What's your favorite seating for Ravel Introduction?

Posted In: Repertoire

  • Participant
    Cecilia Kim on #184207

    Hello everyone,

    I’ve seen many different seating positions for Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro, such as Vn. Va. Fl. Cl. Vc. Hp/ all behind and harp front/ strings, wind, harp. etc….and wonder what your favorite is in terms of overall sound and ensemble.

    Also, would you use music stand as well or rather memorize the piece if you play alone in front of other plays.

    I’d appreciate your opinions!

    Spectator
    Sophie Graf on #184281

    I just played this at college. We started out sitting (left to right, from the audience’s perspective) violins, viola, cello, harp, clarinet, flute. My teacher had us change to violins, viola, cello, clarinet, flute, then harp (even with first violin). According to my group, this improved their ability to hear me. It certainly highlighted the concerto-like nature of the piece. My only complaint was that it was slightly more difficult to communicate with the rest of the ensemble through the strings, but as long as you can see the first violinist it should be fine.

    Although I did use music, in the future I would prefer to play it memorized. Again, this makes it a bit more like a concerto.

    Participant
    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #184306

    There are many balance issues that must be addressed. Moreover, as a chamber concerto, the harp must project over all the instruments. So it should really be in front, with the instruments in a semi-circle behind, or a straight line. I prefer breaking up the strings because if they think as a quartet or section, they mass their sound, which drowns out everyone else. So I would try the flute and clarinet in the middle. It also depends which instrumentalist would lead that group. If the flutist is the dominant player, then that person should sit at the end. It also depends on the hall’s acoustics, so it is ideal to have someone listen in the seats and make adjustments. The instrumentalists could be in a circle, a line or a wedge, or a cluster.
    What does not work is to have the harp facing sideways, behind the instruments, or in the middle but not forward. It is not a septet, as the others are fond of calling it. The harp has the solo passages, the cadenzas. It’s not a piece of chamber music in that sense. It is a concerto, it was written to show off the harp.
    Not the flute, or strings, even if their parts are gorgeous. They should play rather delicately, as it is impressionist music. I heard a group play it on youtube like it was, well it was just loud. And Ravel should not sound loud.

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