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Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: La Forze del Destino

Andrea Conti  - contia@dada.it
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The excerpt usually requested at auditions is the Andante mosso; the Finale of the Overture may also be asked.

Initially one should study the first excerpt at a slower tempo, so that legato, slide and F-attachment can be well co-ordinated while playing the first four notes of the figure. Note that too slow a tempo could destroy the phrasing of the piece and should therefore be avoided.

I mention the F-attachment as an aid for the technical passages which are not readily accommodated by the slide. One should assimilate this passage through conscientious application of solfeggio, because it is essentially in 12/8. It should be played using a light articulation as the tempo (approximately 66 for the dotted quarter) doesn't provide room for the natural slur. We can breathe before the first E-flat, thus avoiding an additional inhalation in the middle of the crescendo. After the technical aspects have been brought into line, one can begin work on the style.

Remember that the peak of the phrase is on the sixth note; the crescendo must lead to this note and the diminuendo will therefore have to be quick, almost a forte-piano so that we come back to the piano of the beginning.

This excerpt is scored unisono with the first bassoon as well as the celli and bassi and should be played no louder than the woodwind and string voices.

During an audition the piece must be played very softly, yet each note should be clearly audible. The entire passage of the Andante mosso is a transfiguration of a theme from the overture and by respecting the crescendi and decrescendi we can give an idea of the leading force that characterizes Verdian themes.

Moving onward we come to the Presto. Be careful not to rush the 16th notes which must be clean and well defined. Do not over accentuate or shorten the eigth-note that precedes the second and third group of sixteenth-notes (F sharp / G sharp).

In the Allegro brillante the first seven measures are in octaves with the trumpet. These require clear and well-defined tongue articulation. Note that in the measure with forte, in spite of the diminuendo, the accent falls on the long note. Maintain accurate pitch among the passages with piano and those with sudden forte.

In the passage following the three silent measures we have to pay attention to the accented and staccato notes. The long note must always be played with an accent, almost a forte-piano. The same has to be observed in the fourth measure of the soli. A sudden diminuendo will allow strings to stand out from trombones' chorale.

Upon reaching the Piu animato, play the notes of the first measure with a well-defined articulation and a slight accent, even though they are legato.

At the end, in the last six measures we find two E Major arpeggios. Watch your intonation here and do not rush them. According to superstition this is an opera which brings bad luck. In spite of this legend the melodies and themes of the overture are a wonderful example of the beauty of Verdi's operas which often have only a very simple accompaniment but are always sustained by a captivating, overwhelming and inimitable force.

Thanks to Bob Tucci and Timothy Marchmont for their valuable aid in translating.