Sergei Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf

Nervoso solo video

Representing the cat in this children's piece is fun. Just don't fall out of the tree! Your first big solo begins with pick-ups to 11, and is almost never on auditions. Play as if a fat housecat, with their usual detachment, just out for a leisurely stroll.

The solo at 20 represents the cat escaping the wolf. First, the cat nervously circles the tree looking for a spot to climb, then they claw at the trunk with short jumps, then walk up the bark (triplets), then leap from branch to branch until they finally reach the top, only to pretend that they weren't nervous at all. Watch a cat climb a tree to get an idea of what Prokofiev is going for.

The tempo is VERY fast. Play the quarter notes slightly longer than the eighths, and be strictly in rhythm so that the dialogue with the orchestra is in perfect sync. When you reach the triplets, it's ok to stretch the first few notes a bit, but you should adhere to the marked tempo as much as possible. From here, you must get faster, as hard as that is. Cresc. over the two bars, and do your best to make the throat B-flat, our weakest note, the loudest note of this run. Continue your accel. through the grace-notes. Practice them diligently so that every note can be heard. Return to tempo where marked, and play subito p on the barline. Linger a little on the p eighth-note, and have a little slinky rubato between the D-flat and F-flat. Make a smooth descent to the long G-flat and fade.

Some conductors like to be much freer with the tempo in this passage than others. I've heard the triplets played very slowly, in fact. At an audition, try to adhere to Prokofiev's instructions much as possible. Some people like to play this on the B-flat clarinet. Try it and see if it makes it easier for you. You can certainly play a throat A louder than the throat B-flat!