Morceaux de Concert for Viola & Piano, Op.20
Jenö Hubay (1858-1937) was born in Budapest. He studied violin first with his father, concertmaster and conductor of the orchestra at the National Theater, and violin professor of the National Conservatory. Subsequently he studied with Joseph Joachim in Berlin. In 1878, upon the recommendation of Franz Liszt, he moved to Paris where he quickly established himself a leading concert artist. For many years he toured throughout Europe. When the famous violin virtuoso, Vieuxtemps, heard him, he saw in Hubay the continuation of his own artistry and recommended him for the prestigious position of Professor of Violin at the Brussels Conservatoire, a post which he himself and more recently Wieniawski had held. Hubay held the position from 1886-90 after which he settled in Budapest and exchanged his life as a traveling virtuoso for that of composer and teacher, eventually serving as the Director of the Budapest Academy of Music from 1919-34. Many famous violinists numbered among his students, including Stefi Geyer, Ferenc Vecsey, Jozsef Szigeti, Emil Telmanyi, Eddy Brown, Jelly Aranyi, and Jeno (Eugene) Ormandy. A fine string quartet player (Brahms preferred his quartet to any other), Hubay trained many famous string quartets, such as the Waldbauer-Kerpely, the Lener, the Roth and the Vegh.
The Morceaux de Concert was completed in 1888 and dedicated to Francois August Gaevaert, the Director of the Brussels Conservatory, where Hubay was serving as Professor of Violin. It was in three movements, the last two of which were never published and was reworked from an unpublished viola concerto he had written about the same time. A show piece for the viola, it expertly exploits the capabilities of the instrument of which Hubay was quite familiar and juxtaposes slower lyrical sections with quicker more virtuosic episodes.
Violists should take note. A real tour d'force, an excellent competition piece as well as an impressive recital work, sure to make an impression with the audience.