Was "Jules Accolay" a pen-name used by Vieuxtemps, Rode, de Beriot?

March 26, 2021, 3:22 PM · Returning to the age-old question: did Accolay exist, and if so, is there any corroborating evidence (and spare me the Wikipedia page) that demonstrates that he was an actual pedagogue/performer/personality?

Gingold and Galamian told their pupils that Vieuxtemps didn't want to harm his reputation by writing a student work so he adopted this pen-name.

Curious to hear what others have been told, considering an entire century came and went with zero biographical information on Mr. Accolay/Franklin W. Dixon/Thomas Snodgrass/Richard Bachman et al... :-D

Replies (83)

March 26, 2021, 5:19 PM · "Gingold and Galamian told their pupils that Vieuxtemps didn't want to harm his reputation by writing a student work so he adopted this pen-name."

And yet, by today's twisted definitions, any violin concerto written by a violinist who didn't also write symphonies or operas or major works for solo piano is considered a "student concerto."

March 26, 2021, 6:02 PM · Who deemed Bruch/Vieuxtemps/Wieniawski/Paganini (from your parameters above) to be student concerti???
March 26, 2021, 6:15 PM · Andrew, There were a couple of recent discussions here about this subject.
March 26, 2021, 7:11 PM · Unfortunately the thread on that subject appears to have been deleted.
March 26, 2021, 7:13 PM · Andrew, Bruch wrote symphonies and Kol Nidrei ('Cello & Orch) - No way does he fit Paul's parameters.
There's quite some detail about Jean-Baptiste Accolay on wikipedia nowadays - There can be little doubt that he composed the works attributed to him.
Edited: March 26, 2021, 8:36 PM · As for Accolay: I understand the records of his presence at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels seem to be nonexistent, but that doesn't necessarily prove he didn't study there. Has anyone checked the other parts of his biography?

https://www.svm.be/content/accolay-jean-baptiste?display=biography&language=en

It seems like at least some of it could be either confirmed or disproven, perhaps through documentation on his students? Hendrik van den Abeele's bio at requiemsurvey.org lists Accolay as a teacher, though I'm not sure what the sources for that are. Also, based on the bio I suppose one might look into military service records and/or records of the two music organizations he supposedly co-founded. In any case it seems awfully specific for a fictitious composer -- no shortage of names and places to check.

March 26, 2021, 7:58 PM · Yeah I was just joking around in reference to the other threads that were promulgated on "student concertos" recently. I don't know why people would delete a thread like that -- there wasn't any nastiness there, at least I didn't recall any.

I do think the idea that Accolay was a pen name of someone like Rode or Beriot is interesting. Stylistically, the Accolay A Minor Concerto seems closest to Seitz with its bevy of open-string double-stops at the end but structurally closer to Beriot (a concatenation of studies).

March 26, 2021, 8:06 PM · I deleted my threads myself. I had a mental breakdown one night and started doing stuff that made no logical sense, so sorry about that
March 26, 2021, 8:50 PM · Mr. Liu,

The thread appeared perfectly normal to me. Was a worthy discussion. Do not be too hard on yourself. Too many "advanced" students do not take the repertoire seriously enough. It was not a rare coincidence that you had such an experience; it is very common for many students to be arrogant, ignorant, and needlessly competitive.

Stay safe, and thank you.

March 26, 2021, 9:21 PM · Mike Liu, That's okay. I'm still perfecting making faces when I make mistakes!
March 26, 2021, 9:26 PM · Relax and keep 'em coming Mike! Your posts are valid contributions and are most welcome here. This is a hard time for everyone, and there should be options to talk to someone like a therapist for free. I have benefited a lot from it myself, and I recommend it for anyone. If that's something you are looking for, your school counselor should be a good option to start with, and if that doesn't help, you're welcome to find me on the contact link on my profile, and perhaps I can help you navigate to such a service.

I can't imagine what being a young person in school is like right now.

