A competitor’s reflection on the 2013 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition | Laura Seay

I have known about the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and Festival for years – it is known as one of the most prestigious competitions and is respected throughout the musical community.

I decided to enter the competition as a personal project providing me with a goal to work towards over this school year.

My experience on the Isle of Man, surrounded by some of the most promising violists, exceeded all expectations and hopes.  I met so many musicians, audience members, host families, organizers at the Erin Arts Center – many whom I hope to call friends for the rest of my life.  This environment of collaboration and camaraderie was certainly due to the efforts of Dr John Bethell, Gloria Balakrishna and all of the volunteers and helpers who organize the event.  My hope is that they realize what a wonderful and nurturing environment they’ve helped to create.

In discussion with a fellow competitor the night before the first round, we both agreed that one of the most beneficial parts of participating in the competition had already occurred before it even started – the hours and hours that we had all spent preparing. I think this made all of us better musicians, more adept violists and more disciplined artists.  It was a pleasant surprise to hear the vast array of repertoire selected by jury members, which they performed in the evening recitals.

I left the Lionel Tertis Competiton armed with multiple years worth of repertoire that I am eager to play.  Particularly interesting to me were the selections by English composers that are infrequently played in the US – were it not for Tertis I would never have known of many of these composers and now there are 28 International violists returning home and taking the music of England with them.  What a thrill it is to be a part of this!

Unfortunately there was not a class, or formal discussion about the Peter Maxwell Davies Six Sorano Variants that was commissioned to be played by all contestants.  With a piece as difficult and containing so many passages that needed adjustments by the player, it was a shame that there was not more of a formal discussion – but that didn’t stop us!  There was many a late night discussion amongst the participants, pulling out violas over beers, passing around the instrument and each player demonstrating personal strategies for dealing with the obstacles in this piece.  The level of musicianship amongst the competitors was incredibly high – I left feeling sad that I couldn’t live in this little bubble forever, but on the other hand I left feeling inspired, motivated and grateful to have been included in such a wonderful opportunity.  The spirit of music making and desire for the world of viola to evolve was very much alive and well on the Isle of Man!


Friday 15 March

Arrive on the Isle of Man for a unique event ….an International Viola Competition on a tiny island with violists travelling from across the globe to this gloriously removed haven away from the crazy race of life!

The town of Port Erin is host to this viola festival and competition; the Erin Arts Centre with welcoming banners and a wonderful greeting from John Bethell and Gloria Balakrishna. The festival spirit had begun.

Saturday 16 March

John Bethell officially opens the festival   with an inspiring and wonderful testament to Lionel and Lillian Tertis, followed by Tully Potter  also talking  about Lionel Tertis, illustrated with recordings by the master, accompanied by unique and personal anecdotes. Tully’s knowledge of early 20th century string players, styles, trends and history is unsurpassed.

Hong-Mei Xiao’s class on the III of Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher was packed with invaluable tips. Hong-Mei’s obsession with articulation, clarity and projection was inspirational and her demonstrations were full of vigor and passion. Der Schwanendreher was admirably performed in the class by violist Laura Seay from the USA and pianist Anthony Hewitt (UK).

Violist Jean Sulem (France) and pianist Caroline Dowdle (UK) gave an evening recital, beginning with Sulem’s  own transcription of Schubert’s Variations on the song “Trockne Blumen D.802, originally for flute and piano – revealing lyrical, sweet and virtuosic qualities to his playing. He followed this with a deeply personal rendition of Stravinsky’s haunting Elegie for solo viola (1944) and finished the first half with Heinz Holliger’s Trema for solo viola (1981).

Sunday 17 March

10.00am for the first of my Viola Ensemble Sessions. I started with the group playing the rousing Hungarian Dance in G minor by Brahms, followed by one of Garth Knox’s Viola Spaces (arranged for multiple violas by Garth himself) “Up, down, sideways, round” – bringing a kerfuffle with bows everywhere and much laughter.

Jean Sulem gave a beautiful master class to two different players, each performing the first movement of Brahms Sonata op.120 no.2 in E flat. Eloquent and sophisticated teaching, warmly linked to harmony at every corner, taking his musical direction and line integrally from within the piano score throughout.

Samuel Rhodes gave a personal and movingly loyal session on the Allemande and Courante from Bach’s second Partita followed by the Allemande and Sarabande from the fourth Cello Suite in E flat. His knowledge from memory of every bowing and articulation was in itself astounding, accompanied only by an even deeper knowledge of harmony, musical shaping, inégale and a wonderfully imaginative approach to voicing.

Hong-Mei Xiao (viola) and Sophia Rahman’s (piano) recital brought vibrant playing, packed with energy, life and brilliance. The Schumann A minor Sonata was stormily interpreted, followed by an impassioned and glittering Romeo and Juliet Suite. The recital ended with Bliss’s mammoth sonata for Viola and Piano – a deluge of virtuosity and extremely beautiful lyrical moments in the second movement and Finale.

