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Isabel Charisius, Rolla, Adagio e tema con variazioni

Sequence published on 2/16/21
Composer : Alessandro Rolla
Year of composition : 1830
Artistic period : Classique
Academy : Academy Feb. 14 - Feb. 21, 2021
Master(s) : Isabel Charisius
Student : Gatien Leray
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"There are two things to think about. The one is where to put the angle of your arm." Isabel Charisius

About the Alto class of Isabel Charisius on the Adagio e tema con variazioni

Master class Alto, Isabel Charisius | Rolla, Adagio e Tema

Alessandro Rolla's work “Adagio e tema con variazioni” is often performed by violists in competitions, since it is rather difficult to perform. This master class examines several difficult points of the piece and discusses finding certain solutions to them. The focus of the master is the use of vibrato in various conditions. Tempo restrictions for vibrato are also considered in conjunction with the ability to change the timbre when played with the upper or lower end of the bow.

The technique of an inaudible shift of the bow at different tempos is considered. The necessity of forming the principles of performing technique within the limits of a certain style and reliance on the intonation and harmony of the work is indicated. 

What we learn in this Alto Master class

- To control the moment of vibrato
- To correlate the sound quality with the tempo
- To change the method of sounding with high and low parts of the bow
- To make the shifts inaudible and prepared
- To relax the elbow and arm muscles in passages.

About Alessandro Rolla's work

Alessandro Rolla (22 April 1757 – 15 September 1841) was an Italian viola and violin virtuoso, composer, conductor, and teacher. His son, Antonio Rolla, was also a violin virtuoso and composer. His fame now rests mainly as "teacher of the great Paganini', yet his role was very important in the development of violin and viola technique.
Some of the technical innovations that Paganini later used largely, such as left-hand pizzicato, chromatic ascending and descending scales, the use of very high positions on violin and viola, octave passages, were first introduced by Rolla. Because of the technical innovations introduced, his work might be considered helpful for the development of the viola technique. His style varies from the very melodic phrases typically operatic in character, rich in fioritura to the extremely virtuoso writing, the style we are used to identifying with Paganini. Ingredients of this technique are an ample use of double stops, fast passages in thirds and sixths, octaves from the first to the eighth position, very fast ascending and descending diatonic and chromatic scales, flying staccato, left-hand pizzicato. This intense virtuosity was an innovation for viola technique, practically unheard of in previous times. Bertini, a historian of his time, in a dictionary of musicians reported that Rolla was prohibited to play in public because women could not listen to him without fainting or being struck by attacks of nerves.
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