Part of the requirements of the Glen Gould School audition is that I play some orchestral rep for tuba. If I recall, at the last auditions I played Hungarian March (Berlioz), Die Meistersinger (Wagner), Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner) and the Dragon solo from Das Reingold (oh, look, Wagner again – but this piece is a specific requirement for GGS tuba hopefuls). At the time, there were 10 of us auditioning and I didn’t make it.
Here I am two years later and trying to narrow down an audition list. Do I play the same things? That could be useful for them (Sasha Johnson and, probably, Gord Wolf) to hear improvements in my sound (Sasha will know, but Gord might not remember me). Do I play all new material? Or a little of both? Here are some things I’m working on:
- The Bear Solo and The Masqueraders from Pétrouchka (Stravinsky) – long live the tri-tone! This excerpt starts on high Ab and jumps to D above it. Getting the Ab out of the blue and not mis-pitching it is a little challenge, especially if I’m a little nervous at an audition. It’s sounding really good though. Plus the quick 5/8 time section – the second bit needs lots of air and accuracy in articulation so that it doesn’t sound muddy. I’m a little nervous about accurately counting the two 5/8 bars rest between the two though. I’ve been practicing this with my Eb, but I wonder if I should give it a try with my C (to make the Masqueraders easier?).
- Jupiter from The Planets (Holst) – we’re going to be playing this in Orchestra Toronto, so it’s well-worth the time practicing it anyway. And it’s a hard lick: 16th-note arpeggio. The lower range of this part calls for my C tuba.
- Prologue from Roméo et Juliette (Berlioz) – I practiced that two years ago too, but cut it early on. I’ve returned to it again with an improved high-range. I love surprising myself when passages that were once difficult come now with [relative] ease. This excerpt is reasonably long and pretty showy with lots of jumps and wide intervals. I’ve got to check with Sasha about the optional octave choices – the notes in my book say that the lower octaves are used in practice. This will be on my Eb.
- Final movement from Symphony no.4 (Bruckner) – I’ll practice just about all of it, but I’m more interested in the dramatic lick between rehearsal marks E and F. This’ll be on my Eb.
- Fourth movement from Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz) – We just played this in Orchestra Toronto, so it’s fresh on the lips. Why not eh? Without question: Eb tuba.
- Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliette (Prokofiev) – I’m talkin’bout the low one in f minor, from the Second Suite. Again, something we’re about to do in OT and I had a lesson on it with Sasha. It’s gotta be C.
- Fourth movement from Symphony no.4 (Tchaikovsky) – I love the excerpts from this movement: starting at bar 42 and at bar 257. But are they too “easy”? I dunno. My first instinct is to do this on Eb, but it could just as nicely be done on C.
Well, that’s lots to look at. I’m still considering Hungarian March and The Ride of the Valkyries. But I think I’m not going to bring back Die Meistersinger and I’m definitely not going to try Bydlo. I’m going to practice the 7 above for another week or so, then make some cuts. Let’s see how things go.