LSO Master Class - French Horn

Uploaded by symphony on 24.09.2010

Pyatt: Hello, welcome to the Horn Master Class
for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.
My name's David Pyatt,
and I'm principal horn
of the London Symphony Orchestra.
This excerpt is very much in two parts.
It starts off with underpinning the harmony
going on in the rest of the orchestra,
especially in the woodwind section.
Following that, the solo proper starts
at bar 90.
So this first section needs to be very quiet.
Pianiss-- It's pianissimo marking.
But also present at the same time.
* *
And at this point, the solo proper starts.
Now, a quick word about these very low notes.
Make sure that whatever happens,
you've got enough air to put through
when you're going for the fundamental F.
Um, also be aware that each of these notes
has to be quite clearly defined,
so try to avoid the temptation
of sort of slurring your way all around the excerpt.
Okay, so bar 90 is where the solo proper starts.
In this section, breathing is one of the main issues.
Try very hard not to breathe every bar,
or every two bars,
otherwise you will probably end up hyperventilating.
* *
Now, I quite like to take a breath
in the 94th bar,
on the first quaver rest,
and make it a little one,
and then on the second quaver's rest,
which--eighth note rest, take a good breath,
'cause hopefully that means that you can get away
with not breathing between the bars 95, 96,
and you can get from the written G to the A flat
without having to break the phrase.
Of course, this famous scale passage
is--which is the fourth horn's big moment,
so take your time over it.
Make it as beautiful and as musical as you can.
Enjoy it.
This is a first horn solo.
Um, fairly classic, lyrical writing for the instrument.
Uh, it does pose a couple of problems.
The first one being breathing,
and the second problem being stamina.
Now, very often these two elements are interconnected,
so when you breathe in this piece,
make sure that you are not
in any way, shape, or form,
taking a tense breath,
that the throat is relaxed
as you can possibly make it.
Beware of any sound of tension
in your throat when you breathe.
So if you're hearing... [gasps]
or anything along those lines,
relax, start again.
Try and go for a--sort of a hollow sounding breath...
where you're getting the maximum air in
in the minimum time
and with the minimum tension.
Also, a good tip playing this piece,
and any piece which involves stamina,
is make sure that you keep this left arm
as relaxed as possible.
Easier said than done when the tension starts mounting.
* *
Now, one of the things
that makes this excerpt particularly hard
is breathing in the middle of the phrases.
It's very tempting to chop the notes before you breathe.
* *
But whatever you do,
please try to make sure
that you finish each note before the breath
as beautifully as you can,
but give yourself time to take a decent breath
and not be late on the next upbeat.
The dynamics in this piece
are also fairly extreme, really, for a solo.
The piano dolce at the top
I would take with a pinch of salt
and play a healthy mezzo-piano.
It is a solo,
and you are playing against the string section.
The mezzo-forte likewise.
If you want to make a difference
between the piano and the mezzo-forte,
perhaps the mezzo-forte could also come up a bit in volume.
The pauses in bar 27
have crescendo written through them.
Traditionally, there's very often
a diminuendo done on the two paused notes,
but this is entirely up to you.
The final section is back down to the piano marking,
and leads into the orchestral tutti.
The next excerpt we're gonna look at today
is the Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche,
the famous horn call
at the beginning of this wonderful piece.
Take your time on the first call.
Enjoy the syncopations.
But do be aware it's piano the first time.
And then when you repeat the call,
it's mezzo-forte.
The repeated call is also normally played
at a fairly increased speed.
Other things to look out for in this excerpt
is trying to keep the integrity of the sound
as you go into the lower register.
It's very easy to become blatty down there,
but try to keep the notes true and good and in tune.
* *
Thank you for watching the Horn Master Class
for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.
Um, I hope you enjoy making your submissions,
and I look forward very much to seeing the entries.
Thank you.