Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kodály Concerto for Orchestra

The Kodály Concerto for Orchestra was the biggest surprise this week. Nobody seemed to know it. Evidently it was written for the CSO and first performed here in 1941. Somebody quipped that this was probably the second performance. A bit unfair since it isn’t such a bad piece. There were a number of tricky passages that came up – and went by – quickly when we read through it. Here is a typical example of an exposed passage for cellos and basses, along with the emergency fingering I came up with. The tempo is about quarter = 120.

And this was a rude awakening. The pizzicato indication is not a typo. My stand partner was trying to use ‘banjo’ technique – pizzicato with the thumb and middle finger. I wondered if the slurs were supposed to indicate some sort of ‘strumming’ technique, so that is what I tried – alternating fingers and strumming from the top down. Later in the piece a similar pizzicato passage came up without the slurs, so I have no idea what they really mean.

I saw most players trying fingerings something like this:

I used the fingering I showed above just to be different. Staying on the G string has is advantages.

The last page had another surprise. The bowings we used are shown by the little slurs below the staff. The fingering had to be more or less a stopgap measure.


matthew said...

I really appreciate this blog. How are you creating these musical examples?

Michael Hovnanian said...

I use Finale.