Choosing a Concerto upon which to audtion

Dear Mr. Friedland

I am very impressed with your knowledge of the clarinet and musical expertise and I check the “Corner” regularly for any updates and such. Let me introduce myself, my name is Gary and I am in grade twelve. I never had private instruction before but my high school music teacher says that I’m very talented.

During this time the pressure is on for students like me. Exams, grades, etc., eventually it will take it’s toll on us. Anyway, I’m going to apply for a University Transfer program at a college for music and one of the requirments is an audition of a piece of music that has a grade six RCMT level or higher. Knowing that theres a huge amount of variety I don’t know what to look for, I’ve been working on Mozart’s Concerto but I suspect that most potential students will perform that one. I want something different because I like being different. Any recommendations on pieces of music? Anything other than Mozart’s Concerto would be brilliant. Thank you.
Dear Gary:
Thanks for your note and the question. I could easily give you a list of Concerti that are very different from the Mozart, however you should be appraised of the difficulties of the Mozart and the reasons that most will be playing it. It is simply the most transparent concerto one can play and it is certainly the most beautiful concerto for a wind instrument from this period. Everything about the performing of it must be perfect, clear , exact and transparent. One has to ask themselves the question. Is my playing that distinctive or is it distinctive enough to impress the judges with my originality of tone, phrasing and nuance. If one can feel this ability within the Mozart, then its choice is obvious.
Playing another concerto is easy to do, and there are many from which to pick:
Hindemith, Nielsen, Bozza,Francais all have good concerti and they are quite difficult as well.
I would suggest that being or feeling differently does not necessitate playing a different concerto, for one can simply play the Mozart differently. You can play it on the instrument for which it was composed, the Basset Clarinet, or you can play articulation which are closer to what Mozart may have wanted. There are certainly many ways of being different.
One bit of advice is very important: Which ever piece you choose to play make sure that you either listen to the finest versions of it or study them with a good clarinetist who knows this repertoire.
good luck, sf


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