Johann Nepomuk David (1895–1977) Variations on an own Theme Werk 32 Nr. 2
The “Variations on an own Theme” Werk 32 No. 2 is one of the four duos of Johann Nepomuk David’s Work 32, which further include the “Sonata for Flute and Viola” Werk 32 No. 1, the “Sonata for Two Violins” Werk 32 No. 3 and the “Sonata for Clarinet and Viola” Werk 32 No. 4.
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As early as 1932, Johann Nepomuk David included the guitar in a trio with flute and viola (published by Doblinger in Vienna [GKM 143]), which bore a personal dedication to Karl Scheit. Nearly a decade later, in 1940, David wrote a sonata for the same scoring (Werk 26). This was the period in which the master began developing a fondness for old instruments. We can be grateful to this predilection for having stimulated the creation not only of the sonata for lute solo [op. 3115 (1943)], but also of the present “Variations on an original theme” for recorder (flute) and lute.
The theme in 6/8 metre is a pastorale-like masterstroke of harmonic refinement. The first and second variations remain closely bound to the theme by the use of the same metre, but feature increased inner motion and accelerated tempo. The change of metre (2/4, 3/4, 1/4) in the third and fourth variations sets a new accent: playful in the third, quasi chordal in the fourth. The slow, statelyfifth variation (3/4) is followed by the sixth and last variation (4/4) which opens like a fugato and brings the piece to a cheerful end.
The editor of EB 8205, Karl Scheit, knows about the composer's agreement to print the composition in the present version for flute and guitar.
In order to facilitate the performance of this piece, the note text has been transposed a whole-tone step lower. The original pitch can be produced by placing a capotasto on the second fret. To maintain the original fingering, the guitar must be tuned like the Renaissance lute (4, 4, 3, 4, 4) by adjusting the G string to F sharp.
Thomas Christian David, Vienna, Spring 1981 Thomas Christian David
Johannes Mastnak (recorder), Wolfgang Jungwirth (guitar)