1. A portion of a musical composition that permits a performer to make a display of technique, especially in the rapid execution of scales and arpeggios, and that has little thematic or structural importance to the whole: The concerto contained brilliant passagework for the soloist.
2. A musician's performance of this portion of a composition: her virtuosic passagework.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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Her Mozart Sonata K.575 was lucid, lively and graceful, with passagework draped like garlands, and phrases glinting and smiling in the sunlight.
This new publication, edited by Edwin McLean, showcases 14 of these etudes and reveals Heller's approach to the development of a variety of pianistic skills, including voicing, dotted rhythms, large leaps, the sharing of melody between the hands, rapid passagework and controlled tone production, among others.
He claims that even though much of Schumann's music, like the Theme sur le nom Abegg varie (Abegg Variations), contains brilliant passagework, the virtuoso sections serve an important musical purpose and are not merely for show.
Principal bassoonist Victoria Chandler performed Vivaldi's concerto in E minor for her instrument, displaying complete command from the sonorously melancholic adagio to the virtuosic passagework of the final allegro movement.
The trills seemed tighter, the passagework more cleanly articulated, than often they've been in the past; even allowing for some future growth in verbal clarity, she now seems to me as complete a mistress of the dramatic bel canto repertory as anyone singing these roles today; and surely no one inhabits them with more theatrical grace or dramatic power.
Scott displays superior intonation, especially in chromatic and heavily covered fast passagework. This recording of the horn sonata should be a model to which students of the natural horn should aspire.
Both drew playing of big-boned, Romantic intensity: swooning, vibrato-rich melodic lines and plenty of rapid-fire passagework. What lacked in the Mendelssohn, though, was the felicity and lightness of touch that makes up a good deal of that composer's charm.
From then on, however, the piano is used almost continuously in passagework of extreme technical difficulties, as arpeggiated flourishes struggle to be heard over the thick and elaborate orchestration.
If Vivaldi had been a young composer handing me some of that passagework, I almost definitely would have suggested changes--inserting places to breathe, rewriting parts where the figuration is extremely awkward, re-thinking passages where the number of notes per second exceeds normal bodily reality.
Lugansky produced a refined sound, as well as demonstrating astonishing fluency and accuracy in the deceptively difficult chromatic passagework. The sell-out crowd-pleasing programme, broadcast live on Radio 3 (and by some Euro-magic also in Romania!) retained its integrity as an integrated exercise rather than merely being a lucky dip pops format.
This tradition had previously manifested itself in Faure's rapturously pagan song cycles, in the glossy passagework of Saint-Saens's piano concertos, and first of all in those gorgeous harpsichord acrobatics that the early 18th century's Francois Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau had brought to the highest imaginative pitch.
Imogen Cooper's two appearances as soloist also lacked sparkle, and with little communication between her and the orchestra, the two concertos lost the necessary drive and vitality, instead merging into a rather homogeneous series of scales and passagework. There were occasional glimmers of radiance in Cooper's performance, but as a soloist she was outshone by the excellent woodwind, notably Juliette Bausor (flute), who injected moments of poignant beauty into an otherwise somewhat bland concert.