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Showing posts from April, 2018

Caprice no. 12

Number 12, marked Allegro assai, should fly off the fingers and at least give the impression of ease. After hours of practice, I did find that this piece began to feel enjoyable at a fast clip. As with many of Campagnoli's caprices, you cannot find even one dynamic marking: this gives the performer creative license with dynamics and shaping.

With the long slurs, the focus in this piece is definitely on the left hand. The left hand should feel as pliable as possible, as often shifts happen fluidly: an extension of a finger, followed by hand adjustment. Measures 4-6 are a perfect example: the first finger reaches back and the hand follows suit. I found the most difficult passage to be mm. 21-26. I devoted a lot of time to backwards practice here!

Caprice no. 11

Caprice no. 11 is an unabashed celebration of the arpeggio. It doesn't invite the kind of subtle music-making that many of the others do, however, it is not purely a technical exercise either.

One thing I admire in this piece is the harmonic rhythm and flow, created out of large building blocks (one chord per measure). Rhythm is another way to control the musical flow. At the beginning, each measure has a period at the end: a full quarter note. At measures 10-16, the last beat of the measure follows with continuous eighth-notes, which creates the musical equivalent of a run-on sentence.

Although this piece is simple enough, measures 17-18 and 23 pose a real challenge because of the precarious shifts. In each, I found that besides the obvious challenge of hitting the right note, I also tended to try to leave it early - even if I nailed it. As I work through these caprices, I find that even in the simpler ones, Campagnoli usually manages to throw in some monkey wrench just for the …

Caprice no. 10

The tenth caprice is another beautiful aria that highlights Campagnoli's gift for melody. It lets the viola sing naturally, with simple phrases in the first half and florid passagework in the second.

Note: Usually I advocate for following the bowings which I find to be purposeful from a technical standpoint, but I did correct a few here,  in mm. 1, 5, and 7 to facilitate a down-bow at the top of a phrase or on a triple stop.

My favorite part of the piece is the coda, from mm. 18 to the end. The top line should always be held while the bottom one undulates: the effect is a rich harmony and texture.

Caprice no. 9

Caprice no. 9 is straightforward, lighthearted, and fun. I found it tempting to take a quick tempo, but was always pulled back by the tricky fingerwork starting at m. 16, followed by the demands for rhythmic precision at m. 19.

Obviously, the performer must figure out a scheme for dynamics, since no direction is given. You can listen to my ideas in the recording, but I also encourage you to experiment on your own!