Pictures for an audition : Reflections on the role of roots and background in the composing and performing processes

University essay from Kungl. Musikhögskolan/Institutionen för klassisk musik

Abstract:

"Pictures for an audition" are a visual tool I created to help in performing orchestral excerpts.

I always had the aim to get deeper in the knowledge of the Zeitgeist of the composers I was facing, and as a consequence the aim to communicate this knowledge, this richness of roots, to the audience in a way as widely understandable as possible. I have been reflecting on the role of roots and background keeping as a reference point the figure of Dvořák, due to his strong connections with the Czech land and tradition. The inspiration I get from the composers’ background influences choices I do in dynamics, colors, articulation, and most of all expression. But how to get this inspiration when the situation is that of an orchestral audition, when the excerpts are so short, different in style and background, and played in a row with just few seconds between one and the other one? It is not possible for me to remember in few seconds what is more important about a particular excerpt, not even if I would prepare a written summary, since only to read that it would take at least one minute. Instead, visual memory is instantaneous, and somehow produces in me a more immediate inspiration than written concepts.

Therefore, I decided to translate into visual inputs, i.e. selected pictures, photographs, or very short evocative sentences, the concepts which are for me more relevant about five excerpts which are often required in clarinet auditions. For each excerpt, these visual inputs have been put together in a A4 paper, and the outcome I called, for the sake of simplicity, the “picture for an audition”.

I used this tool during my practice; after a while I recorded myself, and, finally, I used the picture as a reference point to check if in the recording it was clear enough what I wanted to express. In this comparison, the pictures made me more attentive to details I would have otherwise overlooked, and became an inspiration also to find new ways to practice the excerpts.

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