Konzertino for Trombone and Orchestra, opus 4
Ferdinand David (1810-1873)
First movement excerpt
Ferdinand David's name is often linked with that of Felix Mendelssohn. David was Mendelssohn's concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig and also worked closely with that composer on his violin concerto, which led to David playing the first public performance of that Mendelssohn classic as soloist. Ferdinand David composed two symphonies, an opera and various chamber pieces. His violin method is still widely used. He died suddenly while on a mountain tour with his children in the Alps.
Second Movement excerpt
The Konzertino for Trombone and Orchestra, performed here in the reduction for piano, is a cornerstone of the trombone repertoire, and enjoys frequent performance also in competition, audition and recital settings. The Konzertino contains some of the finest elements of the German Romantic period, combining Wagner-like rhythmical motifs with Mendelssohnian lyricism. The heroic, dramatic outer movements encompass an intensely moving funeral march, enabling the trombonist to portray a broad range of romantic expressive styles.
Third movement excerpt
Even if you have already played around with this piece, let us step back now and look at the overall picture, preparing and informing yourself about the piece at hand. This is fun. Start in your favorite reading chair. Take the score (piano part with solo line) and read through it like you would read through your newspaper in the morning, looking for highlights, points of interest, scandals, sensations, etc. Study the piano part. It is at least two thirds of the music. You should know it very well. Even if you cannot play the piano, learn the part in your head. Imagine an actor trying to learn his lines without knowing the lines of the other characters! Get a feel for the support - both rhythmical and tonal - that the piano offers for the soloist. Appreciate and understand the introduction. It is a wonderful build up for your first dramatic entrance. Try to capture that!
You should be aware of some of the other trombone repertoire in this style.
These pieces were written in a time when many accomplished instrumentalists also composed for their instruments. To appreciate the German romantic nature of the the David Konzertino, you should expose yourself to some of the great music that era brought forth: the symphonies of Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Schumann, the vocal writings and operatic works of Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Peter Cornelius, and much, much more. Of direct significance to our David Konzertino, I highly recommend that you be familiar with figure of Max in Weber's Freischütz and Siegmund in Wagner's Walküre. To help gain a feel for the funeral march of the second movement, listen to the funeral movement in Beethoven's Eroica Symphony (No. 3) and Siegfried's Funeral March in Wagner's Götterdämmerung.
Prepare the part
There are various editions of this piece. Each has slight differences but is usable for our purposes here. One edition of this work is significantly different in that it has the opening motif in triplet form
instead of dotted 8th with 16th
I prefer and recommend the dotted 8th and 16th version. The importance of that motif will become clear as we progress with this piece. If you have the triplet edition, it should be easy to mark that rhythmic change into your part whereever that motif occurs (and it is often!).
Now, using a pencil, number the bars by counting from the beginning and writing the measure number at the start of each line. Let us compare notes to make sure we are 'on the same page':
Finally, you should know all of the musical terms that appear in this score. They are among the most standard that we use. You should always have a small music dictionary in your trombone case. The greatest set of music encyclopedias won't help you if it is not where you practice! When you are at the computer, the Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary is a very good resource.
now - on to the lessons