Orefici Melodic Studies

Orefici's Melodic Study #3. Discussion about Orefici turning something ugly into a beautiful melody. Performance of the 3rd study by Terry B. Ewell. BDP #328. www.2reed.net.

[Music: Orefici’s Melodic Study #5, performed by Terry B. Ewell]

Well, Orefici’s Study #3 is one of my favorites in this collection. I seem to never tire from listening to it because it is so unusual.

However, for a student who is playing this for the first time it seems like something as foreign as if you dropped in music from Neptune. I must confess that I fully understand this. For instance, take the very first measures, the first phrase.


This is not a particularly beautiful collection of notes. We have a melody here which is disjunct, it leaps all over the place. It doesn’t even stay in the key signature given here—B flat major. We are not even sure what key it is in quite frankly! It starts on a D (Re) and ends on an E natural (Mi). It is quite confusing. In fact, I would say that it is pretty ugly.

The genius of Orefici is that he takes something ugly and by the end of the study you think it is one of the most beautiful things that you have ever heard. Again, I think of one of my favority verses, Ecclesiastes 3:11. “He makes everything beautiful in its time.” Here Orefici takes the ugly and makes it beautiful be the time we get to the end.

This melody features delayed resolutions and it has an operatic style and movement to it. All of that has to be brought out within basically two dynamics: piano and pianissimo. Now, there are a few crescendos within piano, but never go to forte. This is all done delicately within those dynamics, working with your tone color. Reed making is so important; work on the tip and all of that. This all has to be part of that, something beautiful, something that feeds your soul, something that you can enjoy.

[Performance of Orefici’s Melodic Study #3]

[Music: Orefici’s Melodic Study #5, performed by Terry B. Ewell]
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