March 26, 2021, 9:52 PM · It's pretty clear to me that the Accolay Concerto is not stylisitically consistent with the Vieuxtemps Concertos. The Vieuxtemps works are much more sophisticated and complex, both in the solo parts and the orchestral writing. If Vieuxtemps had wanted to write a "student concerto" it would have been more interesting and more appealing.
That being said, I feel that the division between "student" works and "real," or grown-up, or artistic works, is a false one. Did Vivaldi write his A Minor Concerto as a student work? What about the Bach A Minor Concerto which is standard fare for violin students? Or the Mozart G Major? And on the other hand, there are some very worth while works which are generally regarded as student works. One of my favorites is Scene de Ballet by DeBeriot. And so many of the Kreisler pieces are commonly studied by students.
March 26, 2021, 9:52 PM · It's pretty clear to me that the Accolay Concerto is not stylisitically consistent with the Vieuxtemps Concertos. The Vieuxtemps works are much more sophisticated and complex, both in the solo parts and the orchestral writing. If Vieuxtemps had wanted to write a "student concerto" it would have been more interesting and more appealing.
That being said, I feel that the division between "student" works and "real," or grown-up, or artistic works, is a false one. Did Vivaldi write his A Minor Concerto as a student work? What about the Bach A Minor Concerto which is standard fare for violin students? Or the Mozart G Major? And on the other hand, there are some very worth while works which are generally regarded as student works. One of my favorites is Scene de Ballet by DeBeriot. And so many of the Kreisler pieces are commonly studied by students.
Edited: March 26, 2021, 10:15 PM · I use a strict definition for "student concerto": it's a student concerto if it was composed mainly for pedagogical use rather than for performance. I do not consider the Vivaldi concertos to be student concertos, even though they were composed for young students, because they were intended mainly to display the students' abilities rather than as teaching material.
March 26, 2021, 11:17 PM · The Accolay is indeed not a very Vieuxtemps-like work. It is a beautiful short piece, but nothing like Vieuxtemps. His "student" work was the Vieuxtemps 5, which was for all practical purposes a true violin concert masterpiece during his lifetime. His easier concertos composed for others are also never too simple, easy, or pedestrian, nor are his violin/orchestra shorter works (Ballade et Polonaise, Fantasia, etc.)

I could see more of a DeBeriot touch, but perhaps a Mr. Accolay did indeed exist-no evidence either way from me (apologies, Mr. Sords.)

March 27, 2021, 1:15 AM · This is an interesting, but very odd discussion.

On one hand, all the written sources tells us that he was a real composer and teacher, and we even know the name of some of his students.

But on the other hand we have rumour that some people "might" have heard in second or third hand that he might be a pseudonym, and suddenly that rumour might be true?

I believe that the truth probably is very boring. He did live, he was a violinist and composer of lesser rank, and tought some younger students.
Since he was a Belgian, he had the fortune of such a great violinist as Crickboom living close by. Crickboom edited (re-arranged, probably) his concertos and released them.

Did Accolay excist, and was he the composer of the violin concerti that bears his name? Yes, we have nothing that says otherwise.

Would any of us know of him or play his works without Crickboom? No, that would be very unlikely.

Did Crickboom alter the Concerti in any way? Very likely.
Beyond recognition? No, that was not Crickbooms style.

March 27, 2021, 2:07 AM · https://www.svm.be/content/accolay-jean-baptiste?display=biography&language=en

This link from Wikipedia has some more details. Accolay taught at the conservatory in Bruges, first solfege, later violin, viola, string quartet and eventually even "foundations of harmony". He also wrote a "drama" called "Les Templiers" which was performed by the local orchestra. This is more detail than I would expect to find so easily if Accolay were fictional so I think we can all believe that he was indeed real.

Too bad. The idea that Fritz Kreisler INVENTED a composer just to assign some Kreisler pieces to him is more appealing than reality.

