Information on Solos

From Treefrog:

Hi!! I played Brahms’ Sonata Nr. 1 Movement 1 last year. This year
I want to play Weber’s Grand Duo Concertante. Is that too big of a
step? Do you have any helpful advise on how to practice the Grand
Duo Concertante. Thanks!!

Well Hi yourself, Treefrog … I don’t mind, but it would be nice
if I were able to say hello to someone other than Treefrog.

Congratulations on the F minor. In many, many ways, the work is
more difficult than the Grand Duo Concertante of Weber; first and
foremost, the piano part is harder in the Brahms believe it or
not, though the Weber is impossible and demands a technical wizard
to get through the piece. The Brahms of course demands that as
well, for Brahms was a pianist of real merit and he did not write
easy music. It is much more of a Sonata for Piano with Clarinet
accompaniment than a clarinet sonata, yet the clarinet part will
remain always challenging for the first large interval gets larger
and larger as one matures as a player until when you have played
the work a couple of dozen times, you begin to wonder what will
happen this time??? or IF .

While that is really not all that true, there are few works as
challenging for either clarinetist or pianist than those two. You
know I played them for 50 years!!!! And they never got easy.

The Weber, on the other hand does get easy and is a fun piece to
play through with one of my favorite spots being the slow
movement. You know, of course that Weber was a famous composer,
not because of his clarinet writing (which was considerable) but
because of his truly inventive writing of early German Opera,
which really supersedes the music of Wagner. This slow movement
is, of course, a long opera aria for clarinet and piano, and if
you think of it that way it will be a real blast for you.

No, it is not too big of a step. WHY?

Because you will play that music all your life as you continue to
learn both the clarinet and music and you will change the way in
which you both interpret them and even treat them mechanically.

Learn the music thoroughly prior to any rehearsals with the
pianist and treat the pianist respectfully. The music is very
difficult. The first movement is rather easy easy for clarinet,
but NOT easy for the pianist, so NOT TOO FAST, for truly, you can
kill the pianist in that first movement. Pick someone who is a bit
older than you, for that is a neat way to learn. I must have gone
through a couple of dozen pianists before getting through with
those works, and lost some as well, so choose well, and work hard.

Very shortly within the clarinet corner of mine, you will see both
the two Brahms Sonatas and the Grand Duo written about by me with
analyses and many pointers for clarinetists. In addition there is
a long list of works already constructed in my head; you know,
things to pass on to students. Have a pleasant summer and enjoy
… enjoy … ENJOY!!!!!!!

Best regards, always

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