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  • SARAH WILLIS: Hi, I'm Sarah Willis and I'm standing on

  • the stage of the big hall in the Philharmonie in Berlin.

  • And I've been asked to do a mini, mini master class for the

  • horn players who are applying to be part of the YouTube

  • Symphony Orchestra.

  • It's got to be a mini, mini master class I'm afraid, but

  • I'm hoping that some of the things I can say might be of

  • some help while preparing for the audition.

  • The excerpt I chose is the fourth horn solo from

  • Beethoven's Ninth Symphony because it looks on paper maybe

  • to be the most uninteresting of all the solos.

  • But it in addition, it's quite hard to play because you stand

  • on stage or you're sitting at home in your living room and

  • you have to convince the audience or the jury that it's

  • not just a bunch of long notes but that you hear that there

  • are woodwinds playing with you, and you make some sort of music

  • out of this long, long passage.

  • Standing here I just remembered the last time I stood on this

  • stage and played this excerpt was in my own audition

  • for this orchestra.

  • So yeah, it's bringing back a lot of memories.

  • So let's start.

  • You all have the music.

  • I have the music in front of me.

  • And I was thinking about a tempo, there are all sorts of

  • different tempos for this piece-- it says adagio, I

  • thought maybe the average tempo taken from the few conductors

  • that I've played it with would be about quarter

  • note equals 52.

  • So that might be some sort of a basis for you to

  • practice with a metronome.

  • The other thing is to make sure you know the score

  • and now what's going on.

  • This whole pot is a dialogue between the two clarinets,

  • the bassoon, and the horn.

  • The horn is sometimes in accompaniment, the horn is

  • sometimes a solo instrument, and you need to show that you

  • know that in the audition part.

  • So with a dry mouth, having spoken to much, I'll try and

  • play a bit of it for you.

  • [horn being played]

  • Here comes the bar you're all waiting for.

  • This next bar I have a little tip that has always helped

  • me, maybe it will help you.

  • To play the low notes-- they have to sound just as easy as

  • all the other notes and for a lot of us they're

  • quite a struggle.

  • My tip would be to open up the hand for the low notes,

  • otherwise they sound a little bit muffled.

  • Like this--

  • [horn being played]

  • Also the F have to be sharp enough, it's often very flat.

  • So the more you open up the hand, the sharper it'll get.

  • After the F there comes the jump up to the F above

  • and the C sharp.

  • A good conductor should wait for you to get up there,

  • but he won't wait all day.

  • So in the audition you need to take a tiny bit of time,

  • but still get up there.

  • So--

  • [horn being played]

  • That whole passage as you know is mainly horn solo.

  • You have the clarinets and a flute comes and weaves around,

  • but that whole passage can be played out a little bit

  • more and the crescendos, diminuendos very expressive.

  • Then you have the long F to hold before the biggest

  • solo of the excerpt.

  • This long F is time to just sort of gather your

  • thoughts, stop your beating heart, whatever.

  • But still, keep the triplets of the violins going while

  • you hold out this note.

  • They're going dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah,

  • dah, dah, dah, dah.

  • It helps.

  • I just find it helps to keep the concentration.

  • And then comes the one bar that says solo.

  • It's maybe the biggest fourth horn solo in

  • the whole repertoire.

  • And you can do this how you want.

  • Some people play it with a little slur in it.

  • Some people play it tongued.

  • Some people do a huge ritardando, rubato,

  • however you feel.

  • But whatever it is it's got to be convincing.

  • How I like to play it is like this:

  • [horn being played]

  • The last two bars obviously aren't solo anymore, but the

  • crescendo is there and you'll impress a jury if you show

  • them you know that's leading in to the next passage.

  • OK, now for something completely different, and even

  • though I'm a low horn player, and maybe I shouldn't be giving

  • tips about Till Eulenspiegel.

  • I sit next to a lot of solo horns who've

  • played this in my time.

  • And maybe a couple of tips, you of course, can hear this solo

  • on thousands of recordings and there are different

  • ways to play it.

  • A couple of tips for me would be to really make sure that

  • you do what Strauss wanted.

  • For example, the beginning of Till Eulenspiegel

  • it says gemachlich.

  • That means leisurely in English or sort of taking your time.

  • And what Strauss meant was Till Eulenspiegel was a really--

  • he was a real scoundrel.

  • He was a very naughty guy and he caused a lot of trouble.

  • And this was his first appearance in the piece.

  • When this theme appears it's always representing

  • Till Eulenspiegel.

  • This is his first appearance and he's not quite sure-- he's

  • sort of sticking his head out and seeing if the

  • coast is clear.

  • It would be nice to play it a little bit like that because

  • when it comes to the second time he's more self assured and

  • he's showing what he can do.

  • So really take it seriously what Strauss says and play the

  • beginning a little bit leisurely, a little bit sort of

  • looking out to see if the coast is clear.

  • And gradually, getting more lively and getting more

  • confidence as it goes on.

  • I'm going to try and play it even though

  • I'm a low horn player.

  • When else do I have the opportunity to play this?

  • [horn being played]

  • A tip would be, also like I said in the Beethoven Ninth for

  • the last two notes-- the G and the C-- is to open the hand a

  • little bit more because it just makes the low notes a lot

  • clearer and just be careful they're not

  • too sharp of course.

  • But it really does help in the low range to

  • play a bit more open.

  • So that was Till.

  • Those were my ideas for Till and I wish you all the best,

  • and looking forward to hearing all the different versions.

SARAH WILLIS: Hi, I'm Sarah Willis and I'm standing on

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B1 dah dah horn solo played play audition

Berliner Philharmoniker Master Class - Horn

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    YO posted on 2017/10/02
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