When Mozart finally sent the remainder of his Haffner serenade to his father, he only had this to say about the finale: "The first Allegro should be done with great fire, and the last should go just as fast as possible."1 Like most of the technical excerpts discussed here, a tempo of ♩= 138-144 is acceptable for auditions, and this is the tempo taken in many of the included examples as well.
Developing a Fast Single Tongue
As a bassoonist who relies almost entirely on single tonguing, I can assure readers that it is in fact possible to develop a single tongue fast enough for this excerpt. More than tonguing speed, though, Haffner tests our tonguing endurance. It is one thing to be able to tongue sixteenth notes at ♩= 138-144 for a measure or two, but a vastly more difficult task to do so for thirty bars.
As Waterhouse explains, the most important aspect of developing a fast single tongue involves ensuring that there is no excess movement in the jaw or throat. He offers the following sage advice: “It is axiomatic that maximum speed will only be achieved if and when there is little muscular involvement elsewhere.”2 Therefore, it makes sense that the most important thing we must do to develop a fast single tongue is to discover and remove any extraneous movement in the tonguing process. We can take notice and then work to remove any visible jaw or embouchure movement by practicing in front of a mirror.3 The mechanics and considerations of fast tonguing are explained in greater detail in the Articulation section.
For passages with wide leaps, such as those found in mm. 32 to 36, Waterhouse also suggests adopting a “mid-point embouchure” that will accommodate both extremes of the interval.4 More important than altering our embouchure for both notes of the leap is to focus on changing our internal voicing. For the octave leaps in mm. 32 to 36, I use either an “OOH” or “AAH” voicing for the bottom notes and an “EEE” voicing for the upper notes.5 The upper E3s also have a tendency to be flat in this passage, so I add the right hand thumb B♭ to help keep the pitch up (Fingering 12.1).
As we discussed for Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, note groupings can play a huge role in keeping the air stream moving forward during fast tonguing passages. As you work to develop a fast single tongue action, it is important to remember that the airstream actually plays a more important role than the tongue itself; a simple way of remembering this is to realize that the airstream can exist without tonguing, but tonguing cannot exist without the airstream. The middle section (mm. 26 to 30) can be especially troublesome because of the lower range and M6 interval between the B and G♯, so I prefer using the groupings shown in Example 12.1 to keep the air moving forward.
Example 12.1. Mozart, Symphony No. 35, Mvt. IV – mm. 26 to 30, note groupings
Because these groupings are very forward-looking (always providing three pick-up notes to the main beats), they help to keep the air flowing forward as well.6 In contrast, playing the passage in four-note groupings as beamed can inadvertently cause the air to falter in between the larger leaps. To practice these groupings and develop this sense of forward motion, try adding fermatas to beats one and three (Example 12.2).
Example 12.2. Mozart, Symphony No. 35, Mvt. IV – mm. 26 to 30, re-beamed music with practice fermatas
1 Downes, 680.
2 Waterhouse, 123.
3 If you do not have a large mirror handy, try using the built-in camera on your laptop, phone, or tablet.
4 Waterhouse, 117.
5 These voicings are similar to those I use for the wide leaps in the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
6 These three-note pick-ups also help bring out the harmonic motion by emphasizing A (scale degree 1), D (scale degree 5), G♯ (scale degree 7), and a return to A (scale degree 1).