North Bridge Flute Academy


GRADE 5

Fauré – Berceuse
Oginski – Polonaise
Fauré – Sicilienne
Telemann – Sonata in F
Marais – Le Basque
Quantz – Sonata in E minor – Vivace
Delibes – Morceau de Concours

GRADE 6

Telemann - Air L'italiene
Donjon – Pan
Fauré – Morceau de Concours
Hoffmeister – Sonata in G – 1st Mvt, Allegro Assai
Gaubert – Madrigal
Rabboni - Sonata (No. 3) in E
CPE Bach – Sonata in E minor Mvt 2, Allegro
Rabboni – Sonata (No. 8) in C
Gossec – Tambourin

GRADE 7

Rabboni – Sonata (No. 7) in F
Roussel – Mr. de la Pejaudie

GRADE 8

Roussel – Pan



 

 


GRADE 5, Lesson #4
Performance Video: Telemann Sonata In F Major – Vivace


         
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GRADE 5, Lesson #4
Teaching Notes Video: Telemann Telemann Sonata In F Major – Vivace

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THE COMPOSER

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767), was a self-taught musician and a multi-instrumentalist. Initially he worked on a career in law, but decided at university that his life should be in music. Causing friction within his family, this was the first clear indication that Telemann was quite a rebel!

He was a contemporary and friend of the composer J S Bach and indeed was offered a high ranking musical position in Leipzig in preference to Bach. A highly prolific composer, he was also fascinated in the process of printing his music (this Sonata was first published in a fortnightly journal created by Telemann in 1728, Der getreue Music-Meister). In many ways, he was the world’s first dedicated classical music entrepreneur.

Whilst Telemann will always be remembered for his exquisite compositions, he was not so lucky in love. His first wife died just a few months after they were married and his second wife (with whom he had 9 children) had affairs and nearly bankrupted the family with her gambling debts!

On 25th June 1767, after a period of poor health, he died from breathing/chest issues.

THE PIECE

Many of the compositions from the Baroque era are based on dance, which was the popular entertainment in the courts of noblemen and royalty throughout Europe. Whilst slower works were to be performed with sophistication, charm and refinement, quicker works and particularly those in major keys, such as this ‘Vivace’, needed to be played with liveliness, happiness and great joy, almost bordering on laughter.

However, the marking of ‘Vivace’ isn’t necessarily the very fast speed that we would attempt to play today.

In the preface to a book he published in 1725/26 he clearly suggests speeds for various ‘tempi’. Presto should be very fast, Allegro is fast and Vivace is lively.

Therefore, it really isn’t necessary to play this piece at a tempo that implies manic frenzy!

I would look on Vivace more as an idea for the style, rather than the overall speed of the movement. The words proud and elegant spring to mind and maybe in the mix there is also a splash of perfume! This piece needs to smile and make us (and our audience) gently chuckle! I would work towards quarter note = 100 for the purposes of performance

WHAT TO WORK ON AND HOW

There are three things to remember when putting a piece of music together for a performance, audition or exam…shape, shape and shape!

This means, how we shape the attack, groups of notes and whole phrases and how we create a global shape for the entire movement or work. In short, as actors in music, we have to tell a story.

Of course, we need to be sufficiently technically advanced to possess the relevant abilities or tools to be able to narrate that story and to take control of the performance.

It is very noticeable in the early versions of this work, that there is little guidance as to the subject of slurs (in this particular movement, there are very few). This is largely down to the fact that this area of the performance was left to the discretion of the performer. When slurs were marked, it was just as much about an idea as to how to phrase the notes concerned as it was to an indication of legato. I firmly believe that even though slurs aren’t marked, we can add them, if they contribute to the overall ‘flow’ of the music. When there are 16 sixteenth notes written in a bar (such as in bars 8 and 11) it would make sense to slur two and articulate two on every beat, so that the music can ‘trip’ along.

We must at least be partially sympathetic to the fact that this work was originally intended to be played on the recorder, a much more delicate instrument than the modern day concert flute. Therefore, we need to consider the quality of the sound we make, attack of notes and dynamic range.

Even though we all now play on metal flutes, we shouldn’t allow our sound to be too ‘metallic’. This will be helped by not over aggressively attacking the note. Try ‘DAH’ as an articulation, with an emphasis on the ‘AH’. In this way, ‘spitting’ our sound into the flute (for example with ‘T’) and causing a mild explosion at the start of a note, is avoided. You might also like to experiment with different lengths for notes of the same value. In the first bar there are 4 eighth notes. If we play them all the same length, they are really rather dull! If we make the first and the third of this group of four, both slightly stronger and longer, the opening comes to life!

With the above in mind, I am always hesitant to approach music of this era with a dynamic of ‘F’. This level of sound on the modern flute is too ‘big’ for music of this nature and period. We equally don’t want to exist only in a ‘P’ world, but nothing should be forced. Whilst it is satisfying to play with a great volume of sound, we should be stylistically aware and realise that the flute possesses much more allure and interest in its quieter characteristics. For this movement, I would start with the marking of ‘MF’.

The piece is in 4 beats in a bar and we all know that the most important beat is generally considered to be the first beat. Here however, the most interesting beat is potentially the fourth beat, as it leads to all first beats. This is followed closely by the second beat as it signals to the next ‘strong’ beat of the bar, the third beat. Therefore, a degree of interest or intensity is required in both the second and fourth beats. In turn, once we have arrived at the two strong beats of the bar, it will be necessary to fractionally come away, so that we can once again ‘grow’ to the next important beat. Be careful though to introduce these small changes very gradually and sensitively, as we really don’t want to make our audience feel mildly seasick by over emphasising what should be gentle hills and valleys within the phrase!

The following is a general rule for myself. The more notes there are in a beat, the more I need to focus on every single note within that beat. The fourth beat of the first bar contains 4 sixteenth notes. It is so easy to ‘bypass’ these notes as being unimportant. However, they are within that engine room of a beat that leads to the beginning of the following bar, so they should be played with a sense of direction in mind.

The fingering in bar 11 is quite awkward. We have to remember that the fourth and fifth fingers in both hands are operated by dark forces with the sole intention of weakening our technical prowess! To assist with this, there are useful exercises in my book ‘The 28 Day Warm Up Book for all flautists…eventually!’ in the guise of exercises ‘Fingers 3, 4 and 5’ available at https://www.simplyflute.com/publications/product/28-day-warm-up-book/ that you might like to investigate.

Keeping in mind the concept that a phrase should have a beginning, middle and an end, do make sure that all the phrases end gently, rather than with a thud (for instance as in bars 4, 16, 18).

This very elegant movement should contain the warmth and excitement of a happy conversation between two reminiscing old friends, who haven’t been in touch with one another for a very long period of time! It should ‘bubble’ along!





 
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