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James Rae: 12 modern etudes for solo saxophone

Andante cantabile

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In the short time I have have worked on this book it has become one of my favourites. It was "composed to develop 'positive playing' at an advanced level", and it is meant to "incorporate many of the musical elements encountered by players of today".

I am sure that many of the contributors to this forum are already familiar with it, and I therefore will not describe in detail. Most of the etudes are two pages, some only one. And they seem to range mostly from Grade 6 to Grade 8.

This book is probably about as "modern" as I ever will require, but I suspect it is still some distance from being truly contemporary. I bought it as an afterthought, and it has paid off. BTW, the printing is exceedingly clear.

What do others think of it?
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Yes, it's very good, as is 20 Modern Studies.

Can you play them all at the marked tempos?
 

Andante cantabile

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695
Playing them at the right speed will be a long-term project. Fortunately Rae is a good sport, and he says that "metronome markings are given only as a guide and performers should feel free to modify these within reason".

I am quite close with no. 10 (Cascades) which consists mainly of a set of chromatic runs. No. 3 (Triplet Prelude) is coming along, but the subtoning (bars 34 to 37) needs a lot more work. It comes after an ff passage and is followed by a forte.

Up to now I have worked a lot on Rossari, Parisi and (as they say) "the other guys in the band". The Rae studies (both the 12 and the 20) are outside my comfort zone. That gives one a much better insight into the skills that good players are required to have.
 

dooce

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1,418
I took it when my wife and I went travelling last/this year as I wanted something challenging to enhance, rather than just maintain my "skills" in the 7 months we were away. Unfortunately the opportunities to practice on my soprano weren't as many as I had hoped, but the pieces are fun to play I still managed to make a reasonable impression on the first 6 numbers, along with manful attempts at Parisi's 40 Studies. I don't think I managed the enhancing bit of my objectives but at least it stopped me rusting up altogether (and I actually had some nice compliments from people who were in hearing range of my practice sessions!)
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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but the subtoning (bars 34 to 37) needs a lot more work. It comes after an ff passage and is followed by a forte.
"sub. p" doesn't mean subtoning. It's short for "subito piano" - suddenly quiet.

I'd quite like to hear someone do 8 at the stated tempo. I can't do it but I'd bet there are loads of talented college students who can.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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695
"sub. p" doesn't mean subtoning. It's short for "subito piano" - suddenly quiet.

I'd quite like to hear someone do 8 at the stated tempo. I can't do it but I'd bet there are loads of talented college students who can.
Thanks for this. It just goes to show that it pays to discuss what one is working on. There is always someone who can help.
 

littleplum

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441
I would love to hear some of the tunes played at the suggested speeds in this book. Have you tried 'If only'? there is a good rendition on youtube by a young lad for Iceland I think.

One of my students played this for his Grade 8 and on the examiners report he had written, ' I was unable to detect the pulse in this piece, it was as if it had been improvised' At the top of the first page of this piece, James Raes directions say 'play as if improvised'

We queried the score and comment and they regraded it up by 2 points which was enough to move from a pass to a merit.

This is a good book with a lot of work in it, but worth it.

Dave
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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I know this is an old thread, but I am trying to play the Triplet Prelude - No 2 in James Rae 12 Modern Etudes.
(Much much slower than the tempo given.)

Does anyone know whether the E-naturals in bar 15 are intentional, or are they a typo?
Every other time this pattern occurs, they are Eb's.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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6,130
I just got an answer from James Rae - they should be Eb's like all the others.
The typo seems to be in the newest edition only.
 
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