March 27, 2021, 5:01 AM · I will never forget the Accolay piece because I played it in a violin competition. I placed second, and they didn't award the first prize. I guess I was that bad. :-(
March 27, 2021, 6:58 AM · On the 'student concertos' point, Itzak Perlman may not have helped by releasing many of these classics in a CD titled 'Concertos from my childhood', with a picture of what looks like an 8 yr old on the cover. This includes a number of Reiding, Seitz and Accolay, which may fit well, but also de Beriot's Scene de ballet and Viotti 22. On the one hand its wonderful that he did this since every student can not hear these pieces perfected but the picture also tells a thousand words: that only a child would perform these. And so, I think, it has stuck.

Many, if not most, of the most beautiful music on the planet is simple and could be played by a child but that does not mean it only should be as a truly gifted and well trained musician can give the work so much more than perfect technique.

March 27, 2021, 9:56 AM · I don't think we should blame Perlman (maybe there is no blame at all to go around and we are just too worked up about the term "student concerto"). At any rate the term was already around when I was a kid and Perlman's career had not yet taken off.
March 27, 2021, 2:11 PM · Mr. Sonne, I like what you say. I also love your master class videos. I will probably never get there so that I can play something like Meditation from Thais and so I'm in permanent "student concerto land" but these concerti are fun to play once you get the essence of them.

I was laughing with my teacher that the cover of the edition of the Rieding B minor that I have shows 2 children about 55 years younger than I am. Laughter is a healthy thing.

March 27, 2021, 2:43 PM · Mr. Gingold told me that Accolay was a "nom de plume" for Vieuxtemps (for what this is worth!) In any case they are great student concerti. If you don't think it is politically correct to use this term, just say they are violin works for the advancing player.
March 27, 2021, 4:08 PM · Ms. Stanley,

At least Mr. Perlman gives each performed work his take on them as a student. I remember him stating that Viotti N°22 is not really a true student concerto (or puts quotes on "student"-I forgot.) That said, in an era where people hate physical media, I am sure many never cared to read what he wrote.

I enjoyed his Scene de Ballet in that CD so much. Fun performance.

Edited: March 28, 2021, 2:03 AM · A little OT but Vieuxtemps' 6 Études de concert are very useful in filling students' gaps before they take on full-length concertos and they are quite lovely short pieces of music too.I'd recommend them over Accolay.
Edited: March 28, 2021, 4:39 AM · I've been contemplating entering this thread for a while.
Did Shakespeare exist?
There's a logical fallacy in believing that if you use someone's name as a pen-name, that person never existed. It can be both! I can use Arnold Schwarzenegger as my pen-name. Doesn't mean Arnold Schwarzenegger never existed.

The message the OP is slightly aggressively giving is, whenever you are presented with hearsay, you believe it unless there's concrete evidence to the contrary. If Wiki is unacceptable, why should any biography be acceptable?

You do realise that mindset is why American democracy has just suffered a near fatal car crash, don't you?

March 28, 2021, 9:57 AM · BTW I hated Accolay. IMO its a string of short pieces (or more like etudes) pasted together without any musical overview. Its a sorry apology for an introductory concerto, in particular when compared to the Haydn G major (a lovely piece - particularly if you play all three movements) and is about the same difficulty.

Come to think of it, do teachers think as much about musical content as technical benefit when they assign piece or do they just follow the same tired road that everyone else follows...

March 28, 2021, 10:20 AM · Well, Perlman's disc makes it sound enjoyable, but he would make a disc of scales & arpeggios sound like music! But I feel the same way as Elise about third- rate compositions which give us back less energy than we put in..

And in my experience, youngsters are not fooled; their reactions are authentic, not corrupted by our frequent "Ah, but.." squirming.

March 28, 2021, 10:56 AM · Elise, I'm fortunate in that my teacher skips pieces that he knows I won't find fun to play as well as educational because life is too short for your retirement to be a grind like work was.
Edited: March 28, 2021, 11:41 AM · @Gordon, good point: did Shakespeare exist? How about B. Traven, the author of the "Treasure of the Sierra Madre", the film version of which won three Academy Awards? No one knows who he was, although various theories abound, none proven.

