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Clarinet Lessons: Beethoven - Symphony #8, 3rd Movement

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Beethoven Symphony #8,
the trio of the minuet is always another
tricky one that we have to deal with.
One of the things that makes it
extra difficult is that we have so
many register changes, and
therefore there is a lot
of different kinds of resistances
that a lot of instruments have.
By the way, just so you know, in
Beethoven's time, this is one of those few
extras where the original instrument
in the boxwood is actually easier to
play an excerpt like this,
because the boxwood is much more resonant.
So then [LAUGH], the smoothness in between
registers comes out with much more ease.
Now, it doesn't project as well,
and the sound is not as
intense as we would like it now, so
now we have to sweat a little bit, okay?
So the things that are expected
from an excerpt like
this is clear dynamic changes and
smooth register changes, okay?
Now, in order to work on that,
I would say is that we have
to dissect the excerpt into
the things that make it difficult,
like the big lips,
such as going from E to D and C.
such as this one.
We have to practice that one.
And then going from the upper clarion
D to the C to smooth out that altissimo
register to their clarion so
That we have to practice.
And then, of course,
the slurs from the Ds to the Gs.
Now there are so
many different fingering for those.
I would say that you have three
that are actually liked very much,
but it depends on the instrument
that you play on.
The high G is very nice.
If you play, to me,
if you're playing a buffet clarinet,
the best high G fingering is one,
three, one, three.
And the A flat E flat key,
of course, full thumbs.
So a full thumb, one, three, one, three,
it actually slurs very nicely and
it has a very nice color.
And even if like, let's say that
the note may have, we have a little
accident in performance when the other
sound the note pops out because
the color is round Is still we sound
instead of
which still sounds nice instead of
Okay, so that one is a very nice one.
Now the other one that I like is one,
three, one,
two with the A flat E flat key.
That one also is a very nice fingering.
Let me just you a little bit about the D
to G with the one, three, one, three.
And then one, three with one,
three, one, two.
This one, one, three, one, two,
has an easier way of speaking.
It has literacy sense so
it comes out better.
So depending on how you read Es etc.,
it usually, I would say this
one is the safest bet because it
speaks very nicely and very quickly.
Now it tends to be a little bit sharper,
so sometimes if
you want to actually play a baritone
tune I would add the F sharp,
C sharp key, the low F sharp,
C sharp to the A flat,
E flat keys so that then we go,
And then you have a fourth
that is nice instead of
which it sounds a little bit too sharp.
Now I would say there is one very
important thing to be thinking about.
Auditions and playing in the job
are completely different things.
Now, in an audition you want to show how
much control you have about your pitch,
and your beautiful sound,
and the intonation.
And since you're playing this piece, and
you're having people that are listening
that have to play In that high register
much more often and they are comfortable,
then you have to appeal to those people,
meaning you cannot be
shooting high all the time.
So then the flute players, if you wanna
make friends with your flute players,
then do not play those notes so
high, okay?
Now, but on the job, one of the funny
things that happened is that it's in
the third movement of the piece, the stage
lights are going, people are sweating.
And they are not only
a challenging excerpt for
the clarinet, but
we have two horns playing in duet.
And then you have the cellos.
Now horns will tend to play,
let's say that we give our colleagues the
benefit of the doubt and they'll be okay.
They tend, hardly ever, you will hear
them go low in something like this,
which means that you have to have
your fourth and your fifth and
your tonic with a good room for
it to be actually a little bit high.
It will be very seldom that you
will actually be playing that and
then you have to play your tonic
exactly right or try to play it lower.
In other words, sometimes they play
a little high, shh, but that is the truth.
So then we just have to be prepared for
So that means that the high G has to be,
when we play it,
we have to be sort of in tune when we're
checking with the lie detector, the tuner,
we have to have it that it hits
the right spot, or it still sounds
right if you give yourself a little
room up to about five cents sharpness.
It's actually okay and you can get away
with it so long as the sound is okay.
