Aus der Ferienzeit for Violin and Piano, Opp.49 & 50
David wrote five series of his Aus der Ferienzeit (From the vacation time) his Opp.46, 47, 48, 49 and 50. Each series had six pieces, a total of thirty in all. They were dedicated to his son Paul David, a violinist and conductor. Published in 1873, the year of his death, they were composed sometime between 1865 and 1872. The Opp.49 and 50 are the penultimate and last of the series The title David gave to these pieces is somewhat misleading, implying that are merely works composed by him and tossed off during his vacation hours. Nothing could be further from the truth—to the contrary they combine the radicalism of his good friend Schumann, but dressed up in appealing garb. However, these are not mere morsels, but substantial pieces, all fit for the recital hall. The six pieces of the Op.49 are in order of composition: Capriccio, Ballade, Canzonetta, Kirchenstücke (a piece for church) Ungeduld (Impatience) and Traumbild (Images from a dream). Those of Op.50 are Scherzo, Menuett, Berceuse, Mazurka, Im Wald (In the forest) and Ungarish (Hungarian). Although all six pieces of either series could make up an entire recital program, the equal of two or three sonatas, it seems likely that David did not intend for all six to be performed at one time. What was intended was for the performer to pick three or four to make up half a recital program or to use any one for a suitable encore. Tremendously popular throughout the 19th century, this is how they were heard in concert—and they were heard often, because they are highly attractive works. The Aus der Ferienzeit series is historically important because it is a mirror of the middle of the 19th century and give us a first hand glance at what was often being performed at recitals.
Perhaps it was coincidence, but Ferdinand David (1810-1873) was born in the same house in Hamburg as Felix Mendelssohn one year later. The two became colleagues and friends. David studied violin with the famous virtuoso Louis Spohr. He served as concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of Mendelssohn and held the position of Professor of Violin at the Leipzig Conservatory. Among his many famous students were Joseph Joachim and August Wilhelmj. His name has endured as the editor of several famous chamber music works and as well as pieces for the violin. Among his compositions still in use are his Advanced School of Violin Playing and Art of Bowing.
Unavailable for more than a century, we are pleased to bring them back. Every violinist should have at least one or two of these gems in their repertoire as did virtually every violinist before the First World War, after which they sadly disappeared. Not only can anyone of these little gems serve as an encore, but they can be put together to make a program selection of any length as our soundbites illustrate, or even make an entire concert.
(A) Aus der Ferienzeit Series 4, Op.49
(B) Aus der Ferienzeit Series 5, Op.50
(C) Series 4 and 5, Opp.49 & 50