Could someone please tell me why the harp cadenza as written in the orchestral part for the Nutcracker is “both hands together” whereas in Sara Bullen’s book, Principal Harp: A Guidebook for the Orchestral Harpist, the cadenza is written with hands alternating? Also, in the recording of the Nutcracker that I have, the cadenza sounds much longer. Is there something else I should know about this part?
Jennifer, all you have to do is try playing the Waltz of the Flowers solo hands together, and it will soon become apparent why Sara Bullen shows the cadenza edited with the hands alternating. This execution is much smoother and it is far easier to achieve a flowing, brilliant effect. I would venture to say that most harpists play it thus, with the groups in both hands descending. I like to play it right hand notes down, left hand notes up, then switch at the top and play both hand notes down as the line descends. Not sure which recording you are listening to, but Sara Bullen’s edition is a pretty standard rendering of the cadenza.
Hi Jennifer , as i studied in St Petersburg in Russia, i knew that they play the Cadendza downward both hands in different from Moscow and of course Zabel is the reason because he taught in the conservatory of Saint Petersburg, but in Moscow they play the Tchaikovsky Cadenza.
Thank you for your reply. I actually tried to play it both hands together. I like it much better with alternating hands. I will listen once again to the recording of the cadenza with the music in front of me and see if it makes any difference. I was surprised at how long the recording seemed to go on compared to the written part.
Years ago Dorothy Remsen told me that once, while playing the Nutcracker Cadenza, the conductor stopped her and said, “You’re not playing what is written!” Dorothy told me, “Well, what do you say? I sort of gulped and said, ‘ I am playing it the way it is traditionally played, Maestro'”.
Jennifer,i was thinking of your post in the past time, and said to my self that the books of Mrs Sarah Bullen are so good, but the question is do the jury accept her edition if you or we memorize her tow books if you are going to do an audition??? that is the problem, for example i see her Cadenza of Tchaikovsky Valse of Roses Nutcracker, i noticed that its not the same cadenza the conducters
I think, if you tried to play the Waltz of the Flowers cadenza as written for an audition, they would be surprised or even shocked. Everyone is used to hearing it in edited form. I played the version that I learned from Judy Loman (cascading arpeggios, one hand after the other) for all the auditions I did, and nobody ever asked me to play it as written. I would be curious to hear if anyone has had a different experience with it.
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