Brahms Fourth Symphony has many excerpts
that are commonly asked in auditions, and
one of them is the very opening of the
The difficulty here is that there are so
You're required to shape the music, of
course, through the rests.
And anytime there's a rest,
there's a danger of the note following the
rest, resembling an accent.
So that's your first challenge, how to
play into the rest and
come out of the rest smoothly.
Now so far,
that's a little shapeless.
It would be nice to tie two bars together
using a natural falling motion of the
Now you don't want to exaggerate
that too much because in the next bar,
you actually have the hairpin marked.
[NOISE] And it's a much larger interval.
So you want to save room for that.
So the whole line might sound something
Now, coming up
that, that was the first
hairpin that's marked.
Next we have actual pairs of hairpins, and
that's all under one giant hairpin
So you need to make the shape within the
half note but
have those shapes progress one to the
Now if you'll look before rehearsal
A you have a nice, juicy octave shift,
and that can be done on the D string or
the G string, if you're comfortable.
I like the sound of the G string.
That's usually what a section would do.
For such a big shift like that,
you want to keep bow pressure into
the string during the shift.
As well as enough bow speed,
I like to think of the bow as, as fuel for
You also want quality sound on the arrival
note, not just the next bow.
Sometimes I'll hear
it's only on the up-bow that you get the
Instead you want quality on the down-bow
Now, after rehearsal A, there are a lot of
string crossings, those, of course, you
want as smoothly as possible.
There's one where I find I, I don't have a
great way to
avoid a double string crossing, but that
There's the crossing from the A to the G
string, and as long as you taper it off,
it won't be too, too bothersome.
Now every time you have that rhythm of a
half note tied to an eighth note,
you need to count the eighths all the way
through the long notes.
Those are easy to cut short, and then you
have a kind of an asymmetrical rhythm.
So you want to imagine that phantom third
But the eighths
are going all the time.
Near the end of this excerpt, when you
finally get up to a more sustained forte,
make sure that, that's with quality.
Set the down-bows near the bridge but
at a place where you're gonna have a
That the sound
never gets harsh there to
close out this except.