Final comments on the Rhapsody starting at the recapitulation, m. 43. Symbol for alternate fingering. Octave designations. Practice methods for the last cadenza. Flicking. Harmonic fingering for E flat 3. By Terry B. Ewell. Bassoon Digital Professor #106. www.2reed.net.
<Music: Last page cadenza portion of Osborne’s Rhapsody for Bassoon>
Well, you made it to the last video in this series on Osborne’s Rhapsody for Bassoon. At this point we will be handling the music that starts a measure 43. This is the recapitulation of the piece and goes to the end. Here we have the term come prima given. This means like the beginning, coming back to the beginning. This is not the same term as a tempo.
Now as you turn the page, as you go to the last page of music I hope that a photocopy of this page so that you all three pages of the composition out. You don’t need to turn your page and have the distraction during the performance.
The last page should have some of your finest performance and the most passionate expression that you can give: with great expression, con gran espressione. Play out here; agitated with stringendo; a little bit faster here; then lento. There is really a lot of different pushing forward and pulling back in this area of the composition.
Throughout my videos and music that I have played I often indicate alternate fingerings on the instrument. During my student days I would use a triangle to indicate an alternate fingering. Here for the G flat because that was the most common alternate fingering I used. The triangle represented to me that key (F sharp) that looked a little bit like a triangle near the low F key. But as I played as a professional I needed to reserve that triangle for another purpose.
Here it is for a rhythmic purpose. Here I show beats in Stravinsky’s Story of a Soldier, L’histoire du soldat. Each vertical dash here represents an eighth note. “One two, one two, one two…” and I use the triangle here for a beat with three components, here three sixteenths. Then going on to the 7/16 measure “one two, one two three, one two.” This is the way I think of (count internally) the passage.
So you can see that I needed to reserve the triangle for these complex rhythmic passages. So as a result I started to use the upside down “A” indicating an alternate fingering. In this way I had a unique symbol that could represent my alternate fingerings.
So let’s take a look at why we need to have the alternate F sharp key down to go up to B flat. Well, B flat has the thumb engaged here. If you use the F sharp key here you will have to leap your thumb over the E key (or what we call the “pancake” key), then you will not have a smooth connection. Instead, by using the alternate F sharp key—here it looks like a triangle a little bit—playing it with you little finger, at the next note you with the B flat key. This makes a much smoother transition.
Let me talk about the octave designations I use in my video. I use the numbering system that was established by the Acoustical Society of America many decades ago. This is the common numbering system used by music theorists in the USA. C4 is middle C. Each C in the octave designates a new number. This low C on bassoon is C2. Go up to the next C for C3. The next C is C4, etc. If you need to review or see more about this you can see my video here that is on the connexions site, cnx.org [http://cnx.org/content/m22936/latest/?collection=col10714/latest]
There is a very important sudden piano in measure 57. We have also had earlier in the music another sudden piano. You need to carefully play this. Here is the music in that section.
<Music: measures 56-57>
Well, I really enjoy this hemiolo right before the cadenza. Here is says fiery, a tempo. Notice the beamings here. He is bringing out the duples here, the way the beat is grouped into two here. You need to play this hemiola, the play on rhythm.
Elsewhere in the music, just a few measures later, in measures 62-64 there are rhythmic complexities. There is a division, or sub-division of the beat into five components. This is followed then by a triplet, another triplet, and then two notes, dividing the beat in half. One of the things I do when I have transitions from one pattern to the next or transitions in subdivisions is that I subdivide in my mind if I have the opportunity to do so. I go from a pattern of five and then I think in my mind three notes (during this quarter note) in order to set up the triplet that follows, the next three notes. Again thinking in three, then following up with the next three notes.
I suggest that you practice this with a metronome slowly, making sure that you meet each beat. The subdivisions of each beat must be divided evenly so that one note is not longer or held beyond other note values.
Now we made it to the cadenza! This is a real finger twister here. I suggest that you practice the cadenza with multiple rhythmic patterns. I have set up for you six of them. You could go on and create another twenty or thirty. These are some of the common ones that I have found helpful. I take a longer note followed by three notes in a triplet: “da tri-po-let da tri-po-let da.” I reverse that: “tri-po-let da tri-po-let da da.” Here one that is a long note followed by two short notes: “da- dada da- dada da-.” Reverse that: “dada da- dada da- da-.” Here is one that is quicker. “Da” followed by four notes “dadadada da- dadadada da-.” So imposing those rhythmic patterns over the notes in the music will give you new expertise over this passage.
<Music: last cadenza>
Well, let converse more about flicking. Many people don’t think about flicking the E flat 4 on bassoon. But it is really quite helpful in these places where you slur down from the higher register to E flat 4 to flick the C sharp key. I encourage you in that section to use that flick key.
Now here is a figure with the standard flick keys. Typically this is the D flick; B flat, B, C; A and B flat flick keys. I have spoken elsewhere about flicking. You might want to look other videos or articles on that if you are not familiar with the venting or flicking technique on the bassoon.
Well, last of all we get to the very difficult slur at the end of this composition. Sol Schoenbach writes about that in his article, that he had great difficulty with it in his recording session with Osborne. Osborne insisted that it be slurred and not tongued at all.
My solution is perhaps unique in that I use a harmonic fingering for E flat 3. In the article I wrote on the Osborne Rhapsody this is the fingering I recommended. You play a low D and you vent or half-hole this first hole here. You might even want to leave the finger off altogether. It is a little bit better in tune with the half hole, however.
However, a student of mine, Joe Thornburg, had an even better solution. That was to leave this hole open altogether. This is the hole that is covered by the left hand third finger. That is what I use in this video. The low E flat, E flat 2, is with the normal fingering.
I wish in this recording that I had played that last E flat a little bit flatter. It sounds sharp to my ear. Here is that ending passage again.
<Music: ending of the Rhapsody>
One of my most treasured possessions is this needlepoint that my mother made when she was taking all of the kids to music lessons. She was faithfully ferrying (transporting) us around to music lessons year after year. On this you see the piano keyboard, all four children studied piano. The bassoon is obviously there for me. My siblings studied string instruments. One brother studied violin, one brother cello. My sister studied violin as well as harp.
When I am looking at this needlepoint I am reminded how my mother carefully stitched a beautiful pattern into this. In much the same way I see God working in our lives. He can stitch a beautiful pattern into your life, if you submit yourself to Him and allow Him to work in your life. I encourage you to do that. Let Him make a beautiful needlepoint out of your life. Turn to Him and I think that you will be gloriously thrilled with what He does in your life. God bless you.
<Music: ending of the Rhapsody>