By Mary Nemet | From the May-June 2021 issue of Strings magazine
Although it may astonish us today, around 1800 Ignaz Pleyel was one of the most prolific and popular composers in Europe. In innumerable printed editions, his works traveled far and wide, even reaching North America. Little wonder though, as Pleyel founded his own music retail business and an extremely successful publishing company. Additionally, he set up the piano-building company in Paris that bore his name, making him even more famous in the music world.
As a composer, Pleyel’s focus was on the symphonic repertoire and chamber music. He penned over 40 duos for violin, many self-published, but competing companies climbed onto the bandwagon, and even fraudulently published duets purporting to be by Pleyel. Those published here are thought to be original works, or possibly an authentic version of his sonatinas for piano and violin, Op. 27.
In any case, the first edition of the version for two violins is the primary source here. A preface and commentary offer helpful notes on their history and provenance.
First appearing in 1796, in increasing order of difficulty from beginner levels to intermediate (Pleyel was ever the pedagogue), these delightful duos are ideal for sharing a rainy Saturday afternoon with your playing buddy, or as a post-lesson treat.
Edited by Norbert Gertsch and with fingering and bowing by Evelyne Grüb-Trauer in supplementary separate parts, players can choose to share the music stand and read from the pristine and very spacious double score, or from the separate violin parts.