Monday 18 March

Sadly, I missed Tully Potter’s second lecture   on “Oskar Nedbal and his Czech successors”…although…I did manage to hear the strains of the Shostakovich Sonata and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble-Bee” buzzing through the door towards the end of Tully’s talk…

Another Viola Ensemble Session, starting with the “Chorale” from Gordon Jacob’s Octet…sound building, intonation, pulse, texture, leading and general group responsibility. To finish the session we continued to slave away on Garth Knox’s “Up, down, sideways, around” with bows and arms flailing!

Maxim Rysanov’s master class in the afternoon included two renditions of the first movement of the Bartok Concerto and another student playing II and III. Maxim’s ravishing demonstrations and unfailing sense of humour were revelatory, as were his compelling and emotive concepts about the character of the music.

Unbelievably there was yet another Viola Ensemble Session after Maxim’s class…this time we ventured into the Argentinian world of Piazzolla!

Martin Outram and Julian Rolton’s Recital in the evening introduced the audience to several lesser-known Tertis arrangements as well as some hidden gems in the English Viola Repertoire. An unusual and illuminating recital, where Martin’s fascination for this music was evident in his eloquent and informative introductions and in his beautiful playing.

Tuesday 19 March

David Hume’s talk on instrument set-up and adjustments was fascinating… followed by another  Viola Ensemble session where  we were lucky to have Nejat Basegmezler to conduct his arrangement of Piazzolla, finishing off with Simon Rowland-Jones magnificent arrangement of “Svanen” by the Swedish composer Palmgren.

The Lord Lieutenant Adam Wood’s arrival at the Erin Arts Centre for the evening recital was accompanied by God save the Queen played by 13 violas!!

The hall was packed for the recital by  Maxim Rysanov and Xenia Bashmet (Yuri Bashmet in the audience).

Maxim started off the evening with Suite no.6 in D major, followed by arrangements of famous works by Ravel, Debussy and Faure, finishing off with a dramatic and exquisite performance of Schumann’s Märchenbilder.

Brian Hawkins finished the evening off by reading the names of the eight semi-finalists… plenty of jubilation but also disappointment!

Wednesday 20 March

I sadly had to miss David Hume’s superb presentation on how to look after your bow.

The fifth Viola Ensemble session saw Nejat and Betil Basgemezler teaching us Turkish Folk Music…Then    a group photo, followed by  the  Viola Ensemble in rehearsal to select the repertoire for Friday’s  concert .

Brian Hawkins, Chairman of the Jury delivered a scintillating talk on the Schubert Arpeggione Sonata and a short master class on the first movement of the sonata afterwards.

The hall was again packed to hear Yuri and Xenia Bashmet’s evening Recital …an incredible testament to this unique and unbelievable talent. This was a poignant and deeply sincere recital – concluding with the Shostakovich Sonata: both harrowing and devastating. Yuri’s own brand of expression, bow control and musical license is utterly individual…it is not the first time I have been privileged to hear Yuri live, but I think I was even more in awe this time of his human frailty and the sense of occasion having him grace the stage…

Thursday 21 March

What a day… 8 semi-finalists playing for 40 minutes each… nervous tension abounded. The line-up of semi-finalists included representatives from Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, USA and one candidate from the UK. I did not envy the jury narrowing the final list down to three people…

The announcement of the finalists was saved until after the end of the evening recital with Sarah-Jane Bradley and Anthony Hewitt – an eclectic collection of Martinu, Kodaly, Mendelssohn and Bowen – beautifully constructed and presented. The final offering was a gorgeous unpublished work by Bowen – what a gem!

The announcement of the finalists was surprising – 4 rather then 3!

Ziyu Shen (age 15) – China

Matthew Lipman (age 21) – USA

Shuanghuang Liu (age 26) – China

Kei Tojo (age 21) – Japan

Friday 22 March

This morning it was Yuri Bashmet’s turn to give a master class – and what an occasion it was. His genius and fantastically unique perspective on music and the viola came flooding forth – everyone patently aware that they were in the presence of greatness. His obsession with a true legato, meticulous attention to detail with bow speed/weight and contact, alongside a self-aware and musically complimentary vibrato consumed his work on both the Shostakovich Sonata and Bartok Concerto. His connection with the Schnittke Concerto and the composer himself was utterly fascinating – allowing a personal view of the relationship between composer and performer. The violist who played this to Yuri certainly came away with a much more intimate sense of the music and Schnittke’s intentions.

The Viola Ensemble gave it’s concert in the afternoon  with Yuri Bashmet in the audience. We performed the Chorale from Gordon Jacob’s Octet conducted by John Bethell, Brahms Hungarian Dance, Svanen by Selim Palmgren (arranged for 6 violas by Simon Rowland-Jones) and an arrangement of Piazzolla by Nejat Bagesmezler.

