Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Joseph Achron Society

Joseph Achron was a highly regarded classical violinist and composer at the turn of the 20th Century. He was Jewish and, as is noted in Wikipedia "[h]is preoccupation with Jewish elements and his desire to develop a 'Jewish' harmonic and contrapuntal idiom, underscored and informed much of his work". Sadly, while Hebrew Melody, his most popular piece, is relatively well known, few of his other pieces have been published or are played regularly.

To help correct this problem, the Joseph Achron Society, founded in 2010, is "publishing his unpublished works, recording his unrecorded music, and promoting new scholarship and performances." The Society created the first published edition of Joseph Achron's Third Violin Concerto, which was performed in May 2011, by the Brandenburg Symphony. This was the first public performance of the piece in over 70 years and met with excellent reviews. (For the more on the performance, check out The Forward's interview with Joseph Achron Society founder Sam Zerin.)

The Society is currently working on creating and publishing the first performance edition of the Achron-Paganini Caprices for Violin and Piano. These transcriptions of Paganini's Caprices were prepared by Achron for his friend, violinist Jascha Heifetz and have never been published. (The Society is looking for support to complete the editing and publishing of the works. If you're interested in helping, check out their fundraising page.)

Here's a video of Achron's Hebrew Melody, by the legendary violinist Joseph Hassid.


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