Music Spotlight: “Five Bagatelles” by Gerald Finzi

One of my favorite composers is Gerald Finzi. He writes the most beautiful melodies and his phrasing is superb. I find that his music is never boring and that every phrase is a new adventure of sorts. Although Finzi is best known for his vocal music, his output also includes a piece for oboe and string quartet, a violin concerto, a cello concerto, and two works for the clarinet.

With his primary output being vocal and choral music, it seems to make sense that he wrote for the clarinet since the clarinet is the closest instrument to the human voice! Finzi’s experience as a composer for vocals is very apparent in the style of his clarinet compositions. The lines are some of the most lyrical ones in the clarinet repertoire. You may find that the melodies in the slower movements of the Five Bagatelles lend themselves well to singing.

Finzi’s music tends to be thickly scored and complex. He also explores plenty of key signatures and meters. There are no boring moments in his writing and he apparently enjoyed playing with his ideas.

Five Bagatelles is a wonderful work with five contrasting movements:
I. Prelude
II. Romance
III. Carol
IV. Forlana
V. Fughetta

Approximate duration is 14 minutes.

Cover tiny file
look inside
Five Bagatelles, Op. 23 (Clarinet and Piano)
(Clarinet and Piano). Composed by Gerald Finzi (1901-1956). For Clarinet, Piano (Clarinet). Boosey & Hawkes Chamber Music. Classical. Set of performance parts. 21 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060030253. Published by Boosey & Hawkes (HL.48009725).

Continue reading “Music Spotlight: “Five Bagatelles” by Gerald Finzi”

Preparing for an Audition



face-sad-sweating-300pxDoes this word scream “opportunity” to you? Or does it signify a time of fear and a few moments of sheer terror? Does the word excite you or make you sweat?

If you have ever prepared for an audition for anything, you know how terrifying it can be. Whether it’s for a chair audition in your school band or orchestra, or a higher stakes audition to get into a certain college or to advance in a competition, or even make it into a symphony orchestra, auditions are a big deal.

The good news is that auditions don’t have to be scary! In fact, with the right preparation, they can be a satisfying experience, even if you don’t make it to the number one spot.


The more experience you have doing something, the more comfortable you tend to be with the process.  Continue reading “Preparing for an Audition”

Correct embouchure.

Back to Basics: Embouchure, Part 2

In my last post about clarinet embouchure, you learned about visible part of your face when you make a correct or incorrect embouchure. There are a few things that you still need to know about the part of the embouchure that you cannot see: the unique clarinet tongue position and the shape of the throat.  Since I am without X-ray photos and and live MRI videos, you will have to take my words and use your mind’s eye to figure this out. Hopefully, the short audio examples at the end will give you a bit more understanding.

First, I’d like to start by mentioning something I left out in my previous post.IMG_0522

Puffing cheeks. 

I didn’t even mention it.  After all the photos you saw, I hope that you noticed that the cheeks were never puffed out. Continue reading “Back to Basics: Embouchure, Part 2”