Kleine Suite for Violin & Piano in A Major, Op.77
The Kleine Suite, or Little Suite, for violin and piano was composed in 1881. The respected German music periodical, Musik Welt, in its review of the suite had this to say, “It is a work of art created within the narrowest framework, with the simplest means, yet it is a pearl of nobility.” The suite is in four short movements in which the piano primarily plays an accompanying role. The first movement is a Praeludium with an improvisational character. An Andante serves as the second movement. Next comes a captivating Andantino, which rhythmically is close to a baroque Sarabande. Its simplicity is in no way responsible for its nobility and profound spirit. The final movement, Poco allegro e scherzando, perhaps more than the other movements shows Kiel’s intention to create a modern version of the classical baroque violin sonata.
Kiel (1821-1885) was something of a prodigy, he played the piano almost without instruction at the age of six. He was equally as talented on the violin, and by his thirteenth year he had composed much music. Kiel eventually had the opportunity to study in Berlin with the renowned theorist and teacher Siefried Dehn. In Berlin, he became sought after as a teacher and obtained a professorship at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, one of the finest music schools in Germany. Among his many students were Noskowski, Paderewski and Stanford.
Of its type, the Kleine Suite is a very fine work which would do well in the recital hall. Out of print for a very long time, we are pleased to make it available once again. Its popularity in the 19th century, led to its being arranged for viola as well as cello. It has only been recorded once and that in the arrangement for cello which we nonetheless believe gives an excellent idea of the work.