So you don't have to go
that's exactly in tune.
You can go
It's a little bit higher but
we can get away with it.
So let's just always remember
the work of the smoothing
out the D to G and the B to D.
Now the last thing that I would suggest
is the last high G is usually easier
if we actually do not articulate it,
because there's always sometimes
there is a little slowing down before
the end of the trio to the recap.
It depends on the conductor, etc.
So you have to show that you are aware
of it, so you don't play it straight.
But it was a little placing of the high G.
So in order to place it,
I'd still be pianissimo as it's asking,
I would suggest go with a he attack.
So it's an air attack,
tee-da-he like
Instead of
you can get away with it but
I think the he will guarantee
a smoother approach no matter
whether you have your reed that
is strong or soft, or perfect or
imperfect, is actually a much better,
smoother bet.
Well, another thing that makes this
excerpt a little bit
difficult is that we are so
busy with all the leaps,
etc., that we forget
the stylistic markings
that we have to follow.
Now, in Beethoven,
from his first symphony, he goes for
the third movement of a symphony.
Instead of being the traditional minuet,
from the first get go, he made a scherzo.
His first symphony has a scherzo,
the third, the fourth, the fifth,
the sixth, the seventh.
And then when we get to the eighth,
then he thinks,
let's just go back to having a more
traditional Haydn-esque kind of a minuet.
But the difference is that his minuet is
still a little bit on the faster side,
So then it's still very much
in the Beethoven realm.
Now the things that I'm talking about in
terms of the minuet style is that we have
to go back to the very classical
style of remembering that there is
a lift of the last slurred note
before we do an articulation.
So that then it makes it tricky because we
have to have a lift on the high B which
is very volatile and very easy to pop,
and then we have the staccato B.
So that is what makes
that thing difficult.
Many times we hear people that go,
play slurred because there's a slur and
then just a staccato on the B.
But that is just a way of doing
it in the Romantic era style.
And therefore, we miss the point of
the acuteness that Beethoven with
all this symphony experience and
having created this new world.
Then he is going back a little bit.
He is going retro, but in his own way.
Thus, the B has to have a lift,
the D after the slurs.
So we need this.
there's a lift.
Lift, staccato and then we go.
Do not play
It is easier to do.
But it's not what we're supposed to do.
That's how come they
put it in an audition.
Because it's hard.
If it was easy, then they wouldn't
be putting it in an audition.
And then, the other one that is
extremely important is the
You see that there is a little bit of a
flatness to it [SOUND] instead of [SOUND].
So those little things
are extremely important.
And those are the things that make
an excerpt like this very difficult for
the precision of articulation as movement.
Now the other thing is just
like in the solo in the end of
Beethoven's Sixth Symphony
in the first movement,
this one the marking says dolce, okay.
But what is our last dynamic?
Our last dynamic is forte again.
And we have to be thinking historically
speaking with a boxer clarinet having
to play against two french horns and
cellos going in triplets.
Of course, you have to have enough
volume in order to project, okay.
So in order to make sure it's
still a beautiful sound,
then Beethoven puts dolce.
Dolce does not mean soft,
it means sweet, okay.
So let's make sure that
when we play this solo,
one of the advantages is that we
get to play with a full sound.
So for the F, instead of forte, instead
of thinking loud, just think full sound.
F is for fullness of sound.
That way we think roundness and
beauty, and
that way it gives us a little bit of
room for the reed to vibrate properly.
If you'd like
to submit this
Beethoven except,
here’s what
I’m looking
for, clear,
dynamic changes,
smoothness of
register changes.
Pay attention to the intonation
of the high D and the high G, so
that they don’t get too sharp.
And make sure that the dynamic changes,
while precise,
must also keep the music sounding
natural and in a singing style.
Before you submit your video, be sure to
watch the other video exchanges on this
excerpt, and
see what I have told the other students.
Once you have done that, submit your
video, and I'll take a look and
give you some feedback.