usually requested by the conductor.

    I agree with the idea that the recitatives are not a great display piece for a quick audition, which is what Hurst and B.Bransby were quoted as talking about - they're usually most useful at the end of the audition process, after many other things have been demonstrated.

    That said, the recits do make it pretty clear VERY quickly which people have actually performed Beethoven 9, and which ones haven't....
     
  20. kraid

    kraid

    Apr 11, 2003

    Mr. Hurst told me that it's the most important except for an audition that I'll ever see when I studied with him. So...yeah.