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Ferdinand David (musician)

File:Ferdinand david.jpg
Ferdinand David

Ferdinand David (Template:IPA-de; 19 June 1810Template:Spaced ndash18 July 1873)[1] was a German virtuoso violinist and composer.


Born in the same house in Hamburg where Felix Mendelssohn had been born the previous year,[2] David was raised Jewish but later converted to Christianity. David was a pupil of Louis Spohr and Moritz Hauptmann from 1823 to 1824 and in 1826 became a violinist at Königstädtischen Theater in Berlin. In 1829 he was the first violinist of Baron Carl Gotthard von Liphardt's (father of Karl Eduard von Liphart) string quartet in Dorpat and he undertook concert tours in Riga, Saint Petersburg and Moscow. In 1835 he became concert master (Konzertmeister) at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig working with Mendelssohn. David returned to Dorpat to marry Liphart's daughter Sophie.[2] In 1843 David became a professor of violin (Violinlehrer) at the Leipziger Konservatorium.

David worked closely with Mendelssohn, providing technical advice during the preparation of the latter's Violin Concerto in E minor. He was the soloist in the premiere of the work in 1845. It was performed on David's 1742 Guarneri violin, which later became the main performance violin for Jascha Heifetz. The David Guarneri violin is now in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; it is on permanent loan to Alexander Barantschik who has showcased it with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Academy Orchestra.[citation needed]

On the recommendation of William Sterndale Bennett with whom he had worked in Leipzig, his son Paul David became the first Director of Music at Uppingham School from 1864–1908.[3]

David also worked as editor of violin works including those of Francesco Maria Veracini, Pietro Locatelli and Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. He was editor of the complete Beethoven piano trios for C.F. Peters. He was also editor of the set of J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin in 1843.

He died suddenly in 1873, aged 63, while on a mountain excursion with his children, near Klosters in the Graubünden (Grisons) area of Switzerland.[4]

Compositions and arrangements

David's own compositions number about 40. They include two symphonies, five violin concertos, an opera (Hans Wacht, 1852), a string sextet for three violins, viola and two cellos, and a number of Lieder. David also composed a Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra, published by the Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag,[5] and a bassoon concertino.

He made an arrangement for violin and piano of Niccolò Paganini's 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, which was the version used for the world premiere integral recording of the Caprices, by Ossy Renardy and Walter Robert in 1940, the centenary of Paganini's death; this was seven years before Ruggiero Ricci made the first recording of the original solo violin version.[6]

The Chaconne in G minor attributed to Tomaso Antonio Vitali was published for the first time from a manuscript in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden in Die Hoch Schule des Violinspiels (1867) edited by Ferdinand David.


  1. ^ "David, Ferdinand (1810-1873) - Composer". Hyperion Records. Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  2. ^ a b Silvela, Zdenko (2001). A new history of violin playing : the vibrato and Lambert Massart's revolutionary discovery. USA: Universal Publishers. p. 140. ISBN 1581126670. 
  3. ^ Matthews, Bryan (1984). By God's Grace. A history of Uppingham School. 
  4. ^ Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed, 1954, Vol. II, p. 606
  5. ^ Aufführungstermine Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag 2011 Invalid language code.
  6. ^ Woolf, Jonathan (2003-12). "Ossy Renardy. The Great Violinists Volume XVIII". Retrieved 2013-09-03.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links

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