Samuel Rhodes, violist of the Juilliard Quartet for 44 years gave the final evening recital of the week – a wonderful selection of harrowingly difficult contemporary music by Elliot Carter, Milton Babbit and Hall Overton, alongside a W.F Bach Sonata, Hindemith Sonata for Solo Viola op.25 no.1 and the Stravinsky Elegie – what a privilege! Sam’s touching encore was written by a friend on hearing of his departure from the Juilliard Quartet in 2013, it left everyone of us feeling sad!

Saturday 23 March

The morning panel session was chaired By Brian Hawkins with Tully Potter, Sarah-Jane Bradley and myself, to  discuss  topics ranging  from the future of the viola, copyright and photocopying, competition rules to external visibility, attendance, advertising and press coverage.

The Final Round of the competition started at 19.00! The four finalists certainly provided a magical evening of music-making – displaying their incredible talents with their movement of Bach, the fiendish Peter Maxwell-Davies Six Sorano Variants for Solo Viola and their chosen concertos.

After an agonizing wait everyone was called into the hall for the prize-giving and speeches. Many awards were presented to violists from the first and second rounds and tributes made by the President, Yuri Bashmet, John Bethell and the President of Tynwald, Mrs Clare Christian. Finally the prizewinners were announced:

Suangshuang Liu (China, age 26) and Matthew Lipmann  (USA, age 21) were awarded joint 3rd prize

Kei Tojo (Japan, age 21) was awarded Second Prize)

Siyu Zhen (China, age 15) was awarded First Prize


Highlights from the 11th Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition | Dr John Bethell, OBE

This was the 11th celebration of the life of Lionel Tertis, the Father of the Viola which was held in the Erin Arts Centre in Port Erin, Isle of Man during the week 16 – 23 March 2013. Port Erin is a small fishing port in the south of the Island, itself only 227 square miles in area and some 40 miles off the North West coast of England.

A feature of the festival is the special postmark, which is franked on mail posted in Port Erin on the Wednesday to commemorate the Festival.

Previous winners of the Competition can be found here:

The Jury for the Competition consisted of seven eminent musicians. Brian Hawkes (Chairman) ( UK) , Betil Basegmezler (Turkey), Yuri Bashmet (Russia ,who has been President of the event since 1994, Sarah-Jane Bradley( UK) also a member of the Advisory Committee, Samuel Rhodes (USA), Jean Sulem (France) and Hong-Mei Xiao (China).

The competition was open to viola players up to the age of 30, the 2013 event accepted 38 entries from an initial 86 applications in 26 different countries. This was the first time since the first competition which was held in 1980 that the first round was judged in London from DVD’s by Sarah-Jane Bradley, Martin Outram, Simon Rowland Jones and acting as Chairman John Bethell  who is the Artistic Director of the Tertis and also the Barbirolli International  Oboe Festival and Competition  the next being held in April 2014.

On offer were prizes totalling £15,000 donated by the Tertis Foundation, which promotes the heritage of the first and greatest virtuoso of the instrument, who died in 1975. It had been Mrs Tertis’s “dearest wish” to see her husband’s name and achievements remembered in a practical way by viola players. In 2003 she set up a foundation with London based trustees, Margaret Lyons (Chairman), Jonathan Barritt, Cathy Connolly, Robert Lyons (Secretary) and Christopher Wellington  all of whom wish to see her work continued. Mrs Lillian Tertis died in November 2009, aged 94.

The event is also supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council.

In a message to competitors, Yuri Bashmet as President of the Tertis event said: “The main thing that will always be remembered is the atmosphere of cordiality and hospitality in Port Erin, which I refer to as Capital of the Viola World, your new friends, the joy of creative communication and of course, music.”

The festival was given a warm welcome on the first day by the Port Erin Commissioners which was a cocktail party held in the Cherry Orchard Hotel when the Chairman, Mr Ged Power said “I am astonished by the number of nationalities represented here tonight, but I should not really be surprised. The Erin Arts Centre is the artistic centre of the whole Island and I want to wish you all a wonderful and enjoyable week on our island and in particular in Port Erin and, to the competitors, the very best of luck and every success”. One of the original founder members of the Centre, Mrs Joyce Corlett continued the theme by saying “Welcome” in all the different languages spoken by the competitors and workshop members, and also in Manx Gaelic, a gesture that was much appreciated.

All competitors were required to play a specially commissioned set work by internationally renowned Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of The Queen’s Music, which he dedicated to John Bethell MBE.

“Six Sorano Variants takes its name and inspiration from the small Tuscan town of Sorano – a slow winding walk up from the River Lente, to the Fortezza  Orsini, high above and dominating everything with its two massive stone bastions. Each new bend brings ever more dramatic and fantastic views of piled-up medieval houses and surprise, almost hidden gem-like gardens, with an ever-increasing sense of other –worldly fable and fantasy ”

“I felt it would be counter-productive in this solo work to confine the creative fantasy of the interpreter inside rigid bar lines – the written irregular rhythms are curves on the surface of time intended to stimulate the player’s musical imagination. The six sections are played continuously, with no breaks.”

The work is published by Boosey and Hawkes.