Existence may be relative, at this point, as B. Traven himself writes in "The Death Ship", where the protagonist Gerard Gales, after losing his passport abroad, loses also his identity, and by consequence, eventually his life.

March 28, 2021, 3:31 PM · Musafia,
I hope the Accolades you get as a craftsman compensate for the slightly less than stellar career as a virtuouso.
Cheers,
Buri
March 28, 2021, 3:53 PM · Little kids like the Accolay because it ends with an extended flourish of jangly chords. I cannot find any musical value in it whatsoever. I agree with Elise that the Haydn G Major is a beautiful piece. The C major is also nice but it's quite a bit harder.
March 28, 2021, 8:15 PM · Does anyone, like, REALLY exist?
March 28, 2021, 8:30 PM · Christian, someone told me that anyone who believes that we exist only in the mind of God has never stepped on a rake.
March 29, 2021, 12:09 AM · Perhaps God just has a perverse and excellent sense of humor.
Edited: March 29, 2021, 5:12 AM · Hi Mattias,
the conversation reminded me of an interesting book called `Thinking, Fast and Slow’ which explains the concept of irrational bias by suggesting we have two brain systems. Sytem one handles immediate situations and routines that don’t require reflection and system two takes over when effort is required to get a grasp on things. The reason humans are so frequently irrational is that S1 is extremely prone to skewing data, misinterpreting or answering a difficult question with an answer related to a much easier question. The problem is that this skewing or irrational bias is then passed onto S2 which is not aware this is happening. So, we hear Accolay is fake news (which is interesting) an opinion endorsed by famous names (problem solved) with the result that S2 takes over primed only to analyse the score searching for clues as to whom it might be , overconfident in the knowledge that it is familiar with the style of Vieuxtemp et al. The possibility that one might do a rather more boring and mundane check on Wikipedia never even enters the picture.
In this sense, it is about the most normal human dialog one could hope to hear.
I am still a great source of amusement to myself,
Warmest Regards,
Buri
March 29, 2021, 6:17 AM · Perlman is not the only great violinist to perform/record student music. I remember broadcasts of Pinchas Zuckerman's renderings of Elgar's Six Easy Pieces and Nardini's E-minor Concerto (which I've mentioned on v.com before, sorry!)
March 29, 2021, 6:20 AM · Words from an Accolayte.

If I had written that piece and it became so well known, I might disappear too...

March 29, 2021, 9:15 PM · Take up the Accolele. It’s easier.
March 29, 2021, 9:21 PM · @Elise, I feel the same way but towards another concerto; since I haven't learned or heard Accolay. I feel like I will get flayed if I say which one though...
March 29, 2021, 11:29 PM · Well well Buri...
"I am still a great source of amusement to myself"

Your writing sure seems to indicate that, but I recall somone calling you "funny" in a sarcastic way, so I guess you are just boring yourself then... ;)

Edited: March 30, 2021, 7:45 AM · Mike, I feel much the same way about Viotti 23: good bits that don't add up. I have already been flayed.

Edit: I actually meant Viotti 22...
No 23 has fewer "good bits"; one teenager said "But sir, this isn't even music!"

Glad there are no "hate" buttons.

March 30, 2021, 5:29 AM · And anyway who is "Jules" Accolay?
A friend of Henry van Beethoven?
March 30, 2021, 5:41 AM · Mattias,
as Oscar Wilde’s Swedish half-brother Very Wilde once remarked ‘A man who bores himself will always enjoys playing the Accolay.’
Cheers,
Buri
March 30, 2021, 6:01 AM · we really need "like" and "laugh" buttons on this site!
March 30, 2021, 9:51 AM · @Adrian, I believe it's a misspelling of James Prescott Joule. Only a non-musician would compose something so dreary.
Edited: March 30, 2021, 3:03 PM · The Accolay it's not so bad. I never studied it during my own training, for better or worse. But I do not understand the hate-perhaps listening to it poorly played often enough is not good for the psyche, but the Bruch g minor sometimes gets the same "treatment" (of course, it is also deemed a "student concerto...")

