Poème, Op. 25
In this masterclass, Professor Augustin Dumay demonstrates how to phrase and capture the intensity in Chausson’s Poème. He cautions the student against having too much physical tension while trying to produce the right character for the music, as being mindful of shoulder tension will prevent health problems down in the future. Dumay works with the student to find a variety of expressive colors in the music and exaggerate the phrasing and direction. To help with this, Dumay offers many alternate bowing suggestions that will better serve the phrasing. He also stresses the importance of maintaining lyricism throughout, regardless of the intensity of the mood. However, though there should always be connection, Dumay also teaches the student that not all notes should be equal. There should be a clear distinction between the most important notes or sections and accompanimental figures to give clarity to the musical expression.
Creating intensity in the music without adding tension.
Choosing advantageous bowings.
Deciding which notes are most important and which are accompanimental.
Always having direction in the phrasing and expressive color.
Poème’s genius is in its agility and finesse. Originally, the piece was subtitled “Le Chant de l'amour triomphant” (The Song of Triumphant Love), a short story by Ivan Turgenev about two friends, a painter and a musician who fall in love with the same woman. After choosing the painter, the musician spends many years traveling India and other Asian countries. He returns home with new skills, one of these being his ability to play an Indian one-stringed instrument, where he plays the “Song of Triumphant Love.”
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Augustin Dumay’s feedback and comments.
He is Master in Residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth (Brussels) where he teaches young violinists of the highest level, most of them winners of major international competitions.
Augustin Dumay began his career in 1980 thanks to Herbert von Karajan, who invited him to play as a soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Since then, he has gone on to perform with Europe’s best orchestras, including the Philharmonia, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Mahler Chamber, Camerata Salzburg, Tonhalle Zürich, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Montreal Symphony, under the direction of S. Ozawa, C. Davis, C. von Dohnanyi, C. Dutoit, G. Rozhdestvensky, D. Zinman, Y. Temirkanov, K. Masur, W. Sawallisch, K. Sanderling, I. Fischer, as well as with the leading conductors of the new generation such as D. Harding, A. Gilbert, and R. Ticciati.
His duo with pianist Maria João Pires has toured the world several times. His fifty recordings for EMI and Deutsche Grammophon have won multiple international awards.
Béla Kovács was born in 1937 in Hungary and studied under György Balassa at the Liszt musical academy in Budapest for 5 years between 1951 and 1956. Upon graduation, he joined both the Hungarian State Opera and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Budapest as First Clarinet and remained there until his retirement in 1981. Béla Kovács wrote several Études pieces for clarinet, a set of homages written in the style of famous composers, with the aim to help young musicians play all kinds of styles and techniques. His compositions remain used to this day and are widely popular. Kovács married ballet dancer Adél Orosz in 1962 and stayed with her until he died in 2021. He toured and recorded extensively, and was a well-established musician, teacher, and composer.
Photo credit: Béla KOVÁCS