Hardest sight-reading you've ever had at an audition?

December 11, 2005 at 05:37 AM · Just wanting to compare the experience I had today :-)

Replies (26)

December 11, 2005 at 04:39 PM · *ponders*

I don't think this is the hardest thing I've ever had to sightread but in recent past I had (for a competition requirement) the violin part for Kodaly's Terzetto I think it was called....anyways...for two violas and violin.

December 11, 2005 at 06:31 PM · I wasn't so happy when I got something in 5/4, C sharp minor, and marked presto. Especially since sight-reading is my ultimate weakness and I'm still young!

What's the point of sight-reading in C sharp minor anyway? I don't think I've ever played anything in that key before and don't tihnk I ever will...

December 11, 2005 at 07:00 PM · Milly, how about E-Major? :)

December 11, 2005 at 07:44 PM · The most difficult key signature I've ever had to sight read was e-flat minor.

December 11, 2005 at 08:13 PM · f minor

December 11, 2005 at 08:21 PM · Mozart "Overture to the Mariage of Figaro" - that articulation needs to be so gosh darn precise!

December 11, 2005 at 10:38 PM · Rita: My brain doesn't think that quickly!

December 12, 2005 at 09:45 PM · I had a regional high school orchestra audition on Saturday...

D-flat Major, 4/4, 120 Beats per minute

As if it weren't hard enough, on beat rests and off beat notes showed up as well as triplet quarter notes. There were only 2 accidentals (which in this case would have been warmly welcomed). The piece went from first position up to 7th position (or something around there no one auditioning actually had a chance to figure out what notes they were above the 6 or 7 ledger line passages that lasted for a few bars) over a span of one note. Absolutely horrible. The only thing I played right was the first measure. After that, everything disintegrated.

December 13, 2005 at 12:59 AM · THe first violin part to the first beethoven symphony, first movement. It wasn't THAT hard, after I practiced it, but the counting in the beginning...was AWFUL. I suddenly forgot how to subdivide, how many beats a quarter note gets....the conductor kept tapping to keep me on time. That was years ago, though. I hope I'm better!

December 13, 2005 at 04:03 AM · I had to sight read a part of Tchaik's Serenade once. But my hardest ever was an excerpt from Hidemith's Symphonic Metamorphsis!! That was a bit hard i might say haha.

December 15, 2005 at 06:01 AM · Beethoven's 8th!!

It wasn't the notes it was the damned speed. Heck if Beethoven wanted them played that fast he should have made them 64ths.

Another one was a very slow piece (I can't remember what it was), but it had 32nds and 64ths and dotted notes and rests all over the place! -- Same logic applies...if the darned composer wanted the piece to be played slowly why didn't they work with 1/8ths or something? ;-)

Best thing is, when you get a piece like the above, or something in a bizarre key, ask the folks auditioning you whether you can have a few moments to think it through. If they know the music is tough to sight-read, they will probably respect the fact that you're going to take a moment to reflect rather than jump in like someone gone mad.

December 15, 2005 at 09:56 AM · Just as something not related to violin, but sight reading. I had to sight "sing" in alto clef - as im sure most of you are aware is the hardest -for me anyways - clef to read in, and it was sight singing. Its not really necessary to point out how much i sucked in that exam. but i agree, sight reading is a bugger as well!

December 15, 2005 at 09:56 AM · sorry i posted it twice

December 15, 2005 at 02:36 PM · The opening of Bartok Divertimento, 1st vln.

December 15, 2005 at 05:22 PM · My old teacher used to say that the sightreading that will say the most about a violinist is a Haydn quartet or symphony first violin part with flats in the key signature and in 3/8, 6/8, or 9/8. Flats scare most violinists and anything in a meter where you have eighth notes as the pulse and beats made of three notes are terribly hard rhythmically. Ironically, at my Oberin audition, they gave me a Haydn quartet, 1st violin, in 6/8 and gm. Go figure!

December 15, 2005 at 05:24 PM · Oh, and the Nutcracker. The suite isn't too hard, but I had to fill in for a first violinist in a local orchestra last night for a staged production of the Nutcracker. The first movement is not sightreadable, especially if you're in a dark orchestra pit with no glasses!

December 15, 2005 at 05:35 PM · The Scherzo from Tchaik 2 - it was supposed to be a prepared excerpt but the BBC SSO admin staff hadn't mailed it to me, for reasons best known to themselves.

December 17, 2005 at 02:14 AM · it was a modern piece from the turtle island string quartet. for a more classical violinist, it was bit unusual to see at first.

also, the most annoying piece to sight read is anything handwritten. esp. the korngold violin concerto orchestra part.

December 20, 2005 at 04:39 AM · 4+ flats....UGH....i'm cool w/ 5 sharps...but flats...X_X

January 28, 2008 at 02:32 PM · Ian, it wasn't that long, snakey soli passage in the first violins, was it? That would just be cruel.

The hardest thing I sightread was at Brevard where they used part of a Dvorak quartet I didn't recognize. I don't remember what made it so difficult, except I know there were a lot of fast triplets. Then in the middle of nowhere he plops a big fat half note. Everyone who came out reported that they'd forgotten how to count!

January 28, 2008 at 03:43 PM · Ha! Hardest one I did was actually a mistake made by the conductor, a French Horn player. He made us sight read the huge scale passages in the beginning of the Valkyries in an audition. 3 out of 74 auditioners were able to do it. (I was one of them, but we could only do them really slowly).

January 28, 2008 at 11:47 PM · Most of it has been dead easy - though I once auditioned for Principal Viola with BBC Scottish and got given Don Juan. I never expected the actual job - but did render the Walton pretty well, I thought ...

Usually they give you ~prepared~ excerpts for the tricky stuff like Enigma Variations, Don Juan, Mozart 39 etc.

January 29, 2008 at 12:16 AM · The most crazy thing I've ever had to sight read would have to be my teachers composition. It was in C flat major with these crazy little sixteenth note scale paterns followed by a ricochet passage. It sorta reminded me of Paganini so I made the comment " Oh my gosh, Paganini, what were you trying to do, kill Gustave(my viola)!".

After the chair auditions she simply told us "Oh by the way, that sight reading peace that I had you play was a fake!"

January 31, 2008 at 01:04 AM · "C flat major" sounds like a sick joke - though Heifetz makes Friedmann play a scale in it following a failed attempat at Pag 17 in one of the videos.

January 31, 2008 at 05:38 AM · Back in my youth symphony days I used to stand right outside the door on seating audition day and listen to all the people before me play the sight-reading. By the time it was my turn, I'd pretty much learned the piece by ear. ;-)

Kids, don't do this. It's cheating. It works great, though. ;-)

January 31, 2008 at 10:40 AM · Oh my gosh, I did that too.

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