I was reading an article last week that called music auditions the most intense 10 minute job interview ever. They’ve got that right! I’ve had the music for about a month now, and I’ve been working hard to get it under my fingers so that everything settles. This audition has an unusually long list of requirements:
- Solo – a first or last movement from a Classical, Romantic, or 20th Century standard concerto
- Tchaikovsky Symphony #5 1st movement
- Tchaikovsky Symphony #5 3rd movement
- Tchaikovsky Symphony #5 4th movement
- Brahms Symphony #4 1st movement
- Brahms Symphony #4 3rd movement beginning to letter B
- Brahms Symphony #4 3rd movement m295 to end
- Strauss Don Juan (of course, it’s on every list)
- Mozart Symphony #39 2nd movement beginning to m60
- Mozart Symphony #39 2nd movement mm 96 – 130
- Beethoven Symphony #9 Adagio mm 42 – 114 (another one on every list)
- Mendelssohn Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo (also on all the lists)
- Mozart Magic Flute Overture
- Brahms Piano Concerto #1
Yes, that’s 13 excerpts plus a solo. The viola audition only has 4 excerpts. Just a tiny bit jealous of that! I’m also starting to get to the recluse stage. That point where I don’t do much else other than practice when I have free time. How much practice time does that equal? Usually I aim for 3 hours any day that I can. On the weekends I’m getting in close to 4 hours of practicing. I know what the elite runners feel like. Eat, sleep, and practice. Somehow I still feel like I’m a bit behind. Out of 13 excerpts I feel like 9 are in decent shape, and I can get through them fairly consistently each time. Another one is really close, but 3 of them keep kicking my rear. At least I still have some time to iron them out. Here are a few examples (all are done in one shot with no editing):
This first one is the second Brahms excerpt from Symphony #4. Still needs a little polishing of the short first note to slurs, and some intonation fixes. It’s still a little under tempo as well.
The second recording is from the 2nd violin part of Mozart’s Magic Flute. The challenge is to make the spiccato lyrical, even, and not sound pecky. Plus the transitions from spiccato to smooth, and dynamics.
This one is the 3rd Brahms excerpt from Symphony #4. It’s one of my two favorites to play. It just needs the intonation to be consistent, and a slightly faster tempo.
This is an example of one is not quite up to snuff. This is the first Tchaikovsky excerpt, and fortunately I know the whole symphony well since I just played it back in February. It needs a bit more dynamic shape, but the tempo is pretty close.
This one is my other favorite the Brahms piano concerto #1. The challenge is making sure all of the spiccato is the same length, or nice and short. With all of the excerpts I have learned that things sound very different under my ear than they do in the recordings. So, while things sound short and quiet to me they aren’t always coming across in the recordings the same way. So, it’s back to practicing for me. I’ve already started putting myself through mock auditions, and yes I get just as nervous as I would for the audition. One shot is all I get.