Dr. David Buck’s Conducting Notes
STUDENTS: Please use these timing cues to specify specific passages for your practice.
Rachmaninoff – piano alone soundtrack
- Tema – :11
- Var. II – :31
- #5 – :43
- Var. VIII – :49
- 4 bf #22 – 1:02
- Var. XIII – 1:26
- #35 – 1:47
- Var. XVIII – 3:24
- 1 bf #50 – 4:08
- #51 – 4:48
- 4 after cut – 6:15
- #69 – 6:21
- #70 – 6:28
- #71 – 6:34
- #73 – 6:50
- Var. XXIV – 7:10
- #75 – 7:29
- #76 – 7:43
- Piu Vivo – 7:52
- 5 after #77 – 7:58
- #78 – 8:02
- 9 after #78 – 8:09
- 79 – 8:15
Rachmaninoff: Orchestra Soundtrack
- 8 before 23 steady in the piano
4 before 40 I will begin conducting
- Update: Var. 15 (XV) will be played by piano only; Tacet Orchestra
- Ms. 416 begin to slow (rit.)
- No repeat at MM 55-79
- Cut Letter [I] to [K] (MM 295-320)
- Begin in 3, then into 1 in 2nd measure (1st full measure)
- Cut from
M 133 to M 179; Update: Cut from M 131 to M 179
Dr. Amy Culligan’s Conducting Notes
- Opening of the piece should be big and aggressive
- measure 4: disoriented character/sound
- measure 11: beautiful and dolce (this is the “Prayer for Ukraine”)
- measure 16: muted trumpet dissonance is important
- measure 29 fermata: clarinets and timpani continue to hold, all other instruments cut off when snare drum starts.
- Big contrast between beautiful lyricism and “rude” interruptions
- trumpets bring out part at 101 and 102 – triumphant fanfare sound
- 6 before the end very big; then, 4 measures before the end: drop down dynamic slightly and change character to very full and rich sound – crescendo into the end
- Notice the use of different themes: (1) melody from composer’s piece “Moscow, 1941.” (Usually set aggressively); (2) Ukrainian National Anthem; (3) “Prayer for Ukraine”
- Make contrast between melodies and styles – there are often outbursts and they should sound “outburst” like (mm. 7–9, for example).
- Accented notes should be played with separation and space
- m. 29 – be prepared to hold this fermata longer than they do in the recording.
- Section starting at m. 61 – embrace the dissonance
- Be conscious of the three main moods/styles: (1) “Russian theme” that is the “aggressor,” (2) “Ukrainian Prayer,” which should be dolce and lyrical, (3) “Ukrainian National Anthem,” which should be stately, marked, confident, and proud.
- Section at m. 61 – play into the dissonance and bring out the “discomfort”
- It’s all about rhythm and pulse—metronome practice is key! Use opening rhythm as a warm-up on scales
- Rhythmic passages should be very staccato
- m. 9 woodwinds – strive to be very even with 16th notes (be careful to not slow the beginning and rush the ends of 4-note groupings)
- 16th notes must be very short and articulate!
- Make sure to “clip” second note of the melody
- m. 29 – stagger breathing (breathe when you need to and not when others around you are breathing)
- Don’t rush the rests!
- M. 38 is a unison check-point – be looking up!
- Keep opening rhythmic motive steady and do not compress 16th notes
- Placing a small emphasis on beats to help steady pulse is good! The section at m.9 should have emphasis on the first of every 4-note 16th grouping
- Be mindful of articulation marks – you know the notes and the rhythms, but playing the dashes, dots, and accents are imperative! Notice the first measure, as an example.
- Beginning section should have strong accents and emphasis on beat 4
- m. 16: huge diminuendo on beat 3 (to piano) and then huge crescendo on beat 4 to forte.
- m. 21 molto secco and short
- watch out for 2/4 meters starting in m. 30
- Be precise in rhythm, particularly the offbeats at 48 – this must be perfectly in time
- m. 64 – add fp cresc in woodwinds
- Add Fp cres. Four before the end.
- Think of beat 3 of m. 16 as a Fp crescendo!
- Watch meter changes at m. 29 section
- Rhythm at mm. 48–52 – must be precise and steady!
- Strong and confident rhythm at mm. 66–67
- m. 180: please add a sudden drop in dynamic (think mp) so that we can build
- m. 182–183 (and similar measures): please phrase with the line (crescendo when notes go up and diminuendo when notes go down)
- no ritard at end – play nice full quarter notes
- m. 28 and 36 – notice the longer quarter note in accompaniment
- Do not rush. Do not rush. Do not rush!
- Bowing in m. 2 is “down-up-down-down-up-up” Do this throughout
- Please practice the opening section with subdivided 16th notes.
- The section at m. 17 should be light and always have a slight amount of stress and weight on the downbeats. Group of 4 sixteenth notes should have slightly more stress on the first note of the grouping.
- Section at m. 117 should be molto legato
- Beginning section must have LOTS of separation between notes—think of notes as being half their note value + a rest of that same value (i.e. think of a quarter note as an eighth note + eighth rest in order to get the separation needed)
- Rhythm, pulse, rhythm, pulse! The opening must be precise with the placement of the sixteenth note.
- Do not rush!
- If you have a slur in m. 2 (or similar passages), please remove!
