Violin Sonata No.2 in D Major (1909)-World Premiere Edition
"Mittler was one of the greats as far as his compositional talent is concerned."---So wrote the respected musicologist Irene Suchy. And when listens to his highly attractive works, one understands why his contemporaries labeled him a "Viennese Wunderkind" Take, for example, his Violin Sonata No.2, a superb, late romantic work. It is a ripe and mature sonata, which could qualify for the sobriquet of masterpiece. And yet, it was written by a 16 year old!
Franz Mittler (1893-1970) was born in Vienna. As a boy he was given violin and piano lessons, the later with the famous pedagogue Theodore Leschitzky. At the Vienna Conservatory, he studied theory with Joseph Labor and composition with Richard Heuberger and Karl Prohaska. Mittler made a name for himself not only as a composer, but also as a poet and humorist. During the 1920ís, he became one of the most sought after lieder accompanists, partnering with such famous singers as Leo Slezak and Charlotte Kraus. He also made a name for himself as a chamber music pianist, joining forces with such groups as the world famous Rosť String Quartet. Of Jewish extraction, Mittler left Austria for New York in 1938 when the Nazis seized power. In the United States, Mittler enjoyed a varied career, performing chamber music on the radio, teaching, writing for Hollywood and television. (He composed a one finger polka for Groucho Marx) Eventually, he returned to Europe in 1964 and spent his final years teaching at the famed Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Mittler's Second Violin Sonata dates from 1909. The opening movement, Andante-Allegro appassionato, begins with a moody episode full of portent. Melancholy and expectation along with just the slightest hint of French impressionism imbue the lovely thematic material. The opening chords heard in the piano sound an ominous chord to the beginning of the second movement, Andante. The folkloric main theme sung by the violin sounds of tragedy and sadness of loss. However, the highly romantic second subject speaks the peace of acceptance. The bright and playful third movement, Vivace molto, lightens the heavy mood of the preceding Andante. The exotically tinged second theme, with its lopsided, syncopated rhythm, brings to mind the bazaars of the orient. The opening to the finale, Vivace giocoso, is a heavy-footed, almost dark march, which bears a relationship to the exotic second theme of the preceding movement. Two beautiful and finely contrasting themes follow to round off th
Although performed in European cities immediately after it was composed, this sonata was never published. Now with the help of Professor Diana Mittler Battipaglia, the composer's daughter, whom made the parts available to us, we proudly present the world premiere edition of this absolutely first rate violin sonata. Every violinist would do well to consider this fresh and original work for presentation in the recital hall where it is sure to triumph.