Hebrew Melody for Violin & Piano, Op.33
Joseph Achron (1886-1943) was born in the Lithuanian town of Lodzdzieje (now Lazdijai). He studied violin with his father and then at the Warsaw Conservatory with Isadore Lotto and finally at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Leopold Auer, teacher of such stars as Heifetz, Milstein and many others. Achron knew Heifetz and the two became friends with Heifetz championing Achron's music. After graduation, Achron pursued a career as a soloist, concertizing throughout Russia and Europe, Palestine and America. He taught and served as director of the Kharkov Conservatory and subsequently moved to Hollywood. Throughout his life, he composed. Most of his works are for violin and piano, however, he also wrote in several other genres.
The Hebrew Melody dates from 1911. It was the result of a meeting between Achron and Samuel Rosovsky, President of the Society for Jewish Folk Music, which had been formed in St. Petersburg in 1908. Achron, reportedly, was so inspired that he sat down and wrote his Hebrew Melody in little more than half an hour. He premiered in 1912 and it became on of Jascha Heifetz's standard encores, which in turn led it to become Achron's best known work. The melody is a Hasidic folk tune which Achron recalled from his childhood.