Eight Salon Stücke for Violin and Piano, Op.36
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.
David wrote four series of Salon Stücke or Salon Pieces, his Opp.24, 25, 28 and 36. The Op.36 is the last of the series and was composed in the late 1840’s. The title David gave to these pieces is somewhat misleading, implying that they are merely works for the salon. 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 Op.36 consists of eight pieces: Klage (Lament), Frish und lebendig (Fresh and lively), Agitato, Scherzo grazioso, Lied, Notturno pastorale, In Polnischer Weise (In a Polish Meadow), and Saltarello. Although all eight pieces could make up an entire recital program, they equal of two or three sonatas, it seems likely that David did not intend for all eight to be performed at one time. Indeed, they were sold separately and collectively in two books of four. 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 Salon Stücke are historically important because they are a mirror of the Biedermeier era from which they come. They give us a first hand glance at what was being performed at mid century.
The player and listener are sure to find much to their liking in these wonderfully contrasting and surprisingly dramatic gems. When available, the Op.36 was usually published in two volumes. We have combined them into one and offer them at a very attractive price in the hopes that they will once again take their place on the stands of professionals and amateurs alike.