Elegie for Viola and Piano, Op.30
Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881) was born in Verviers, Belgium. He received his first violin instruction from his father, subsequently studying with Charles de Bériot. He toured Europe for several decades and was regarded as one of the leading violinists of his time. Schumann compared Vieuxtemps to Paganini,. Vieuxtemps also devoted himself to composition, having studied composition with Simon Sechter in Vienna, and Anton Reicha in Paris. His violin concertos are still in the repertoire. In addition to this, he became an important teacher, founding the violin school in St. Petersburg and teaching at the Brussels Conservatory, where Eugène Ysaÿe was among his many students.
Although the bulk of Vieuxtemps' compositions were for the violin, he was quite fond of the viola which he also played and wrote several works for it, including the Elegie which dates from 1854. The title, Elegie refers to the mood of the opening theme, however, the work is full of drama and passion