Difficulty of Lark Ascending
Techinically the piece does not sound very demanding besides the other musical aspects, but what are some hidden technical difficulties in the piece that are not obvious upon listening?
It's roughly equivalent to one of the less-difficult Romantic concertos in the standard repertoire. If you can play Bruch, you can probably play Lark Ascending.
Intonation in general is tricky. There is an especially nasty double stop passage which is very exposed.
Intonation is indeed tricky: the modal writing, with much pentatonic content, requires very pure intervals, even in melodic passages.
The double-stop passage Bruce is talking about is made extra-nasty by the fact that it's built around an intervals such that when you place a double-stop, if you hold down a finger in a logical fashion, it might actually result in the next double-stop being out of tune because you need a slightly different placement for it to sound in tune.
It's one of those pieces that sounds easier than it actually is.
Many years ago we performed the Lark Ascending and got in a local pro to play the solo. The rehearsal was ok but the performance was a dog's breakfast. The fellow apologised to the orchestra afterwards and, I understand, waived his fee.
Note that the above-mentioned difficulties are more closely related to how well you want to play the work artistically and with a high degree of technical perfection, versus whether or not you can get through it.
The one performance I did of the piece was with the Waco symphony. On the same program Emmanuel Axe played the Beethoven Choral Fantasy. Mr. Axe was paid $50,000. I was paid $500.Nevertheless I was happy to have the opportunity.
Easily done if you are a lark.
Rocky I think the overall point is that this is not the kind of piece that one plays on a lark...
Does anyone know of any videos of masterclasses on Lark Ascending? Am just starting to play it but haven't been able to find anything like a masterclass, just performances.