Critical Notes Series: Weber's Grand Potpourri

Often, when looking for the first "real" concerto to give to our students, we go to the list that includes Haydn C, Saint-Saëns 1, Lalo, and Boccherini-Grützmacher. I would like to present to you Carl Maria von Weber's Grand Potpourri, Op. 20. Weber wrote this piece while he was the artistic director at Hofkapelle Stuttgart. The inscription on the title page reads: "Grand Potpourri pour le Violoncelle composé et dédié à son ami Graff Professeur de Violoncelle au service de S.M. le roi de Würtemberg par Charles Marie B. de Weber Op. 20 1808 in Stuttgard komponirt."

The Grand Potpourri is in D major and consists of 4 movements, which are performed without pause. This concerto is very tuneful, but also has several virtuosic passages, primarily octaves and upper positions (centered on harmonics). The first movement is a majestic introduction. The second movement is an Andante with variations. Feuermann recorded this movement with piano in an arrangement by Grützmacher. The transition into the third movement is a place for an improvised cadenza. The third movement is a searching Adagio with a Fandango middle section. The Fandango section is quite acrobatic for the soloist, but always idiomatic. The finale is Therese's aria from Franz Danzi's Das Quasi-mann.

There are a few recordings of the Grand Potpourri, such as by Raphael Wallfisch, Natalia Gutman, Thomas Blees, Anner Bylsma, Martin Ostertag, and a couple of others. This work has not shared the popularity of Weber's clarinet concertos, but it's very much in the operatic style of the clarinet pieces.

The number of editions of this work is also very slim. The Eulenberg edition (Schott) publishes the orchestra score, edited by Franz Beyer. The companion piano reduction is published by Kunzelmann. Although the Beyer edition claims to be scholarly, it has dozens of wrong notes, rhythms, articulations, clefs, accidentals, and dynamics. It is based on the first edition set of parts and does not take into account the manuscript. A highly edited Simrock edition also exists. There used to be a Grützmacher edition, which Feuermann used for his recording, but thankfully it's now out of print.

YL Edition felt the need to make a faithful edition according to the manuscript. We hope that our edition will make this work more popular among students and professionals alike. You may purchase your copy of the Grand Potpourri here.

Leave a comment