Mr. Heath,

I would never "flay you", but if someone says those two Viotti's are despicable, unmusical duds, and only barely worthy as student works, I will always give credit to those and other similar works. Not everything has to be Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, and all the other big name composers in order to be worthy of study and performance. I respect your choice to utterly despise them, but must also express my strong opinion to the contrary.

In any case, I believe a great number if not most people agree with your assessment. "No one" cares much for them, and I appear to be a vocal minority nowadays. But as I have said before, quite curiously Brahms thought much higher specifically about that "bad" concerto.

In my humble opinion, teachers should from the start instill good musical instincts (I mean, help their students have a broad repertoire along with an open mind) and warn their students about being beyond playing this or that piece. Said pieces can only help, and never hinder musical progress, under the best circumstances.

Edited: March 30, 2021, 3:56 PM · Adalberto, I am dutifully listening to all Viotti's violin concertos on U-Toob to replace prejudice by judgement. They are all fresh, attractive works (or do I mean just "pretty", and why not!) and I can enjoy the beautiful playing for itself.

I seem to remember that Brahms praised No22 for its "invention", which I interpret as referring to themes and passage-work, as opposed to "composition" or "form". Viotti's lyrical themes are superb; but I find his more dramatic passages rather hollow. And as with many of these violinist-composers, the "composition" just loses its way.

Perhaps my musical "snobbery" comes from a childhood diet of fine music: classical LPs, piano lessons, and well-harmonised hymns and anthems. I have never had to play "student" works or poorly "composed" studies, and I refuse to subject my students to second-rate music; their time is too precious. And they usually don't want the "not bad", whatever the style.

March 30, 2021, 4:44 PM · Adrian?
a huge number of great musicians including Kreisler loved the Viotti concertos. For some reason I just can’t get into them either. C’est la vie.
Cheers,
Buri
Edited: March 30, 2021, 5:04 PM · Mr. Heath,

There are a number of fine classical LP recordings of the Viotti 22 which you may not have treasured as much as you grew up.

In any case, depending on taste, many things would fall on the "second rate" criteria. I will never agree it is second rate, however. Hardly ever performed, yes. Some of Dvorak's works are also rarely performed. You may also think of Dvorak's neglected works as second rate. For me, things do not need be popularly accepted into a false "musically acceptable" classical canon of superior taste that does not exists. And I bet Viotti himself knew proper harmony and himself had "good taste".

(The Viotti Concerto form and conventions were in vogue during his time, and he was big part of it. The parts I think you dislike were par for the course for most composers-and similarly so for other instruments. If anything, his style was "violin concerto perfection" at the time. Other violinists played these works as well, including Paganini.)

I cannot fathom teaching students from open strings to a master level without tackling excellent works that are nonetheless rarely performed nowadays. Almost everything is useful, if you allow it to be. For instance, is it possible to intentionally avoid all violin composers' music for the sakes of an "heightened musical taste"? No Kreutzer, Fiorillo, Tartini, Viotti, Rode, DeBeriot, Vieuxtemps, Paganini, or Wieniawski? Since they are not as good or as "serious music" as Beethoven or Brahms? It honestly makes no sense (to me, at least). Students should learn all they can, and develop their own taste over time. Even if some music feels like bitter medicine, it may have some musical and technical benefits. And in the end, some of the students may end up appreciating the salad they used to dislike when they were not as open-minded (when I was young, I did not enjoy some composers which now I love and appreciate.)

I do love the "serious" composers, but cannot deny that there is more beautiful and/otherwise interesting music to explore for the violin and other instruments. No flaying intended, but a strong opinion based in
experience and musical research.

In the end, anyone is entitled to dislike any composer he/she wishes. I am however more wary of declaring this or that composer's oeuvre not worthy of attention based on personal taste. It may not be something I love, but perhaps it resonates with someone else? Who am I to judge what is musically better for someone else? Plenty of composers I do not love likely inspire many other musicians of good taste.

