Maybe a month into the pandemic (April-ish, 2020), I decided to pick up my clarinet again. The student level model I’ve had since 7th grade. After about 2 months of playing, I bit the bullet and bought an intermediate level clarinet from my local music store.
So I’ve been spending a lot of my inside time recording clarinet ensemble pieces with myself. I like the challenge of keeping time with the metronome and staying in tune with myself. Which is so weird, because different registers on the clarinet can be a little off-tune with the other registers.
But a few weeks ago I broke out some sheet music that I wasn’t very interested in a long time ago. Looked super hard. Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo. Like, it didn’t sound pretty. Melodies I didn’t really get. And the notes were high, and I was unfamiliar with those fingerings, and my all-around chops were not up to snuff.
To offset some of the intimidation, I’ve been listening to Annelien van Wauwe’s recording here:
Many other recordings from different artists exist, but I’ve taken to this one for now. I’ve been listening to it every day, psychologically working up to meet a standard I’ve established for myself.
Two weeks ago, I tried tackling the first half of Piece 1:
Got to clean up any transitions that involve that left C#Db pinky. Also need to create phrases to make the piece make sense.
Then this past week I looked at the second half of Piece 1:
A lot of the same criticisms. Overall this needs to be smoother. It would be nice to decide on a tempo, since Stravinsky’s instructions are to “strictly adhere to” metronome markings (quarter note=52), breath marks, and accents.
This is coming along. I’d like to spend another month on this to get it under my fingers. It’s fun.