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Clarinet Lessons: Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, 3rd Movement

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In Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique,
in the third movement solo,
is one of the most wonderful
things to play in concert.
In auditions it's usually a little bit
trickier because you're by yourself and
it is very important to
keep a strict rhythm, but
making sure that it sounds like you're
fluid and everything is floating, okay?
Now, when we're playing in the orchestra,
we have two measures of pizzicato
[SOUND] so we actually have this very
nice little metronome going for
us while we're playing in the orchestra.
We don't even have to
look at the conductor.
You can play the solo and listen to
the pizzicatos right next to you and
that will definitely help.
Now, three things that you
have to be very careful about.
When we play this,
we start on the concert C, which is our D.
That note tends to actually ride a little
high on many brands of clarinets so
you actually have to be very
careful about that kind of stuff.
One of the things to make sure that the
instrument plays well is to remind you,
like we talked about it
intonation in one of the lessons.
You can go and check it out.
Here, just to remind you before you start,
I usually try to make sure that
I have pulled out enough in the middle
joint, so that then my D and
the G that are the next notes, that they
are perfectly in tune with each other.
We have a perfect fourth, but
then that we're not riding too high.
So always be mindful of that.
The other thing is that there
is also mezzo forte and
immediately there is a crescendo and
then it says dolce.
Sort of like in the Beethoven
approach to the clarinet.
Books for clarinets remember, the sound
is very nice and softer dynamics,
but it doesn't project.
So you have to have dynamics that tend
to be a little bit higher in order
to have presence.
But just like Beethoven, he puts dolce
to makes sure that it's a sweet sound.
Now let's not confuse dolce here for soft.
Sweet is not soft.
But what that means in this case is
just to make sure that we have enough of
the ring of the sound, but that we don't
get it to the maximum dynamic, okay.
Because we have a quadruple piano,
And then we have to do
pianissisimo as an echo.
So we have to give ourselves
the room to create that difference.
Now, when we do this
thing at the beginning,
put a little bit extra intensity on
the D so that the G doesn't pop out.
[SOUND] Echo, pianissisimo.
Now, for
one of the things.
This is one where, just always reminding
ourselves about the height and position.
And the intensity of the air.
The fast air will help us so
that then we don't bite and
we can maintain a nice sound.
Now whenever you practice this
always try to go over the cliff.
Meaning trying to play as
absolutely softly as you can, okay?
And therefore you will know
what your limit is and
then you will just run up
to the edge of the cliff.
And then, but
just don't throw yourself over.
So that then you have
a little bit of room.
So I then, we don't miss it, but
we have try to really show that.
Then after the pianissisimo
then we have an F sharp.
This F sharp always tends to sound
spready because it is our middle F sharp.
So I would recommend a A flat E flat
key for that note so that it has focus.
Like we talked about color in the
intonation lesson, now I remind you here.
This is the sound of
the F sharp as it comes
with what I call
the high-school fingering.
Which is the plain, easy fingering.
And it works
out okay, okay?
It works out okay, but
we're trying to make it great.
So, we're going to go for
the A flat E flat key, so
that then we can hear the difference.
I'll show you the difference now.
Therefore it would sound like this.
We can match the see, la,
fa with a nice focus.
Okay, so
then it has good quality of sound.
So we always try to match each of
the notes from the next from and to.
Now the other thing is when we do
the crescendo make sure to have enough
room so that then you can get a little
forsando on the high E, and for it not to
just get so extreme that we make it ugly.
Cause it has to be brilliant.
Brilliant is great, but not harsh, okay?
So that point, when we have this forsando,
we will taper the end of the note.
What I call the end sound.
How we create the end sound
is by maintaining the air.
Don't stop the note with the tongue,
but just taper the air.
If you'd like to submit this Berlioz
excerpt, here's what I'm looking for.
Nice tone, dynamic contrast.
And pay attention in the extreme
pianissimo and forsando.