Topic: A Bartok suggestion and questio - Der Wunderbare (Miraculous) Mandarin

The University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra is performing Der wunderbare Mandarin (concert version, not the entire ballet) by Bartok in its final concert this year.  I get the honor of working up the first bassoon part.  I have one question to anyone that has played this and one suggestion for anyone in the future that has to work this up.

First my suggestion.
Just before letter C or rehearsal # 37 there is a rapid chromatic passage that basically is a notated four note trill from high A to high C and back.  Here is a fingering suggestion to facilitate the speed required here.
Finger A
X X X | O O O F
  a c#

for A# add second finger right hand.  For B remove third finger left hand.  For C remove second finger left hand.  Then going down replace the second finger, then third fingers of right hand, then remove the second finger left hand (so use the same fingerings as going up).  Rhythmically focus on landing the lowest notes (A) on the 8th note values and the rest should hopefully fall into place.

Now for my question.
The bar before rehearsal # 35 has a very rapid passage starting on E4.  For anyone willing to take a shot at this I'll explain the passage if you don't have the music.  Quarter note = 112.  Passage is all 32nd notes.  Pitches are as follows (remember, starting on the E above middle C):

E, G, A, Bb, B, G#, F#, Eb, C (8th note)

So the shape is an ascending line up to the B and back down from there.  Is this even playable by mere mortals?  I've more or less given up on playing it note for note, I can hardly trill between two notes fast enough, but if anyone has any fingering suggestions or musical ideas I'd willing to take a stab at it.  Does it even matter if I play this passage in context (we haven't started rehearsals yet so I honestly don't know how exposed it is - haven't got my hands on a recording yet).

Last edited by Trent (2008-04-06 10:28:58)

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: A Bartok suggestion and questio - Der Wunderbare (Miraculous) Mandarin

Your fast 32nd note passage is not really exposed, too much. I honestly don't recall a difficult tremolo at all in the piece. The 32nd note passage is playable. Its the last 4 notes that are the problem. The grace notes in the high solo were the worst bit for me until I abreveated the accending B, C# to the high D. It goes by quickly and its important to keep with the rhythmic pulse there. I believe I'm very mortal so just keep with it !!!!!

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