My apologies. Feel no need to respond further, as I doubt there will be a better option than agreeing to disagree. Hope you and your loved ones stay safe.

March 30, 2021, 5:36 PM · There's a recording of Stern playing Viotti 22 live. I also heard that it was an inspiration for Beethoven when he wrote his Violin Concerto in D major.
March 30, 2021, 6:11 PM · Jean - I started a topic on exactly that, about adding a like button here but it did not go down well.

I searched for it but it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps it was not archived.

Edited: March 31, 2021, 4:14 AM · Mike, I have several superb recordings of Viotti No22.
My reactions are not due to my (confessed) snobbery, but to the music itself, which seems to capture my spirit and then leave it stranded.
March 31, 2021, 9:02 AM · As the Viotti 22 was a favorite of Ysaÿe, Kreisler, Powell, and Menuhin (note their numerous performances of it with the New York Philharmonic), their endorsement of it is enough for me! Ysaÿe's cadenza is a masterpiece, too.
Edited: March 31, 2021, 9:28 AM · I think deliberately shielding one's students from works (or several composers) that one considers unmusical is a bad idea because it projects your own biases forward into the next generation.

Viotti 22 is a case in point. As Andrew Sords points out, it was favored by notable violinists and recorded by many of them too. You might not like it but your students might -- and you can help them extract more musicality from it that might first appear on the printed page.

Personally, I despise Seitz and Sarasate equally. But if I were a violinist qualified to teach them (which I will never be), and if I were teaching young students, I would have them sampling these composers as a means of exploring and developing their own musical tastes, not to mention their technique.

I really love this Viotti 22 with Lola Bobesco, and you get to watch the violin part at the same time (no video). I'm not wild about that Seitz-Accolay style double-stop section, which I think is too repetitive and altogether gratuitous, and the David cadenza is not to my liking, but I appreciate the main themes of the piece and the overall structure and some of the development is nice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1f7mK6USW8

March 31, 2021, 10:05 AM · I wonder if doing some data analysis would reveal that the Viotti 22 is actually the single most discussed piece on this website.
March 31, 2021, 2:01 PM · This site is mainly comprised of beginners and intermediates, so what Christian said would make sense.
March 31, 2021, 7:26 PM · Well harmonised hymns, Adrian? Actually Hugh Wilson did harmonise his two hymns well, and some of Dykes's are also well harmonised. I did feel with some hymns, though, that my improvised harmonisations were better.
March 31, 2021, 7:34 PM · Andrew,
the Ysaye cadenza is fantastic isn’t it? I just play that and skip the concerto. Saves time too. :)
Cheers,
Buri
March 31, 2021, 9:28 PM · Interesting question: What concerto is most DISCUSSED on v.com? We do talk about Viotti 22 a lot but I would guess its probably Mozart or Bruch.
Edited: March 31, 2021, 10:35 PM · I've mostly seen Bruch used as a way for people to gauge other's level of advancedness, but it itself is not discussed as a concerto much lol.
March 31, 2021, 9:52 PM · To each his own, but how can you not love Viotti 22 when played by Shumsky?
April 1, 2021, 8:14 AM · I've seen several discussions about the Sibelius, like How Long Will It Take To Be Ready To Play the Sibelius.
Barber and Korngold also get discussed quite a bit.
Edited: April 1, 2021, 9:24 AM · John, it was the Baptist Hymn Book, then later the English Hymnal. Of course the organist can have fun with the harmony, esp. in the final unisson verse, but both books gave me a good intuitive feeling for harmonic progression.

Paul, on violin I have, like many of us, mainly taught for the first few years of lessons, to youngsters with crushing French schoolwork, able to practice 2 or 3 hours a week.. I felt I owed it to them to give of my best, technically and musically. I tried to offer them musical gems, whoever the composer. The "not bad" will just not do. And their parents appreciated their enthusiasm. They have the rest of their lives to follow my more "musicological" curiosity into the highways and byways of music.

