Orefici Melodic Studies

Introduction to Orefici's Melodic Studies. Terry B. Ewell presents the pedagocial strengths of the studies and discusses why they are one of his favorite collections. BDP #325. www.2reed.net.

[Music: Orefici Melodic Study #4, performed by Terry B. Ewell]

Well, welcome. This is Terry Ewell and I am quite excited to bring to you this new series on the Melodic Studies by Alberto Orefici. This is one of my favorite collections to teach.

Now you are probably aware that I have taught the Weissenborn studies over the web. I have put together 55 videos on the 50 Weissenborn Studies. That is a marvelous collection. I appreciate what Weissenborn has given to us. That collection certainly develops well the bassoonist through high school and into early college. Those studies are a wonderful collection of melodies, a wonderful collection of technical issues and things. By the time you have completed those 50 studies you have really had a good foundation in the technique of the bassoon.

The Orefici Studies, however, are quite different than the Weissenborn Studies. These twenty studies are all melodic in character. The emphasis is less on technique or technical challenges and more on musical issues. For this reason it takes a bit more maturity to play these than the Weissenborn studies. All be it the Weissenborn Studies certainly at the end are extremely demanding with the high register. But here you have something melodic, something unusual. One of the things I like about this—I have taught for over forty years with private lessons—is that I have never tired of listening to my students play these studies. They are so unusual and in fact refreshing.

Now, one of the reasons I love them is that I have a lot of students come to me and study with me at my university and they often do not fluently read the tenor clef. Well, by the time you finish the twenty Orefici Studies you will read tenor clef very well. You will see notes in the tenor clef like low F that you will see no where else in anybody else’s studies or the repertoire. So, they are great for gaining a command of the tenor clef.

Also, they are wonderful for gaining a command of melody. They are terrific for learning connections of line, rubato, all of that is in these Studies. But they are incredibly beautiful as well.

You do not have enough beauty in your life. This is an issue. We live in a world that often confronts us with ugliness, with harsh realities, with confusing situations. I want to bring to you something that is beautiful. I want these studies and my comments on them to be uplifting to your bassoon playing and uplifting to your soul. I want you to feel refreshed when you study these and when you listen to these videos.

We know very little about Orefici. He was born in 1868 and died din 1920. This collection of studies was published in 1925, five years after he died. He appears to have been an opera bassoonist and later a professor around Turin, Italy. He may have been a student of Eugene Jancourt. But although we don’t have much biographical information, we certainly with these Melodic Studies have an insight into his musical understanding of the bassoon and particularly his love of opera. These studies exude a wonderful sense of Italian opera in yet a very quirky and unusual way that stretches the performer. And that is why I find it so interesting to study this and why I am so excited myself to re-study them, to perform them for you, and to bring this collection to greater light in the world. I don’t think that these are played enough. I think that people have neglected this set of studies and I hope that these videos will awaken in you a renewed interest in these studies.

Now, I started making these videos in 2019 and will be continuing to do so in 2020 and a little later. Now in 2021 there is a wonderful thing occurring. That is that the Orefici Melodic Studies will become part of public domain. I will publish at that time my edited version of these that will be available for free. You will find them on my website: 2reed.net.

[Music: Orefici Melodic Study #4, performed by Terry B. Ewell]

Copyright © 2021 by Terry B. Ewell. All rights reserved.