- Importance of counterpoint – bring out
- space between notes (in general)
- Add a diminuendo mm. 7–10
- double bar at m. 27 – look-up and make sure you catch tempo and correct rhythms
- Watch for cue at 31 to make sure we’re all together
- m. 40: violins watch rhythm and ties
- m. 84: take out “//” caesura – fermata cut-off will go right into beat 4
- m. 103: be prepared for the tempo to relax slightly
- Should be space between dotted quarter notes and eighth notes (see measure 1 as an example) (do this each time this occurs)
- Add a “dot” to the quarter note on the downbeat of measure 4 (do this each time this occurs)
- measures 7–14 legato
- in measure 26, beat 4 will be subdivided. The grace notes should be placed after the “and of 4” as if they are 32nd notes.
- section that starts at measure 27: watch the rhythm and pulse
- Woodwinds and upper string that have the flourishes in m. 86 – please crescendo to the top
- m. 103 will be slightly relaxed in tempo
- Please add a ritard in measure 116. Measure 117 will be in a broad tempo and slower.
- Please play the last 4 notes of the piece molto legato (the eighth-quarter-quarter-whole)
- mm. 27–84 watch rhythm and look up
- No caesura in m. 80–will go right into beat 4 after fermata
- Please put a little “zing” on the beginnings of trills (trills start on printed note and go to next note above)
- m. 13: trumpet should NOT play the triplets on beat 4
- m. 21: please add “-“ legato dashes to quarter notes on beats 2–4 and make them heavy and somewhat broad
- Letter B: violins should note sustain dotted eight notes: keep them crisp and light
- Letter B: winds and low strings: cut the tie off EARLY so that you are on time for eighth note
- Letter B: strings need to start from string and grab string with good articulation
- pick-up to “C,” add a dot and accent to the quarter note—this is also a great place to look-up and check-in!
- Section at 52 should be very legato and phrased with the line contours
- m. 80–84: this will push and then slow down for extra energy and drama
- m. 99: bring out parts with descending line (low strings, low brass and woodwinds)
- m. 112 section: sf should have a vowel “wah”) sound
- No repeats in this piece! Take all second endings!
- measure 7: add staccato dots with accents on beat 3 and 4
- measure before B, watch and make sure you catch the pick-up and the new section in tempo
- measure before C: quarter note pick-up should have a “dot.”
- 9 before “H” needs to have brilliance! Make sure you’re comfortable with all your notes!
Double Piano Concerto
- Beginning needs to be rhythmic and articulate
- Full and strong at Letter E – think Rachmaninoff sound!
- Take out fermata at BB and turn dotted quarter note into a dotted half note—will continue in tempo.
- Soloists can feel free to play out and be even more expressive (and have freedom of phrasing)
- Look up and watch for a big cue at Z (after the piano cadenza)
- Letter EE has to be so big and beautiful!!! Play out!
- Missing fermata—please make sure you have the following (you may need to add, as they are in some parts but missing in others):
- m. 25 (over whole measure)
- m. 28 downbeat
- m. 69 (letter L) on downbeat
- m. 70 downbeat
- m. 74 beat 3
- m. 127 (letter R) downbeat
- Letter X piano cadenza: fermata on beat 2 of m. 169, fermata on beat 3 of measure 171
- m. 191 (letter BB) downbeat
- m. 231 (letter JJ) beat 1
- m. 234 downbeat
- opening melody needs crisp articulation. Be sure groups of three notes are even
- Dynamic contrasts much be much more
- “BB:” take out fermata and hold note for 3 beats, instead
Haydn Trumpet Concerto
- m. 130 viola, cello, bass part should have same articulation as m. 8
- Phrase always!
- Long held notes or repeated notes should always have movement and direction somewhere
- Many measures (such as m. 1, m. 3, m. 4) should phrase into (cresc.)beat 3 and then diminuendo
- m. 8 big and bold; m. 9 light and bouncy
- trills from above throughout
- m. 21: lean on first eight note and then taper away
- brush stroke for string eight notes
- add crescendo mm. 57–58
- m. 89 beat 2,3,4 quarter notes should have more of a “dash” than “dot.” Should be on the longer sound
- add slight rit in m. 100 going into recap.
- m. 113 should be strong
- last measure poco rit; put space between quarter note on beat one and next note
- FIRST VIOLIN note correction! The half note on beat 2 in m. 90 should be an Eb (NOT a C). Please change!
- Very quiet dynamic going into the recap
- Watch dynamics
Everywhere I Look
- Keep it light and beautiful
- Keep your eyes and ears open at all times! It is very important that we accompany the vocal soloist in an elegant and sensitive way.
- Watch timing! Look up frequently and be sensitive to changes in tempo.
- Keep the character light and happy
- Please put // at the end of measure 4 and also at the end of measure 48
- Look up constantly!
- Think of m. 33 as a sudden tempo change (slower)
- Molto rit. In m. 74
Chamber series pieces (not for this concert)
Clouds that Sail in Heaven:
- Important to diminuendo 7–8 so that 9–10 can have a strong crescendo
- Watch the meter change and rhythm in m. 16–18
- Low brass should take the lead in m. 37 and do nice waves in dynamics (as printed)
- Watch rhythm in mm. 89–91
- Bring out the hemiola in the last 7 measures
Over the Rainbow:
- Bring out moving lines
- Always play beautiful throughout
- crescendo m. 26 into 30
- Keep lines moving (it’s easy to slow down and let drag)
- m. 56: eighth notes brush stroke; melody should sound light and easy