Theme and Variations for Violin and Orchestra
Theme with Variations for Violin and Orchestra (1816)
(b. Stockholm, 23 July 1796 – d. Stockholm, 3 April 1868)
Introduzione – Largo p.3
Andantino con variazioni p.5
Variazione 1 p.6
Variazione 2 – più Lento p.9
Variazione 3 – Tempo 1 p.11
Variazione 4 – Adagio p.14
Poco allegretto p.17
By all indications, when Franz Berwald wrote his Theme with Variations for Violin and Orchestra in 1816, the twenty-year-old violinist and violist stood on the threshold of a promising musical career in his native Stockholm. He could not have foreseen the tremendous difficulty he would have establishing a name for himself as a composer; the many years he would spend in non-musical occupations in order to support himself and his family; or the fact that he would be elected to the Royal Musical Academy only in his late 60s, a few years before his death.
His posthumous reception took a different turn, however, and the centenary of his death spurred renewed interest in this long-neglected composer. He received public recognition through the naming of Berwald Hall (Berwaldhallen), which opened in Stockholm in 1979 as the home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir, and in 2013, the final volume of Franz Berwald’s Complete Works was issued by Bärenreiter. Berwald is now recognized as the leading Swedish composer of the nineteenth century, a title he sought in vain during his lifetime.
Franz Adolf Berwald was born in Stockholm on July 23, 1796 to Brita Agneta (née Bruno) and Christian Friedrich Georg Berwald, a violinist in the Royal Court Orchestra who had come to the Swedish capital from Germany in 1772. Three days later, he was baptized in the presence of his godfather, the composer and organist Abbé Vogler. The child is said to have begun studying violin with his father around the age of 5; he debuted in a concert for the Royal Court around age 9 and began to perform in public shortly thereafter. Franz continued to appear in concerts, and he soon earned a position as violinist in the Royal Court Orchestra at age 16.
Other Berwalds in the Court Orchestra include Franz’s uncle, Abraham (1758-1825), who played bassoon and violin; his brother August (1798-1869), who served many years as concertmaster; and his cousin, the violinist Johan Fredrik (1787-1861), who held the coveted position of hovkapellmästare (court conductor) that Franz so dearly wished to achieve.
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Violin & Orchestra
210 x 297 mm