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Jed Distler, May 2000

Violinist/composer/pedagogue Ferdinand David is best known today for having midwived and premiered Mendelssohn’s famous E minor Violin Concerto. Respected for his student editions of virtually all of the standard violin literature of the time, his own compositions are rather modest in scope and emotional range, though easy on the ear and superbly crafted. The 24 violin and piano miniatures that make up David’s Bunte Reihe go through all the major and minor keys. Franz Liszt transcribed the whole batch for piano solo, and did such a good job of it that you don’t notice a violin is missing. The indefatigable Leslie Howard made the world premiere recording as part of his complete Liszt series on Hyperion. Howard’s scholarly annotations…tell everything you’ll ever need to know about the music.

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