Joseph Küffner


Theme & Variations for Clarinet & Strings, Op.32

Küffner's Introduction & Variations for Clarinet and Strings, Op.32 dates from 1817. It was scored for Violin, 2 Violas, Cello and Clarinet. While today, this is a highly unusual combination, back in Küffner's time, several quintets, for strings or other combinations, by various composers featured only one violin and two violas. Op.32, more or less, is a showcase for the clarinet. A slow introduction presents the theme. It is followed by six contrasting variations and an exciting coda.


Joseph Küffner (1776-1856) was born in the Bavarian city of Wurzburg where his father was the court music director. Küffner studied violin and served as a member of the Ducal Orchestra as well as a soloist. Besides the violin, he was proficient on the harpsichord, piano, organ, clarinet, basset horn and guitar. He later was appointed Military Music Director of Bavaria. His works for military band were so well thought of that for several decades the Armies of the Bavaria marched to his music. He wrote over 300 works in all genres, of which the bulk were for chamber ensembles and which were extraordinarily popular during his lifetime. Today, he is exclusively remembered for his compositions for the guitar and for wind instruments. Although primarily a violinist, like Paganini, Küffner's reached a very high level of proficiency on the guitar because he not only included it in his chamber music compositions, but also wrote etudes for it.


We have reprinted the original 1817 edition and though it is perfectly readable, as you might imagine, it is not the same as a modern edition. In addition to the original, we have created a second violin part in lieu of the second viola so that the work can be played by the standard clarinet quintet.


(A) Violin, 2 Violas, Cello & Clarinet $9.95
(B) 2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Clarinet $10.95
(C) All Six Parts $14.95


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