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Violin Lessons: Strauss - Ein Heldenleben Reh. 22 - Reh. 31

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Ein Heldenleben is the longest and
most important of the concertmaster solos
it provides a lot of learning
opportunities and
a lot of sound opportunities in
This is because there are so many
characters contained in this solo.
Literally it's only one character, which
is the so-called hero's wife.
The thing is that the wife doesn't just
have one side to her personality.
She has every side, she's harping on the
other times coaxing, other times being
really sweet, pleading, laughing.
So all of these have to be evoked by the
concert master when played by the violin.
So there's, we'll get in to all of that.
The main thing to remember is that
there are episodes here where you have
lots of time at your disposal, time for
the sound to develop and time for the
sound to reach all the parts of the hall.
And there are other sections where things
have to be articulated very quickly.
So you need to know the difference and
fill these passages accordingly.
The very beginning is such a place where
you have almost unlimited time.
You never wanna hold a sound staying the
same though, so
you change your bow at that exact moment
when the sound can't develop anymore.
If at any point you feel that you're
pressing the bow then you're,
you're trying, you're probably trying to
move the bow too slowly.
You need to free up the bow a little bit
just let the natural ring of the violin
take care of the projection.
The concert masters all by, you're all by
yourself at this moment so
there's no need to have to, to have to
really work for it.
A little further down the page, I have
some repeated F sharps.
You need to find a way to make those
develop when you're playing in the context
of the orchestra, that's easy because
there's harmony there,
there's a tune going on underneath it.
In an audition though, you have to just be
Usually you can
use the A string either for
the repeated ones or
for the last one.
And the nice, nice slide into the last one
to signal that it's time to
change characters which it does this
become very very active.
That is a diminuendo at the very
end of the page, the harmonics.
So no weird harmonic acc, accent there
just has to fade away.
[NOISE] looking at the character before 26
this is very tender on the D string and
then suddenly it changes again.
These notes that are really thrown,
you have to get some height on that and
like the Scheherazade third movement solo,
I like it a little lower in the bow to get
more control.
You need to blend the off-the-string notes
seamlessly into the slurred notes to get
the best effect.
And the harmonic at the end of this
passage does the,
that ends big, that ends up.
The [FOREIGN] that comes next, that has to
be maximum character also,
very, very sharp, very almost a strident
And then the double stops make it a little
You have to somehow project two voices
coming up.
So fingerings here,
you will have to be
able to tuck the third
finger down very low.
I move up there, so
that I avoid switching fingers.
The three has to tuck very
mode to make a perfect fit.
And now,
over the tie before you
switch to the E flat,
warm the sound up quite
a bit for the [FOREIGN].
And of course the wife
never stays the same from
one moment to the next.
So you have to be ready for quite an
interesting passage.
So once that
starts building,
it can't stop.
It has to get quicker and louder and the
more virtuosic.
Let's look at a passage which
should best be described as laughing.
And then
sweet at the very
end again.
The Lustig, that's marked later,
that's could be, could be described as a,
a prank,
merry or prankish that too has to build
And starts with a very light touch and
then gets very heavy indeed and the
the notes as you can see on the page, and
the harmony gets very strange.
And it does end suddenly like that,
no one knows where it's going,
gets back to that that
very warm sound with the double
stops, again two voices.
So you'll see,
I only sustain one
of the voices.
I don't always play, I don't always hold
the two voices.
I feel this puts, puts them in a little
better relief.
The sound should remain calm and, and
Now if you look
before rehearsal 31 that
needs to be just about
as rough as possible,
it's very angry.
So that, all the notes and
chords at once and
just give it everything you have.
This is it's as much of a contrast to the,
to the calm sound as you can imagine.
So the challenge in all this, you see how
many characters there are and
how quickly it changes from one to the
So you have to maximize your time when you
have it because this,
this whole solo is very free.
You maximize the time to develop your
sound when you have that chance and
then be ready to change on a dime.
That's what takes repeated practice,
is being a schizophrenic as the character
of the wife calls for.