Edited: April 1, 2021, 9:59 AM · Frankly I have zero interest in playing any concerto, except for its didactic value.
I'd rather play sonatas or quartets or in any orchestra's string sections.
April 1, 2021, 10:20 PM · "we really need "like" and "laugh" buttons on this site!"

And the blue check for verified identities.

April 2, 2021, 7:09 AM · 10:20 PM is after midday, even on the USA West Coast - Jolly good one, though (even though not as much work as the Bach E-minor 'cello Sarabande or Einstein playing Mozart)!
April 2, 2021, 7:56 AM · Mike wrote: "This site is mainly comprised of beginners and intermediates, so what Christian said would make sense."

An 'intermediate' violinist, Suzuki student is on book 5; pre college on Bruch; conservatory, Bartok and post-conservatory, Schostakowitsch. 'Beginners' are one step down from each level.

What do you mean?

April 2, 2021, 1:24 PM · elise, no, not really.
Edited: April 4, 2021, 2:11 AM · No Elise... who considers Bruch intermediate? No one would consider someone who learns Bruch an intermediate. That's like saying that all chefs are amateurs if they don't cook in a 3 star Michelin Chef restaurant.

I see what you're trying to say though. The word intermediate can be used to describe different tiers of violinists in different environments. Except no one would call another even a pre-conservatory student an intermediate learner. It's quite offensive to be called that if you're a hard-working violinist (the kind of person who would learn Bruch). Also, this kind of nuanced description of the different levels is not what I was going for. From my time lurking on this site (reading past posts), I have learned that most people consider anyone below Mozart 3 as an intermediate.

You might have just gotten offended at me calling most people here beginners and intermediates, which would lead to a response created for the sole purpose of refuting/disagreeing with me. I simply made an observation based on my time on this site, and if that offended you... maybe I should consult you and Lydia before I post anything on this site. Though I highly doubt that this is the case.

I agree with you though, Elise. What a spectacular and nuanced description. Sorry for what I typed. I hope to learn the nuances and learn to be sensitive to the feelings of posters on this site soon.

April 2, 2021, 3:58 PM · No problem Mike LOL! I was making a more general point really, as you say that these comparative terms really depend on where you are standing. I manage a group on FB (Classical Violinist) that requires a reasonable competence on the violin to join (to keep the discussion on playing/repertoire/history/humour and not how to play really) and its very amusing how people asking for membership define themselves as 'intermediate' in just about all the context above. And yes, I do believe that if you are studying the Bruch concerto you are 'intermediate' now within a good conservatory. Is the term used as such? I have no idea, not having attended a good one or any at all (as close as I got I went to a conservatory to take lessons from a grad student there :) ).
April 2, 2021, 5:37 PM · elise, the closest I got to a conservatory was to drive by one in a car.
April 3, 2021, 2:51 AM · Unfortunately these days they are hard-drive by.
Here is a link to Perlman rehearsing the Viotti with the Juilliard orchestra.
https://youtu.be/U7Fz1RcPHUg
April 3, 2021, 8:43 AM · Jules Accolay
Member since: April 1, 2021
Nice timing.
April 3, 2021, 5:00 PM · I give Mr. Accolay a virtual blue check mark.
Edited: April 3, 2021, 8:37 PM · @Buri

Well, this validates Viotti 22 as a proper concerto.

Can someone identify the person who said this: "A good player can make bad music seem good." or something along those lines.

idk why but I feel like Glenn Gould could've said that

April 4, 2021, 12:18 PM · Didn't he start a dangerous cult under his Indian pseudonym, Escherishi (email address escherishiaccolay0157@hotmale.fr)?
April 4, 2021, 12:24 PM · Mike, I have often made good music sound like trash.
April 5, 2021, 12:03 PM · I've just started reading this thread, after being bemused by how many responses it's apparently gotten. :-)

I played an awful lot of Viotti concertos pedagogically as a kid. Of the bunch, I actually liked 23 the most. He was certainly a virtuosic phenomenon along the lines of Paganini, and the French school of violin playing that he exemplified was hugely influential. (And the Cambridge Beethoven violin concerto book claims that Beethoven was an admirer of Viotti and that his works were influential upon Beethoven's concerto.)

