Posts tagged ‘Strauss’

November 17, 2009

Septet session

Things here have been rather quiet of late, for which I apologise.  However, this evening I have a session of string septets to go to.  The programme consists of the Strauss Metamorphosen as well as septets by Martinu and the leader of the group.

On first inspection, the Martinu doesn’t appear to be too tricky, but, having played his mixed nonet on many an occasion, this may be misleading.  I’ll write again if there are any tricky bits!  Hmm.  -1 for observation – the part says “Sextet” at the top – is it one of those optional double bass / 2nd cello things?  [Edit – turns out that it is a sextet with an optional bass part; fortunately for my sanity, the bass part is not just a follow-the-cello thing, but adds a distinct texture to the piece.]

As for the other piece…  Anyone got any suggestions about how to play passages in running octaves?  I don’t think my fingers will stretch to double-stopping this low down on the bass!  Sample below…

[Edit – the composer says that he wants the player to play the bottom line if the bass is extended, or a five string, and the top line otherwise…]

August 15, 2009

Strauss Metamorphosen

A fun start to the week. I was invited at short notice (half an hour or so) to play the Strauss Metamorphosen, in the arrangement for String Septet (2 vln, 2 vla, 2 vlc, cb) as a sort of musical night-cap.

Technically, it’s not really that complicated – there’s a short stretch in the tenor clef (not a thing to spring on a lad after a long day’s drive), and a couple of exposed passages where (shock) the double bass has the tune, but it’s really quite playable. Assuming, that is, that there’s a clear beat from a strong leader. Oh, and it helps to know how quickly you can detune your bottom string to a C (if, like me, you’ve only got an ordinary, un-extended 4-string bass). This is important – it’s the bottom of the last chord, and needs to be that low, and it is noticeable when you get it right. (I’ve done this before in the full 23-part version, and the conductor complimented me on the low note afterwards.)

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to find a copy of the score on the interweb from which I can extract the hairy bits that need to be looked at, so will have to go grovelling in the morning.