Those attending  the competition were encouraged to view the exhibition by Partitura Verlag in the gallery at the Erin Arts Centre, especially as their scores carried a special discount of 10% and 20% for students with verification. Their full catalogue can be seen at www.partitura-verlag.com

The event also included workshops throughout the week for those viola players who wish to attend non-competitive master classes, other sessions and public concerts. As readers one will know that all craftsmen need a steady hand and eye and there may be none more versatile than the festival’s talented resident luthier David Hulme. Most days there was an ensemble class directed by much loved and well respected Dr Louise Lansdown, presently Head of Strings at the Birmingham Conservatoire . Two lectures were given by Tully Potter .Recitals were given by Martin Outram and Julian Rolton, Maxim Rysanov and Xenia Bashmet, Betil Basegmezler , Brian Hawkins and Caroline Dowdle, Yuri Bashmet with his daughter Xenia, Sarah –Jane Bradley and Julian Rolton, , Hong—Mei Xiao and Sophia Rahman, Jean Sulem and Caroline Dowdle and Samuel Rhodes and Sophia Rahman.  An excellent  concert was given on the Friday by the Viola Ensemble Class for all  those  attending the event  and also members of the public conducted by Nejat Basegmezler, John Bethell and the ensemble’s director Louise Lansdown.

The semi-finalists which took place on Thursday were Bo Li (China), Matthew Lipman (USA), Shuangshuang Liu (China), Wenhong Luo (China), Ziyu Shen (China) , Kei Tojo (Japan), Rosalind Ventris (UK) and Chieh-Fan Yiu (Taiwan). The Jury  had then to decide three finalist but on this occasion they  choose four.  In their ballot order which had been maintained from Stage 1 they chose Ziyu Shen, Matthew Lipman, Shuangshuang Liu and Kei Tojo. After the Finalist recital the Chairman of the Jury Brian Hawkins  announced the winners each of whom received their prize from the President of Tynwald  (The Isle of Man Government).

First prize: Ziyu Shen,  15, China.  The “ Lillian Tertis Memorial Prize”  of £7000 , A Wigmore Hall Recital on Sunday February  2nd at 7.30pm. A solo performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with the  London Philharmonia Orchestra on Thursday 30th January  at 6.30pm.

Second Prize: Kei Tojo,  21, Japan. The “Ruth Fermoy Memorial Prize” of £5000

The Jury decided that the Third Prize should be shared between Shuangshuang Liu, 26, China and Matthew Lipman, 21, USA  the “Artur Rubinstein Memorial Prize” of £3000  (£1500 each)

The other 16 prizes were all awarded and these can be found on the erinartscentre website

Our loyal and distinguished accompanists Caroline Dowdle, Anthony Hewitt, Julian Rolton and Sophia Rahman gave each of the competitors their fullest support and also to those members of the Jury who gave public recitals during the week. The Support given to me as the Director by Gloria Balakrishna and Jackie Allibone over the many weeks prior to the competition was much appreciated by us all as was that given by members of the Erin Arts Centre Support Group providing essential  catering and backstage support with our two editors for “The Daily Bratsche” Geoff Pickles and David Norbury. Why “The Daily Bratsche” ? Our news-sheet. Simples, as the meerkat said – ‘Bratsche’is German for ‘viola’. (By the way, ‘viola’ in Manx Gaelic is ‘biol vooar’. Literally, ‘big violin’ – prosaic, but accurate, we think.)

Make a note in your 2016 diary for the week 19th – 26th and if you have not attended before – think on !

New Publications – Tertis, York Bowen, Ireland and Alwyn | Michael Freyhan

A Second Lionel Tertis Album- Joseph Weinberger 2013

Not only was Lionel Tertis a great player but a formidable fighter for the acceptance of the viola as a solo instrument. He made it a point of honour to increase the repertoire, focusing especially on the provision of short recital pieces with piano. To this end he made countless arrangements of works deemed suitable for the viola and composed not a few original ones himself. With the passing of the fashion for such occasional pieces many of them have fallen out of print or are known only in recordings. In 2006 John White published two volumes of Tertis ‘Favourites’ (Lionel Tertis, The Early Years, Bks 1 and 2, Comus Edition 2006) and A Lionel Tertis Album (Josef Weinberger 2006). This year he has added seven more titles to the collection, one of them an original work, in A Second Lionel Tertis Album (Josef Weinberger 2013). As we learn from John White’s Preface Tertis’s mission was clear: “I consider it as a pious act to grab music for the viola . . .”  Tertis’s fingerings are given in the piano score, but they do not appear in the viola part, which is treated as an urtext. They are certainly idiosyncratic and personal to Tertis, showing how deeply he cherished the sound quality of every note. The subject is thoughtfully discussed in the Preface, with quotations from William Primrose.

