I remember hearing my fellow student having her lesson before me and hearing the violin play a beautiful melody. I asked my violin teacher what my fellow student was playing and he answered ‘ the Accolay concerto’. ‘Wow’, i answered, ‘can I play it too?’ ‘Not yet’, my teacher answered. ‘You need to go through a few Rieding and Küchler easy violin concertos, then you can play the Accolay’. I could hardly wait that moment! I though it was the most wonderful and difficult violin piece I ever heard!
But who was Jean-Baptiste Accolay
who wrote this fabulous concerto?
Jean-Baptiste Accolay, violin teacher, composer and conductor was born in Brussels on April 17, 1833. He studied violin at the Brussels conservatory. In 1860 he moved to Brugges, Belgium as a young aspiring violinist but his first job was as music teacher (solfeggio) at the Municipal Conservatory of Music. He later became a violin and viola teacher as well as teacher of the string quartet. Accolay was an important figure in the musical life of Bruges, attaining different positions as violinist and conductor in the town’s musical societies. Accolay died at the turn of the century in Brugges in 1900.
Violin Concerto in A minor
Accolay wrote a number of compositions, mainly for violin and piano however his best-known composition is his one-movement student violin concerto in A minor. It was written in 1868, originally for violin and orchestra. The concerto is still a beloved concerto for young aspiring violin students, like I was!
What makes this concerto so special? Technically it is more difficult than the easy Rieding and Küchler violin concertos but, I would say, not too difficult. I believe the magic lies in the beautiful, expressive melodies that bring out the best in the violin. Accolay understood the need for young aspiring violinists to play a concerto that would bring out the violin’s full sound while possessing a still limited violin technique. I myself played the concerto in my 3rd year of violin study.
What can a young violinist learn playing this concerto?
Virtuoso left and right hand techinque
Develop sense of rhythm
Concerto is available on the Let's Play Concertos app!
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Founder of Let's Play Concertos, violin performer and teacher