LSO Master Class - Bassoon

Uploaded by symphony on 25.10.2010

Bosdijk: Hello, my name is Joost Bosdijk
and I play the bassoon
in the London Symphony Orchestra.
I'm going to help you with some tips
and suggestions about the extracts
you might want to play for your YouTube Symphony audition.
One of the first things I would like to talk about
is the Mozart Marriage of Figaro.
It's a very important piece in the repertoire
for any bassoon player.
You will be always asked to play this
in any audition you play
together with the Mozart bassoon concerto.
Now, the Mozart Overture is quite a tricky one.
On the modern bassoon, it's a lot harder
than for the instrument it was actually written for,
the classical bassoon.
The difficulty is that you really have to blend
with all the string players.
It's a quite mysterious beginning.
And it's immediately into a run of very quick notes,
and it starts on quite an awkward note.
I will suggest
that you first practice it
and don't take too much notice of the dynamic
so you feel comfortable with the technique.
Also practice in very small chunks.
So for example, if you just start off
with only the first two notes...
[repeating first notes]
[building off first two notes]
So you just built it gradually up
until you feel quite comfortable with the technique.
Also practice it very slowly.
And the last thing,
you really want to practice it in different rhythms.
So for example...
[light rhythm]
[heavy rhythm]
For this specific Mozart excerpt,
I would suggest that you put the lock
on your piano key down
so you don't have to move too much with your thumb.
So you can just gently move it up and down
rather than rolling around on the bassoon.
Now, if you feel more and more comfortable
and you practice with a metronome,
you can also start thinking about the phrasing
so you don't play too much... [mimics heavy rhythm]
But really go... [mimics light rhythm]
So there's always a direction in the music.
And, actually, it will help you
to get to an easier way of playing.
I will try to play the excerpt now as a whole.
It's just the first-- the opening bars
of the Overture.
[rapid rhythm]
Always have the music you have to play in mind
actually before you start playing.
Music doesn't just come from thin air.
It's already started before you play.
It will really, really help you to get the right atmosphere
and therefore more ease of playing the piece.
So this far for the Mozart Overture.
We now move on to the Scheherezade.
The Scheherezade is a fascinating story
of a woman who has to keep the tension of her lover
for a very long time
because he's about to kill her if he--if she would bore him.
So in the solo,
in the second movement of the Scheherezade
just after one of the violin cadenzas,
you can think of this theme of really captivating
your listeners' attention.
And the description of the solo
is dolce espressivo capriccioso quasi recitando,
which is a long text.
And you want to do justice to all these things.
So it has to be-- have a gentle feel.
But also quite--quite quirky in the same time,
which is quite difficult to combine these two things.
And it's recitando so you want to tell the story
with this solo.
You really want to sit down for a while
and look at all the-- all the different things
that are written in this part
like the accents, and the dots, and the slurs,
and try to do justice to all of these.
It takes a lot of attention to actually integrate this
all into one sort of musical idea.
I will play for you what I think of this piece.
But obviously it's almost like a cadenza
within the piece.
So any suggestion of yourself
or anything you would like to do with it is great.
It doesn't have to sound the same at all.
[light playing]
[spirited playing]
[light playing]
So this is just my interpretation.
I'm very interested in what I hear back
when you send in your own version.
there is another excerpt,
which actually is a fantastic excerpt for the bassoon.
It's by good old Tchaikovsky who has written
the most stunning melodies, anyway.
And we are very lucky in the symphonies
as bassoon players to play actually
the really, really beautiful tunes.
The second movement of The Fourth Symphony
starts off with the oboe solo.
And it's more or less the same as the excerpt you see here--
the except we ask you to play.
The oboe plays a slightly longer phrase.
And I think of the bassoon solo
as a sort of a memory of this oboe solo.
It says pianissimo cantabile.
And I think it should be very, very simple--
simply played up to the espressivo
where you actually can give a little bit more
and then come back to let the piece
just sort of gradually,
slowly get calmer and calmer until it ends.
The very important thing about this solo
is that you play very, very good legato
so all the notes can connect very, very beautifully.
This is quite hard in the key it's written in
so, again, as in the Mozart and in most pieces you play,
you want to play just little, little chunks.
So you get really to the point where you make perfect legato.
As perfect as you can do it, obviously.
But it's always worth just make legato first
between two notes until you're really satisfied.
[slow, smooth playing]
One way to help the legato is to move your fingers
in a very gentle way.
So don't put them down as hammers--little hammers,
which might be really helpful for a very fast technique.
For these sort of long legato phrases,
you put them down as gently as you can.
So it's really like stroking rather than hitting.
I'll play the excerpt for you now.
[smooth playing]
This is the way I think about this piece.
And sometimes play it more espressivo.
But I quite like the tranquility and the simplicity
of this solo.
But again, every person is different.
And if you have a very different opinion about it
or interpretation,
you're very welcome to play it
in the way you would like to play it.
One of the things about doing an audition
is it's very, very clear for any panel
that listens to your audition
whether you know the context of the music.
Because even if it are solos,
there's always music going on behind it, underneath it,
around it, on top of it.
And it's very, very obvious
when a candidate plays his piece
whether he's actually aware of this whole context.
So I really would encourage you to listen lots to the music
you have to record in the context.
Preferably in live concerts.
But, obviously, there's lots of recordings circulating
on all kind of media.
On CDs, on the internet.
And it's a very good idea to really, really listen
very carefully and also form your own opinion
based on various interpretations that you could listen to.
So I wish you all the best for your uploads.
And hopefully see you somewhere around.