York Bowen Fantasia for Viola and Organ & Poem for Viola, Harp (or Piano) and Organ- Joseph Weinberger 2009

Viola with organ accompaniment is an unusual sonority found in two early works by York Bowen. The first, a Fantasia, was premiered in 1906 by Tertis and the twenty-two-year-old Bowen. A review quoted in the editor’s Preface discovered “nothing in the accompaniment to prevent it being played on the pianoforte”, but this would make the character and instrumental blend incomparably different. Carelessly I missed the first performance but, through the publication of this rarity, I am hoping to have another chance to hear it! Six years later came the Poem for viola, harp (or piano) and organ, showing a more adventurous harmonic language and further creative maturity. In both works the viola writing is consistently romantic. The manuscript is dated 10 April 1912, well after the performance by Tertis, composer and harpist Miriam Timothy given on 9 June 1911. Evidently, barring other distractions, the composer spent 10 months making improvements.

John Ireland Violin Sonata No.2 in A minor (transcribed for viola)

In 1915 John Ireland started work on his Second Violin Sonata. It was premiered in 1917 and, just one year later, performed as a Viola Sonata by Tertis, partnered by the composer. According to the Wigmore Hall programme the work was arranged by Ireland, but elsewhere Tertis is widely credited as having made the transcription. John White’s Preface examines the history of the work and performances given by Tertis. The music is both romantic and tightly knit, with the musical line carried forward on the back of strong, rhythmic motifs. One can readily understand Tertis’s desire to ‘kidnap’ this intense and well-structured work. The original compass is of necessity reduced, but octave doublings are added, where appropriate, to take the place of the bright violin E string sound.  The piano part remains unaltered, leaving the pianist responsible for finding the colours and balance which best match the viola register and timbre. It is to be hoped that modern viola players will welcome this fine Sonata and take it into their repertoire, following Tertis’s example. 

William Alwyn Selected works for Viola and Piano

“Selected Works for Viola and Piano” completes the canon of William Alwyn’s compositions for viola available in modern editions. There are two Sonatinas, written in 1941 and 1944 but with the material of the inner movements common to both. “Two Preludes” are teenage works demonstrating a keen interest in the interplay of harmonies. “Two Pieces”, from the same period, complement each other perfectly and, whether intentionally or not, commend themselves as teaching material.  Alwyn’s arrangements of negro spirituals make a characterful addition to the anthology.

These new editions have been thoroughly researched by the editor, with helpful background information given in the Prefaces. The accuracy is commendable, and players can have confidence in the musical text. It is normal for the music of one generation to be considered ‘dated’ by the next and it may take several generations for neglected gems to be rediscovered. The music must, above all, be available and in print, and John White’s untiring efforts to reinvigorate the viola repertoire of the last century, giving the lie to those who say there is no repertoire, is ensuring the continuation of Tertis’s work.

Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten: music for viola | Martin Outram

It is well known that throughout musical history a number of the greatest composers have played the viola. Sadly, many who might have written solo works for the instrument neglected to do so. However, two of England’s most accomplished composers, Frank Bridge (1879 – 1941) and Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) left a substantial repertory of high quality music for their chosen string instrument.

Bridge and Britten first met in 1927. Bridge, though established as a highly skilled craftsman, was by this time beginning to perplex his British audiences and critics through the expressive and harmonic complexity of his recent music. He conducted his new orchestral piece Enter Spring at the Norwich Triennial Festival on 27 October and there was introduced to the thirteen year-old Britten by Britten’s viola teacher Audrey Alston, with whom Bridge was staying during the festival. Bridge began teaching Britten in London in January 1928. Britten stated that Bridge ‘was most naturally an instrumental composer and, as a superb viola player, he thought instrumentally…He fought against anything anti-instrumental, which is why his own music is graceful to play’. Later he described the lessons as ‘immensely serious and professional study’. Britten’s mother observed that the teenager would emerge from them ‘blinking and twitching nervously, and white with exhaustion’. Feeling he was ‘very small fry’, Britten began to write for more modest forces, including a number of works featuring the string instrument both he and his teacher played.

Bridge was the tenth of twelve children of the lithographer, violin teacher and music hall conductor William Bridge. Aged six he began violin lessons with his father and as a teenager gained invaluable experience as a composer, arranger and conductor for his father’s light orchestras. In 1896 he enrolled at the Royal College of Music and three years later won a scholarship to study composition in Charles Villiers Stanford’s famous class. Although he continued to play the violin, his early professional career was centred around his activities as one of the foremost English violists of his generation. He made his first public appearance as a violist in November 1900 and soon after became a member of three professional string quartets (Grimson, Motto and English). In 1906, such was his eminence that he was invited to participate in a performance as second violist in the Brahms Sextet in G with Joseph Joachim’s quartet.

‘There can be no true approach to Bridge the composer except by the broad road of his own all-around skilled, natural musicianship. His viola-playing was no isolated force in him..’ So wrote Bridge’s contemporary Herbert Howells.  In addition to freelancing as a violist and string teacher, Bridge developed a career as a conductor. By 1914 he had conducted at the Queen’s Hall and at Covent Garden and as a chamber musician had played regularly at the Aeolian, Bechstein and Steinway Halls. In 1912, Bridge appeared with the legendary Lionel Tertis in the premiere performance of Bridge’s two viola duos, the beautiful and haunting Lament and the unpublished Caprice.

