Beethoven's Leonore No. 3 and Symphony No. 4: An analytical comparison of two adagios and their validity as flute audition
Wade-English, Melinda K.
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This lecture recital thesis will debate, through a comparative study, the validity of using the Adagio from Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 as an orchestral principal flute audition excerpt and whether the Adagio from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 might prove more effective in representing a performer’s skills. The opening flute material in Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 has become paramount in flute auditions worldwide. The flute takes part in the ensemble’s harmonic foreshadowing and musical symbolism of imprisonment, contributing to the overture’s efficacy in laying the tonal and emotional groundwork for the remainder of the opera Fidelio; however, the repetitiveness and lack of soloistic content of the flute part make this excerpt a weak choice for an audition. In contrast, Beethoven’s compositional style in the Adagio movement of Symphony No. 4, as in his prior symphonies, promotes the flute and other wind instruments to the roles of soloists; this is one of Beethoven’s many significant contributions to symphonic literature and makes this flute solo an excellent choice for an orchestral audition excerpt. This thesis will introduce the historical context, musical innovations, and harmonic structure of both Adagios, as well as their similarities and differences. It will also examine the proficiencies considered most important for orchestral principal flutists (such as accurate intonation, precise rhythm, stylistic expressiveness, and ensemble leadership). The two Adagios’ flute parts will be discussed as they showcase these proficiencies, and an argument will be made that the flute excerpt from the Adagio of iii Texas Tech University, Melinda Wade-English, December 2014 Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony is a better choice for an orchestral flute audition excerpt than the Adagio from Leonore No. 3.