Ferdinand Küchler: Concertino in the Style of Antonio Vivaldi
Ferdinand Küchler (1867-1937) was one of the leading violin pedagogues of his time. Küchler wrote many books and works specifically aimed at young violinists learning their way around the instrument. Many of his works are still used today by teachers around the world. The majority of his instructive and educational works were composed for the violin, but in his early career Küchler also wrote some music for solo piano. Concertino in the Style of Antonio Vivaldi was published in the last year of Küchler’s life and focuses on using the first and third positions on a violin.
This work has versions with both piano and orchestra – which is all dependent on the situation of the student and teacher. The opening melody is bright and open as the style of Vivaldi is heard straight away. Call and response figures between the violin and accompaniment highlight the communication needed between the two – which is another invaluable lesson for any student.
The scalic patterns scattered throughout this short work highlight Küchler’s quick shifts between first and third position. A reprise of the melody is heard and the vivacious melody is heard once again. The clean bowing needed to play this piece effectively is just another musical lesson packed into this work.
After the quick opening movement, a slow middle movement changes the pace. Now lyrical in style, the violin develops the melody further. This middle section is the shortest and it is not long before the finale breaks out. Now even faster than the opening movement, the quick finale is full of scalic runs, nuanced harmonic changes and memorable melodies. The concertino ends with a reprise of the melody before a descending sequence in unison with accompaniment brings this short work to an end.
Testing the technical and aural skills of a student Ferdinand Küchler’s Concertino in the Style of Antonio Vivaldi is packed full of good lessons. This short work is often used for students who are mastering their moves from first and third position.
Ⓒ Alex Burns