By 1908, Lionel Tertis (1876 – 1975) was already well known as a virtuoso and promoter of the viola as a solo instrument. In this year the publishers Stainer and Bell produced The Lionel Tertis Viola Library and Bridge’s Pensiero and Allegro Appassionato appeared in the first issue. Pensiero was first conceived in 1905 but was revised for publication and Allegro Appassionato was probably written around 1907/8. The Allegretto, a short and very charming ternary form recital bonbon,  may date from as early as 1904, but was left unfinished by Bridge. It was completed for publication in 1980 by Paul Hindmarsh, who added the final eighteen bars. Each of these three pieces perfectly exhibits Bridge’s supreme ability to convey a dramatic and wide-ranging narrative within a relatively short time. In particular, Pensiero has a brooding melancholic quality prevalent in much of Bridge’s chamber music and the Allegro Appassionato has a tremendous sense of sweeeping energy to its outer sections, contrasted by more nostalgic music in the middle. It is worth noting that Bridge transcribed for viola the Adagio Lamentoso from William Hurlstone’s Sonata for cello and piano, a relatively rare work from this gifted composer who died young at only thirty years old.

Although it is known that Britten began viola lessons aged 10, the earliest music he wrote for his instrument is an unpublished Étude for solo viola dated 18 February 1929, which he states in his diary entry of 21 March that he transcribed for violin. Next comes the Introduction and Allegro for viola and strings, recently published. It was completed towards the end of October 1929 and premiered by Roger Chase as soloist in 1997 at Snape Maltings. It is also available in a reduction for viola and piano by Susan Bradshaw.

Thereafter, Britten completed three works for viola in the spring and summer of 1930, around the time of his leaving Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk. During this period, Britten’s diary indicates that he was regularly practising the viola and, according to his sister Beth, ‘Ben was playing the viola well’. During weekend stays with Frank and Ethel Bridge at their Friston house near Eastbourne, Britten would play chamber music regularly and Beth states that ‘when he was not at the piano, he would play the viola’. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that at such a formative time in his life Britten should turn to write more works for this instrument.

The first of these works of the new decade, later given the title Reflection, was written on 11 April 1930 and revised on 1 June that year. Britten wrote in his diary that he was ‘getting very fond of Schönberg, especially with study’. A week or so earlier he had heard Schönberg’s Chamber Symphony, Suite op.25 and Pierrot Lunaire which he thought ‘most beautiful’. This new viola piece, together with the Quartettino that he similarly submitted for consideration for a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, demonstrates the more advanced harmonic language he was exploring, no doubt encouraged by Bridge. The Elegy for solo viola was completed on 1 August 1930, the day after Britten left school. Its brooding quality and eruptive climax perhaps reflect his complex feelings at the time. Dated 10 September 1930, the Portrait No.2 ‘E.B.B’ is a self-portrait, the second of three projected portraits of the composer and two school friends. Originally scored for viola and strings this has a disarming and unsettled quality. It is hoped that the transcription by the present author for viola and piano can help to bring the work a wider audience.

Dating from 1932, Britten’s Double Concerto for Violin and Viola was left in draft short score only. It was realised and prepared for publication by the composer and great Britten scholar Colin Matthews and premiered in 1997. A striking and very ambitious work which demonstrates the young Britten’s growing confidence in handling both the solo instruments and larger orchestral forces, it has been performed widely and already recorded several times.

Benjamin Britten’s skill as an arranger is represented in the extraordinary reduction for viola and piano of Bridge’s ‘impression’ for small orchestra There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook. The original orchestral piece was written in three weeks in January 1927 and is a response to the famous Queen Gertrude’s speech at the end of Act IV of Hamlet, in which the death of Ophelia is described. The transcription of this exceptionally sensitively scored work for just two instruments is in itself a tour de force, completed by the eighteen-year-old in only three days in December 1932. Britten had attended on 4 December a ballet choreographed to the piece and Bridge subsequently presented him with a miniature score providing the necessary impetus and means for the transcription. Thereafter it seems to have been forgotten and was not performed publicly until 1988, when it was given by Nobuko Imai and Roger Vignoles. Britten’s commitment to and fascination with Bridge’s masterpiece is further indicated by his quotation from it in the Fugue in the Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge and a reduction of the original orchestration for a performance at the 1948 Aldeburgh Festival.

A year later, while on tour in New York with Peter Pears, Britten met the great Scottish viola virtuoso William Primrose (1904-1982) and enticed him to the 1950 Aldeburgh Festival by offering him the dedication of his haunting Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of Dowland. After an introduction in which the first part of Dowland’s lute song If my complaints could passions move is heard, the work consists of nine variations (in the sixth of which Britten quotes from Dowland’s Flow my tears) and is completed by a coda section in which the initial song is at last heard in its entirety. Primrose and Britten premiered the work in Aldeburgh on 20 June 1950, a performance which was also broadcast by the BBC. A work of exquisite subtlety and tremendous emotional range, Britten returned to it towards the very end of his life when he arranged it for viola and strings in early 1976. This was at the instigation of his long-standing friend and colleague, the South African violist Cecil Aronowitz, who had performed Bach’s sixth Brandenburg concerto with Primrose and Britten as continuo in the 1950 Aldeburgh Festival.

