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Ludwig van Beethoven » Violin Concerto » David, Ferdinand - Breitkopf & Härtel

No. 1 in the series Violin-Concerte neuerer Meister, ed. David. Ferdinand David was probably also the editor of the Breitkopf & Härtel Gesamtausgabe full score, based on the autograph and first edition, which had appeared two years earlier. David’s strongest connection with Beethoven was through his teacher Louis Spohr, with whom he studied during the mid 1820s; Spohr had succeeded Clement as Director of the Orchestra of the Theater an der Wien in 1812 and during his three years in Vienna became closely associated with Beethoven. At the Leipzig Conservatorium, however, David was also a close colleague of Ignaz Moscheles, who, drawn to Vienna by his interest in Beethoven, had lived there between 1808 and 1815 and may plausibly have heard Clement performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. David included much more additional slurring in his edition, in the manner of the Paris School and Spohr, than Baillot did. Most of the bowing and fingering in his edition evidently reflected his established manner of playing the concerto at an earlier date. This is demonstrated by his detailed manuscript bowing and fingering in a copy of a reissue, dating from about 1827, of the original Viennese edition. The majority of the bowing and fingering that appeared in the 1865 edition was already present in his earlier manuscript markings. There is no concrete evidence that David’s approach derives in any way from Beethoven and Clement, yet his edition may reflect at least two Viennese performing traditions. The first of these occurs at mvt. I, 139f., where no slurs or staccato occur in the sources; David’s edition contains the so-called "Paganini bowing", which Viennese contemporaries of Clement reportedly believed him to have used at the première. Interestingly, David’s use of this bowing was evidently a second thought, as indicated by alterations to his performance markings in the British Library copy. The second is at mvt. III, b. 10ff., where, in the autograph score of the concerto, above the solo part, Beethoven wrote the word flageolet (harmonic), but then deleted it (the word and its deletion were both made in the dark ink with which he revised the autograph in 1807) and later substituted delicatamente in pencil (which appears in Klumpar’s score and the first edition). It seems probable that at the time of his revisions to the solo part Beethoven considered having the whole of this statement of the theme played in harmonics. Perhaps he changed his mind after realising that this was impracticable without mixing artificial and natural harmonics. The substitution of the unusual instruction delicatamente, however, suggests that Beethoven still envisaged an execution of the passage that was similar to the effect of harmonics. David marks this passage to be played in the sixth position with a harmonic on the a3. Perhaps this manner of performing it had also been passed on to David by a violinist with Viennese connections. It also occurs in the edition by Vieuxtemps, who had played the concerto in Vienna in 1834 at the request of several of Beethoven's friends. 

[C. B.]

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
Work Violin Concerto
Title Concerto
Publisher Breitkopf & Härtel
City Leipzig
Date 1865 (December) [Source: Hofmeister - February 1866]
Publication Number
Instrumentation Solo Violin – 1 Violin
Partly Recomposed No


Part Plate No. Medium Annotations Musical Text(s)
Title page 10618 Printed
Violin 13564 Printed Printed