September 24, 2016 7:30 PM
Mozart: Don Giovanni Overture, KV527
David: Concertino for Trombone
Samantha Keehn, trombone
Marcia funebre (Andante)
Mahler: Adagietto from Symphony No 5
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5
in D minor, Op 47
Moderato - Allegro non troppo
Allegro non troppo
Ferdinand David - Trombone Concertino, Op 4
Violin virtuoso and composer Ferdinand David (1810-1873) was born in Hamburg on 19 June 1810, the son of a prosperous businessman in the same house in which Felix Mendelssohn, with whom his career would become entwined, had been born a year before. Like Mendelssohn, David was Jewish by birth, and like Mendelssohn, later in life, he converted to Christianity. As a student of the violinist-composer Louis Spohr, he made his debut in 1825 in Leipzig, performing with his pianist sister Louise. In the following two years, the two prodigies played concerts in Copenhagen, Dresden and Berlin, after which he became a violinist in the orchestra of Berlin’s Königsstädtisches Theater. It was here that he first made the acquaintance of Mendelssohn, with whom he played chamber music. In 1829 he became the leader of a string quartet in what is now Tartu, Estonia, for a Baron von Liphardt. The Baron's daughter Sophie would become David's wife. In addition to his quartet work, David undertook concert tours as a soloist to various cities in continental Europe.
By 1835 when Mendelssohn called on him to come to Leipzig, David had made for himself quite a reputation. Appointed concert master for the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, David proved to be the leader that Mendelssohn needed; it was a position David kept for the rest of his life. When the new Leipzig Conservatory opened, he was named professor of violin and, over the course of years, made the Conservatory the premiere center for violin instruction in Europe. When composing his Violin Concerto in E minor, Mendelssohn sought the assistance of David in working out the intricate solo parts, and it was David who gave the first performance of the concerto in 1845.
David himself was a composer of some repute, being the author of an opera Hans Wacht, five violin concertos, a string quintet and several quartets among his output. He composed two concertinos, one for trombone and one for bassoon or viola. The Trombone Concertino, Op 4, of 1837 was one of the first for that instrument and orchestra. As such, it is highly valued among trombone players. In his later years, David suffered from severe nervous conditions that precluded him playing his instrument, and he turned to conducting. David died suddenly of a heart attack on July 18, 1873 while on vacation with his family in Switzerland.
Ferdinand David's Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra, Op. 4, was composed in 1837. It was dedicated to Karl Traugott Queisser, who was a good friend and a member of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. It is believed that Queisser had initially asked Mendelssohn to write him a trombone concerto, but as he did not have the time for it, David might have offered Mendelssohn his own violin pieces to rewrite. Mendelssohn refused to accept credit, but did look over David's rewritten work and made "suggestions" for improvement. How much of the Concertino is Mendelssohn's is hard to say, but the piece was premiered at the Gewandhaus with Queisser as soloist and Mendelssohn conducting. It was an immediate success.
The second movement was later arranged for violin and piano by David and was played at his own funeral.
Program selections are subject to change.