By David Itkin
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Additional info for Conducting Concerti: A Technical and Interpretive Guide
We were already in two (since Alla breve at 14) and nothing of the music at 16 implies something contrary to that. The bar before 17, marked calando, can be a bit trickier than it looks at first glance. It is not specifically this bar, but coordination in the following bar, which may cause a problem for some conductors. The possible lack of coordination at 17 is the result of the conductor not being able to accurately anticipate the degree of rallentando at the end of the previous bar. As the soloist executes the last two triplets, the conductor must commit to a clear and unambiguous gesture as preparation for the pizzicato on the following downbeat, as well as setting clear tempo for the bass clarinet, whose figures are awkward and exposed (despite being marked pianissimo).
Piano Concerti 2 57 At bar 20, the celli and basses may need to be cautioned to play precisely the rhythm in their parts, and not to imitate the similar, but not identical rhythm in the upper strings. The completely legato line in the low strings, lacking the rests found in violins and viole, better communicates both the crescendo and the drama in this bar. The same situation can be found in bars 35 and 316. The quarter notes in the strings from bar 42 to bar 45 are not marked staccato, as they are earlier in the movement.
A fourth solution, and my preference, is to take the composer’s metronome markings literally, but to add a slight incalzando at 12, getting the tempo moving forward just enough by 13 to make cutting it in half come out correctly as q = 84. In the third bar after 20 the composer asks that we use the next two bars to move from q = 120 to q = 84 by means of rall. poco a poco. For some reason, many conductors and pianists take the new tempo subito at this point, and this is not at all what the composer asked.