YouTube Symphony Orchestra audition prep – Day 3

I knew I had set a challenging target to get an audition entry in for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Two weeks to get the audition piece and a solo piece up to a standard I’d be proud to put on the internet for everyone to see.

Well, it was Day 3 yesterday. The Tan Dun piece has been practised a few times, but I put all of my efforts into the solo piece. I’m regretting not learning the Presto from Bach’s G Minor last year. I had a look at it again on Monday and there were just too many notes. 4 pages of semiquavers to be played at speed! If it was slower, then maybe OK – but with the Presto, it has to be fast and the notes just keep coming. My heart sank – what’s left? The orchestra excerpts that I wasn’t too interested in, which leaves the Paganini Caprice No. 20 or 24!!

Aarghhh!! I haven’t really learnt a Paganini Caprice from start to end. I did look at No. 16 a long time ago, and toyed with the E flat one and No. 5. I remember when I took some casual lessons again a few years ago, it was recommended that I start learning them. But I always saw them as an insurmountable challenge.

Well, it’s here. I looked up No. 20 and No. 24 on YouTube, on my sheetmusic, listened to my recording of Perlman playing them and decided to concentrate first on No. 20. It doesn’t seem that long, and I thought I’d rather have tricky fingerings, double/triple stops, octaves, blind shifts into no man’s land and intonation cruelty rather than a million notes an hour 🙂

The good news is that it seems to be going OK so far. I’ve learnt the notes, now it’s time to fine tune it, nail the tricky passages EVERY time, concentrate on the interpretation side of things, up the tempo of the fast part even more but still keep the clarity of the notes and be able to play it from start to end without stopping or stuffing up badly! Luckily with a video audition, I can take as many takes as I want until I get it right, unlike a live audition. It seems like an advantage, but everyone has this advantage anyway, so it’s a level playing field.

If I can play like Erin Keefe below, I’d be very happy.

I still have to play through the Tan Dun piece with the video/backing. Still time left!


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