Pacing of Accolay A Minor

Edited: April 5, 2018, 3:47 PM · I studied and performed the Accolay A Minor Concerto as a kid. Yesterday I came across this interpretation on YouTube by violinist and teacher Bernard Chevalier:

I'd be interested in your take on it. I personally like this better than most renditions I've heard. Most of the others I've come across sound too rushed and agitated for my taste. And the frequent cuts in the piano solo/orchestral tutti passages, especially in student recitals, compromise the musical and dramatic shape of the work. I like the way this player allows the lyrical passages to breathe. Doing so, I feel, accentuates the operatic character of the score.

My only negative: I'd like some of the passagework to move faster -- e.g., the measures in steady 16ths, especially for the hoedown at the end, which I prefer at maybe 132-144. I don't care for renditions that go into warp speed at this point and, even worse, speed up still more on the final chords. To me, this cheapens the piece.

Your thoughts?

Replies (8)

April 5, 2018, 6:17 PM · The best description I've ever heard of the Accolay is that it is actually several etudes stitched together.

On the plus side, this performance is certainly much more musical than any other rendition I've heard. On the minus's still Accolay. I give you credit for listening thoughtfully to it.

Edited: April 6, 2018, 1:13 PM · A useful performance for introducing a student to the musical aspects of the piece. Jim's comment about the piece's operatic content brings to mind some of the slow movements of Paganini's numerous duets for violin and guitar.

Btw, Chevalier's necktie is impressive!

Edited: April 6, 2018, 6:06 AM · I have mixed feelings...Indeed it is really interesting and you can feel that the music breathes that way. But there were some times that I felt that "come ooooon this needs to be played a little faster" like in 4.14 but when I listened to it for the second time it sounded really good.

By the way, I could still have the Accolay in my personal top ten of favorites. It's a pity that many violinists never return to such "easy" concertos and never explore the music in a way better and more thorough than they could (or care about) in their first years of violin playing. Sometimes the beauty is not found in difficult and uncomfortable left hand passages.

Thank you for sharing!

April 6, 2018, 7:55 PM · @Mary Ellen, good memory!


April 6, 2018, 8:12 PM · I thought I read it here but too lazy to look it up. :-)
April 6, 2018, 8:26 PM ·

In my remarks at the bottom of that link I cited Roy Sonne's DVD on studying the Accolay Concerto. Since that time parts of his DVD are available on Youtube.

April 7, 2018, 5:04 AM · Roy Sonne's videos are great.
April 7, 2018, 5:04 AM · Roy Sonne's videos are great.

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