The selection of music for my audition encompasses a wide variety of musical eras. These pieces represent a range of challenges with each piece bringing out different technical and interpretational aspects. I have chosen to play the J.
S. Bach Flute Sonata in E Flat Major, the Mozart Flute Concerto in G Major, and the Ibert Flute Concerto.Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer of the Baroque period.
He is regarded by many to be the greatest composer of all time. Many musicologists suggest that other composers wrote parts of this sonata. This sonata flaunts the simple harmonies, ornamented melodies and light texture seen in many other compositions from the 1730s. The form of the sonata is reminiscent of Vivaldi’s concertos, with three movements, as opposed to the four-movement church sonatas of the past. The piece was written for flute accompanied by a harpsichord.
The first movement, an allegro, opens with a harpsichord introduction and maintains a basic rhythm throughout the entire movement. In contrast, the flute has more sustained and lyrical material. This movement is followed by a siciliano, the slow movement of the sonata. The harpsichord plays a simple accompaniment, with the flute’s haunting melody layered over it.
The Bach, while it looks somewhat easy at first glance, requires a knowledgeable interpretation of the baroque style, a difficult feat. The flutes in the baroque age were very different than the modern day flutes, requiring much less air. This difference creates difficulties in keeping the true essence of the piece as Bach had intended. While learning this piece, I was able to try a baroque flute to further understand how the music should be interpreted. During my junior year, I began to take lessons with Cleveland Orchestra flutist, Saeran St.
Christopher. Together we tackled the difficult language of Bach through reading extensively on how to interpret the sonata and by listening to numerous musicians on a variety of instruments.Despite the fact that Mozart found the flute of the time unbearable, his concertos have become standard repertoire for flutists worldwide. Mozart only finished two of the three flute concertos that were commissioned by De Jean in December 1777. The Concerto in G Major shows the virtuosity of the flutist while exhibiting an aura of grace and elegance.
The piece is scored for a standard orchestra, and is three movements long, the traditional length of a concerto. For my audition portfolio, I will be playing the first two movements of the concerto. The first movement offers many opportunities for the flute to shine, including a final cadenza. The second movement, an adagio, is graceful and elegant, with many ornamented phrases presented by the flute, including a cadenza towards the end of the movement.I began to study the Mozart Concerto when I was in eighth grade.
Through the years of learning this concerto, I have found that my musicality and sense of the piece has evolved. At first, I was focused only on the complex notes written on the page. Through further study, I was able to analyze the piece and its phrasing, making it more musical. Jacques Ibert (1890-1962), a French composer, is seen as a true original. He wrote a wide range of music, some that are very light, while others are dark, chronicling the horrors of World War II.
He wrote for many different performances, such as background music for a festival to his seven operas, five ballets, film scores, and other orchestral pieces. His music borders on eclectic, independent from the compositional traditions of the time. Ibert was commissioned by the legendary flutist, Marcel Moyse, to write the flute concerto, and debuted under the baton of another famous flutist, Phillipe Gaubert. It is said that some of the motives in the concerto were inspired by Ibert hearing Moyse’s warmups.
The music begins with action, the flute moving the music forward, in strings of constant sixteenth notes, creating a jumpy, brilliant, flirtatious, and restless tone throughout the first movement. The second movement poses a very different challenge, finding ways to maintain a beautiful, dreamy phrase without interruption by breathlessness, due to the scarce availability of breaths. The flute gently sings a twisted reverie, constantly modifying the theme with different instrumentation and ornamentation. The third and final movement is quite jazzy, alternating time signatures constantly. Daredevil jumps, quick scales, finger-tangling melodies, and ornamented tunes are seen throughout the entire piece; with Ibert demanding the best out of his soloist. The ending of the concerto is explosive and dramatic, a decisive moment in the piece. While I am only submitting the second movement on the initial application, I would be prepared to play the entire concerto in a second audition if necessary. The Ibert concerto is one of the hardest pieces I have ever encountered.
The technical nature of the first and third movements is incredibly random and difficult to perform fluently. I had to learn how to practice more efficiently and effectively to decrease the overuse injury on my hand and fingers due to the technical movements in the concerto. These two fast, finger-wiggling movements have an extremely slow movement in the middle.
I encountered some difficulty to remain lyrical with limited places to breathe. By challenging me through the technical, lyrical and interpretation difficulties of these pieces, I have begun to understand my musical self. These pieces have pushed me to become a better musician by analyzing the pieces more, listening to others interpretations and teaching me how to practice more efficiently.