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 Ginastera Variations...
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-03-11 14:55

My dream (or nightmare?) is coming true, I get to play the Ginastera Variations as 1st clarinet for a concert in April (with Auckland Chamber Orchestra). I've always played this (in auditions) on the A clarinet, using the C clarinet for the middle section.
A fellow clarinettist sent me a relevant dissertation, that includes music for the clarinet variation for clarinets in D, C, Bflat and A (plus E flat clarinet notes in case you get the 2nd to do the run on E flat). It's an interesting read, though doesn't really tell me anything I didn't know...
I'll try to share the dissertation, hopefully that will work...

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-03-11 18:28

Search "Ginastera " here and you will find 186 hits.

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Morrigan 
Date:   2019-03-12 00:32

I think I’ve found the dissertation before, very interesting. Also check out YouTube (you’ve probably already seen the vid I’m talking about anyway).

Best of luck! Looooove the piece, love hearing it played well, hate playing it.

I do the whole thing on the A, I wrote down the fingerings I used to get up the top, I’ll try and find it. It’s essentially a controlled squeak.

Principal Clarinet, Central Band of the Royal Air Force, London
Masters Student, Royal College of Music, London

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-03-12 00:46

Morrigan, there are no squeaks on a clarinet! They are just a wrong overtone coming out, like the French Horns do all the time. :=)

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2019-03-12 04:20

I probably should have played French Horn.

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-03-12 06:01

Listen to Spanish clarinetist Nuno Silva absolutely nail the passage:

Below the Silva clip is a great discussion by the passage by James Zimmerman of Clarinet Jobs.

Even now, some excellent orchestral clarinetists still play the high part on a higher clarinet. In his JoffeWodwinds interview, Bill Hudgins in Boston says he uses the clarinet in D.

Now that we have younger clarinetists regularly wood-shedding the Lundberg and Aho concertos, though, the Ginastera doesn't seem quite so formidable or out of reach. Shelly Ezra, Sammy Lesnick, Nuno Silva, Emil Jonason, Oksana Lyniv, Ido Azrad, and the others doing the Lundberg on YouTube probably find the Ginastera all in a day's work after that.

Post Edited (2019-03-12 06:45)

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-03-12 13:17

The ironic thing is... when the dissertation didn't work as an attachment I abandoned the post- I didn't hit "post" and didn't imagine that it was here. Then when I realised it was (after Ken's comment) I posted to "please delete this" but for some reason that didn't stick (so doesn't show up in the thread????)
Yes, there are already a number of good resources about this work.
Yes, it's not any harder than any number of contemporary pieces (in fact, for Auckland Chamber orchestra I've played pieces that I'd categorise as "harder" than this one...) but one of the things that makes it a bit sticky is that you sort of end up having to deal with things out of your control - crazy flute players, strings who may slow down their slides etc, horns who can't pay (ugh), a conductor who doesn't have sensitivity OR who dogmatically wants to stick to "his/her" tempo regardless of your issues can create insecurity and possibly disaster (maybe you CAN play it super fast, but get a bit off balance... a little relaxation at the baton end of things can save your bacon when that happens).
The Zimmermann clip is interesting, but at the end of the 30min you're not really that much wiser - I like this guy, and he plays very musically, but the clip isn't about MUSIC or interpretation, and that's what this solo is so often lacking (in the "get by by any means necessary" situations we end up performing in).
I doubt I'll be brave enough to put my rendition up on youtube, let's see....

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-03-17 01:34

I had an oppertunity to play it many years ago before I even realized many players played it one the A clarinet so I learned it on the Bb and did a pretty good job too, after many hours of practicing. Because i also played Eb I had my second begin the run that went up to the high c# and I played to end of the run on Eb. In later years when I taught it I found a part in A and gave it to my students to work on telling them to choose which they liked better and could even do some parts on each. Once I learned it on Bb, though I never had to play it again, I found it easier than doing it on the A.


Post Edited (2019-03-19 20:30)

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2019-03-17 21:29

There is no need to play different clarinets for this. Just got to make sure your top B and C# are stable. Happy to share fingerings that are really stable for this. PM me if you want

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: GBK 
Date:   2019-03-18 01:06

cigleris wrote:

> There is no need to play different clarinets for this. Just got
> to make sure your top B and C# are stable. Happy to share
> fingerings that are really stable for this. PM me if you want

Probably a good idea to just post the fingerings in this thread.


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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-03-18 03:12

cigleris , and all, different fingerings are 'stable' differently on every mouthpiece, barrel, instrument, reed combination.

May I suggest Tom Ridenour's fine book, "Clarinet Fingerings", with 4 for the B, 14 for the C, 12 for the C#, and also 9 for the D, 5 for the D# and then an 'addendum' with even more. I have even added a few more that I have found to work on my setup.

Post Edited (2019-03-18 17:26)

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-03-23 09:08

i played it once in my life, and had the eflat player play the last few measures.
i always got the other guy to play it for me all these years!

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-04-19 13:36
Attachment:  Ginastera high bit mp3.mp3 (296k)

So.... the performances came and went. I played the solo on A clarinet, but did the section with the run up to concert B on the C clarinet. This was largely because that's what I'd done years ago for auditions (a couple of auditions I played required this piece back in the late 1990s), and I didn't want to spend ages working on the run at the expense of other parts of the solo. Doing the last section on C clarinet would also ease the last 4 bars of the solo, but I've never gone there- maybe next time.
If anyone is interested, here is my slightly messy run from the middle of the solo...
I use normal fingerings for the run as far as the A (using index finger G) and then for the high B (on C clarinet) finger throat B flat with the bottom 2 right hand side keys.
My intention was to make the highest note the LOUDEST note, as Ginastera composed it, but this didn't happen.

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-04-19 18:19

Bravo Donald. Whenever I hear that run played well it gives me chills. Nice job. How about those last six bars? I haven't researched many recordings but I haven't heard any players nail it. They slow down or hide under the orchestra sound.

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-04-20 04:46

Ken, the last 6 bars went ok (in the 2 rehearsals the conductor actually sped up in this bit, but restrained himself in the concert) but on my A clarinet the open D is a bit lame. I believe Marcellus recorded it on A clarinet using the "normal" fingering for the Ds at the end but that was beyond my power.
On the C clarinet the last 4 bars are pretty easy but i didn't have time to mess around learning something new, as I said above- that's for next time (if there ever is one).

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2019-04-20 12:27

Bravo Donald!

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 Re: Ginastera Variations...
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2019-04-20 19:37

I found a video of Marcellus’ performance at

It is a very smooth and controlled performance, but interestingly, he folds the run to the altissimo C#, playing it an octave lower. Personally, I find this perhaps more in keeping with the lyrical style in which he plays the entire solo.

Bob Barnhart

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