I've personally never played Accolay. My teacher didn't like it and taught a zillion other pedagogical concertos instead. I felt kind of bad about it, really, assuming that I hadn't done it because I wasn't ready for it. (The transition out of these training-wheels works into the real Romantic repertoire came as a bit of a surprise to me.)


April 5, 2021, 1:41 PM · It's funny...when I listen to Viotti, it's hard not to hear a string of etudes and exercises. And yet I wonder if I'm getting causality backwards: if this was the musical achievement toward which violin students were striving, makes sense that Kreutzer et. al. would have designed studies to develop those skills, and if we encounter those skills first in the form of studies (and play them that way), we're missing the fact that they're also music, albeit music that's fallen out of fashion when compared to the Romantic warhorses + a couple of Mozart concerti.

(One doesn't hear much slagging off of Beethoven's violin concerto, despite the fact that it features a lot of scales and arpeggios. I prefer Beethoven to Viotti, infinitely. I'm just wondering if this isn't my modern ear and being conditioned to appreciate some kinds of music more than others.)

The recording of Viotti 22 posted above sounded operatic to me–less a series of disjointed etudes than a set of mini scenes with different characters. Were I to teach, and to teach this concerto (and why not? seems an important pedagogical stepping stone), I'd probably approach it that way. (as is commonly done with Mozart)

Edited: April 6, 2021, 1:10 PM · I think it's often the fast passage-work that can "let us down" in the rococo/classic style. On of my lecturers suggested it is like the empty space in a cathedral through which we walk while appreciating the play of sunlight through the stained glass, or the subtle difference between two apparently similar arches.

Tividar Nachez "improved" many such passages in Vivaldi's concertos, in the 19th century editions that Suzuki knew, but the originals seem better for "shimmering" in the reverberation of in a stone church.. Meyer "improved" the figuration of Karl Stamitz'z D major viola concerto, making it a tiny bit closer to Mozart..

Beethoven? I have max Rostal's edition, with extra staves showing Beethovens original arpeggios, and Franz Clement's suggestions, plus Beethoven's final published version. But even without the reworking, this concerto stands out by its timing, it's integration of passage work into an overall plan. As in Mozart's mature concertos, there is no element of padding, or superfluous decoration..

April 6, 2021, 1:24 PM · It would be beautiful to hear it being played live again at concert halls (I know it is not likely to return.) The Viotti 22 has a special magic to all of its musical "episodes".

I am a fan of violin music, so of course I am biased that way, but compare Kreutzer 19 to Viotti 22, and you will notice the "magic" of the latter's writing a bit more. Nothing against Kreutzer or his 19th, though.

Edited: April 7, 2021, 12:37 AM · Sorry Adalberto, Viotti 22 does not have enough double stopped runs to return to concert halls.
April 7, 2021, 8:33 AM · I never played the Accolay Concerto until I was more than 70 years old and saw that Roy Sonne had issued a DVD as a student guide

( https://www.sharmusic.com/Accessories/Books-DVDs/Accolay-Concerto-in-A-Minor-with-Roy-Sonne-DVD.axd ).
I had shared a "sea-side" lunch with Roy in Sausalito after he contacted me when his Pittsburgh Symphony was performing in San Francisco. (We had "met"previously on Maestronet.com.) So I have made it a practice, ever since, to follo0w him on the internet and learn what I can from him - I have a lot of respect for people who have made successful careers in music.

I found Sonne's use of a "scenario approach" to interpreting this work very useful since it was something I had done in the 1980s when performing Vivaldi's "Winter" concerto and the Beethoven Op. 50 Romance and try to do with everything I play that is not just "gymnastics."

Played in his way I did not find "the Accolay" at all boring. What I did find was that played according the Sonne's advice it might be a general eye-opening gateway to more musical interpretations of everything one plays.


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