Britten took every opportunity to promote the works of his beloved teacher throughout his life. He achieved this through performing, arranging, recording and publicising them in interviews. In addition to the works mentioned earlier, as late as 1965 he organised the premiere of Bridge’s Rhapsody Trio for two violins and viola at the Aldeburgh Festival of that year. The two composers shared so much common ground artistically, philosophically and musically. As violists we are greatly indebted to them for the rich and varied repertory that they left us.

Martin Outram and Julian Rolton’s disc of music for viola and piano by Bridge and Britten will be released in autumn 2013 on the Nimbus label. Martin Outram’s arrangement of Britten’s Portrait No 2 ‘E.B.B’ for viola and piano is being prepared for publication by Chester Music.


Born at Faversham, Kent, on 19 April 1870, Alfred Charles Hobday was a member of a distinguished musical family. His father Charles Dunn Hobday had a music-selling business; younger brother Claude (1872-1954) was one of the great British bassists; elder sister Bessie was a pianist, organist, violinist and singer. His younger sisters Maud and Gertrude were respectively a violinist and pianist and a pianist and singer; and Alfred’s Irish-born wife Ethel (née Sharpe) was a splendid pianist who had been part of Brahms’s circle in Vienna. Hobday was the best-known violist in England before the rise of Lionel Tertis, with whom he was on good terms – his wife made records with Tertis.

Winning an open scholarship in 1886 to the Royal College of Music, he studied violin and viola with Henry Holmes, piano with Herbert Sharpe (no relation to his wife, but father of cellist Cedric Sharpe), organ with Dr Gladstone and theory with Sir Frederick Bridge. In 1895, the year he married, Hobday became principal viola in Queen Victoria’s private band, directed by Sir Walter Parratt. This post brought him a Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Queen and a Coronation Medal from King Edward VII. He led the Philharmonic Society violas for several years and in 1900 played the obbligato in Harold in Italy under the baton of Sir Frederic Cowen ‘with great accuracy and expression’. In 1900 he was appointed solo violist at the Royal Opera under Hans Richter, remaining there until 1934. When Tertis turned down the leadership of the viola section in the fledgling London Symphony Orchestra in 1905, Hobday was offered the post, and he remained in it until he turned 60. In 1908 he performed Harold in Italy ‘with great beauty of tone’ with the LSO and Richter. Hobday led the violas at all the great British festivals at various times. He taught at the London Academy of Music. As an Associated Board examiner he went three times to South Africa, where his sister Bessie taught music in Kingswilliamstown.

Alfred Hobday was in high demand as a chamber musician. As early as 1890 he made his début at the South Place concerts. In 1894 he took part in the first British Chamber Concerts series at Queen’s Small Hall, with violinists Jasper and Wallace Sutcliffe and cellist W.H. Squire. In 1897-9 he and Squire were in the quartet who inaugurated the Sunday Evening Chamber Concerts alongside violinists Enrique Fernández Arbós and Ferdinand Weist-Hill. Hobday played in the Popular Concerts at St James’s Hall with both Joseph Joachim and Lady Halle; and he was second viola with the Joachim Quartet on several occasions. In 1903-5 he succeeded Émile Ferir in the Kruse Quartet (Tertis replaced him). He and brother Claude played in the 1905 première of Vaughan Williams’s C minor Quintet with the ‘Trout’ instrumentation: of course they often played the ‘Trout’ itself, as well as Richard Walthew’s work with the same scoring.

Alfred participated in the first British performances of Fauré’s two Piano Quartets, with the composer at the piano; and in 1903 he played Richard Strauss’s Piano Quartet in Birmingham with Strauss as pianist. In 1915 he and LSO colleagues W.H. Reed, Charles Woodhouse and Charles Crabbe formed the British String Quartet. In the 1930s he and Ivor James played both Brahms Sextets in Oxford with the Busch Quartet. A photograph shows Schubert’s C major Quintet being played in the music room at the Netherton Grove home of Alexandre Fachiri and his wife Adila (née d’Arányi). Adila leads, with Hobday on her left and her sister Jelly d’Arányi, playing second violin, opposite her in the old-fashioned seating pattern. Alex Fachiri, surely playing second cello, is in the centre with Gaspar Cassadó between him and Jelly.

Alfred and Ethel Hobday sometimes gave recitals, usually with a singer sharing the platform: they often played Joachim’s Variations and in 1916 their programme with Gervase Elwes included Brahms’s F minor Sonata, Dale’s Romance and Bowen’s C minor Sonata. Hobday was a typical pre-Tertis violist, playing in the 19th-Century manner, and behind his back younger colleagues called him ‘Cold Mutton’ – unfair, as he was a most elevated artist. For Edward Elgar he was ‘the Prima Donna’. Hobday and his wife took part in chamber music sessions at the Elgars’ London home Severn House; and as a member of the LSO, Hobday recorded several Elgar works under the composer’s baton. He missed out on the solo in the overture In the South – when it was recorded in September 1930 as he had just handed over the principal viola chair to Anthony Collins.

