Repertoire : Ravel, Introduction and Allegro, Fl. Cl., Str.4-tet, and harp

Dear Mr. Friedland:

As you are an expert, I hope you can help me.
In four weeks we have to play in a small concert. I´m trying to find music for this occasion.
For this occasion our ensemble consists of the following instruments:
flute, clarinet, violin(2), viola, violoncello, double bass. (and eventually piano).

I hope you can give me some advice.
Best regards, BB (from somewhere in Europe)

Dear BB:

thank you for the compliment.I do not think however that an expert exists who has not performed the works in question: “Chamber Music for a varied group pf players”

Without making my rsponse seem a self- agrandizing piece, the performance of chamber music, specifically as much as I could possibly perform well, has been my chosen lifes work.

It comes from wanting to spend as little time in the coffee shop of the conservatory , to as much time as I could playing the clarinet. Anyone attending a conservatory of music, where performance is stressed whould want this. If not, you are definitely in the wrong business.
My personal goal was emphasized by the fact that at the time, I played a new system of clarinet fingering: Mazzeo System, which was not so different but enough to establish new habits of playing . The best way is to perform as much as possible.

This was the course I chose, and I have amassed many performances of standard as well as new chamber music.
I advise this for any serious student who may be reading this. Keep practicing, keep playing, and keep performing, and keep your standards up, as high as you can hear, which is what governs our achievments in clarinet playing.

Anyone can simply list works, but that would not be fair for either you or me. All of the works to be listed, I have played for many years.
The first work is a great one, by Maurice Ravel, a truly   gifted composer who lived until the mid 1930s (1937), was not only one of the finest of the whole french group of composers, but without a doubt,the best orchestrator of instruments since Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov himself, a (Russian with) prodigious talent in orchestration.

The Inroduction and Allegro was conceived in 1905 and first performed in 1907.

Composed on a commission from the manufacturer of pedal harps Dual Action Erard , this work is almost contemporary to dance sacred and profane Dance for harp and strings of Claude Debussy , written  to promote competition, a new chromatic harp competitor from the manufacturerPleyel . This is the model Erard will be the modern harp, the Pleyel of falling into oblivion.

The Introduction and Allegro was composed for Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet, and Harp. Almost every harpist of advanced kevel has played the piece or learned it, and it is called one of the most challenging works for the instrument. While it takes only 11 minutes, it is truly a little masterpiece, worth the effort, and not terribly difficult, especially if you have a quartet that is somewhat established. They can easily rehearse the work with their other obligations, and you will not have difficulty with a troublesome cellist (there is a big cello solo and a person can run with it, as they say). There is an introduction played by violin and viola, followed by the cello solo, (accomanied by double-tonguing in the winds,(not difficult and can be negotiated) which played in  accelerando which brings the ensemble quickly intothe Allegro, where the harp really has an outstanding and difficult part. This is a work greatly appreciated by any audience and is easily placed at the end of the concert, perhaps with one of the many ensemble works with either flute, or clarinet and harp

The nice thing about this is that the harpist will almost always know the piece from memory perfectly, always refreshing these days when time is money. We must remember that these works were composed when rehearsal time was not an issue. You just worked until it was ready, time and rehearsals were not ever a problem, the performnce was what counts.

Of course, this is no longer the consideration, time being of the essence. If you are the organizer of the rehearsals and the performance, make sure that you have enough rehearsal time. The feeling of being prepared when you go onstage is truly wonderful and inspiring. So, we come to one of the big obstacles in the way of performing a large amount of chamber music, which is not only beautiful but very helpful in simply learning the repertoire with other players. Ones breadth of experience is heightened. There are also many departments which have opportunities for chamber music players, who can not only teach orchestra parts, but cause the kind of ferment within a music department that can bring all kinds of good things, for you .

Keep practicing, and performing,

sherman

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