Maurice Ravel - Daphnis et Chloe (E-flat Clarinet)


The E-flat clarinet part in the ballet Daphnis and Chloe is fun and exposed throughout the ballet, and the dances that make up the second suite are no exception. The parts are full of mistakes, so get the best current corrected edition you can (Clint Nieweg, editor). The first third opens with dawn, and the fast passages are trickling rivulets. These passages are much easier on a D clarinet if you can find a good one to borrow, rent, or buy. At 165 and the measure before 168, I recommend using 1st finger left hand high C-sharp for the third note of this pattern and the final note of the measure. You have to slip left-left on the long B and second C-sharp in the run at 168. Other than that, the fingerings are standard, but awkward. Practice lots! The off-stage part at 160 represents a passing shepherd, and is rarely done off-stage in orchestral performances. You can be a little freer with this, but make sure that syncopations never end up on the downbeat. Make a little space between the two C eighth-notes, and a big dim. starting with the second one. Use a high-C fingering plus the throat A key for an easily controllable high E-flat without having to cross the second break. If it's too flat, you can usually find another third partial fingering pretty easily.

After sitting out the Pantomime, you play a prominent role in the Danse generale, as the first instrument to play one of the main themes at 200. Be careful not to rush the sixteenth-notes on the fifth beat of the bar, or any quarter-rests on the first beat of the bar - this goes for the entire dance. Support a lot, so notes come out smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. Tempos can vary from 152 to 192, but most commonly at 176. 168 is a good tempo for an audition. You can be a little more in your face for the tres en dehors in performance, but tone it down for an audition - you want to sounds as beautiful as possible even in places like this. Committees often find it easier to get a beautiful player to add a little brightness/in-your-facedness than to get an ugly player to tone it down. The principal clarinet imitates you at 201, and you dovetail with them three measures later, making a long, but substantial cresc. to the peak after 203. Use fingerings you can play quickly, and that are at least fairly in-tune. I like side high G a lot, and use it right before 202. I like a nice, reliable, sharp-ish high G 3 after 203, and use 1/12 (see my technique essay for fingering chart). Follow the contour of the hairpins exactly and extremely, and obey all accents. 214 to the end, while tutti, is often on auditions because it's hard, and you can hear the E-flat clarinet in the texture in performance - especially if a wrong note is played. Don't be late at 220 after the eighth-rest or the tie. The ending is measured sixteenth-notes, NOT a tremolo.