Alfred Hobday made no solo records, but he took part in an abridged acoustic Mozart G minor Quintet with the London String Quartet, led by Albert Sammons. Recorded in the top-floor Columbia studio at Clerkenwell Road. Issued in 1920, this performance can be dated to 13 June 1917, when the first daylight Zeppelin raid took place.

‘We were startled by a loud report,’ Sammons recalled, ‘but thought it was nothing more than a burst motor tyre: but on hearing a second and louder report, and seeing people running about in the street below, we knew what was taking place. After all was over we returned to our work, and struck a lucky hit in making a splendid record of the work. I say lucky, because of the different position in the seating formation of the quintet. A lot is left to chance, when more than two players join forces, and are crowding into a small space with scarcely bowing room, etc.’

At Abbey Road Studios in the 1930s, Hobday took part in a number of HMV sessions as second violist with the Quatuor Pro Arte. He recorded three Mozart Quintets, the G minor (complete this time), C major and D major, and Brahms’s B flat Sextet. With the Budapest Quartet he did Brahms’s F major Quintet and G major Sextet – Anthony Pini was second cellist in both Sextets. In all these performances, Hobday showed himself to be a thoroughly sympathetic chamber musician. He owned a magnificent instrument, the ex-Villa 1781 Giambattista Guadagnini, which he used for his solo work. Among the pieces written for him were two by Ernest Walker, a beautiful Brahmsian sonata and a set of variations based on his and his wife’s initials in German notation. He died at Tankerton, Kent, on 23 February 1942 following a freak accident: walking on the pavement near his home, he was knocked down by a squad of marching soldiers and suffered a fractured thigh from which he never recovered.

Emil Kreuz and the Advancement of the Viola in Nineteenth-Century Britain | David Bynog

Emil Kreuz, c. 1900 (photo courtesy of the author)

The advent of Lionel Tertis as a concert soloist at the beginning of the twentieth century radically altered the perception of the viola and violists. Tertis not only elevated the stature of the instrument itself, but he persuaded composers (primarily British) to write a diverse array of music for the instrument.1 Consequently, Great Britain can lay claim to a robust heritage for the viola.

However, given Britain’s pre-twentieth-century role as a political and social powerhouse (and London’s status as a leading musical center), it is only to be expected that violists prior to Tertis would have been renown as soloists. František Kocžwara and Benjamin Blake were two prominent violists in Britain at the end of the eighteenth century,2 while Henry Hill and Charles Baetens were the two most well-regarded violists during the middle of the nineteenth century.3 The end of the nineteenth-century saw two rising viola stars: Alfred Hobday4 and Emil Kreuz, both of whom graduated from the Royal College of Music (RCM) with a specialty on the viola. While Hobday went on to a lengthy career as a violist, Kreuz’s career was rather short-lived owing to his abrupt change of profession to conducting beginning in 1903. Still, for a roughly fifteen-year period, he made valuable contributions as a performer, composer, and arranger, which greatly advanced the standing of the viola in Britain.

Kreuz as Violist

Emil Kreuz was born in 1867 at Elberfeld, Germany, and started his musical education early; by the age of ten, he was studying violin with Georg Joseph Japha in Cologne.5 At the age of sixteen, he was a winner of the first round of open scholarships at the newly established Royal College of Music. Initially studying violin with Henry Holmes, he switched from violin to viola, performing as a viola soloist while a student. His performance of selections from Schumann’s Märchenbilder in 1886 earned him a label as “a promising young viola performer.”6 The following year he appeared as a violist on many concerts, playing Brahms’s Two Songs, op. 91, Schumann’s  Märchenerzählungen, and Vieuxtemps’s  arrangement of Félicien David’s La Nuit, the last as part of an RCM concert at the June 15, 1887, Royal Society of Art’s Conversazione.7 At the RCM  December 21, 1887, orchestral concert, he performed Harold in Italy “in a manner which deserves to be described as masterly.”8 Kreuz earned a certificate in theory and viola in 1888, becoming the RCM’s first graduate on the viola.

Wasting no time after graduation, Kreuz became immersed in musical life, frequently performing in chamber groups, most famously as violist in a quartet led by Richard Gompertz. Appearing at Cambridge University (See Figure 1) , Gompertz’s quartet premiered Charles Stanford’s first two string quartets. The quartet performed frequently elsewhere and was considered “a quartet which not only technically but artistically has no superior among metropolitan quartets.”9 Kreuz also performed chamber music with many other prominent musicians, including Joseph Joachim, Fritz Kreisler, and Lady Hallé.

Figure 1. Program from a February 15, 1890, Cambridge concert where Kreuz performed the first three movements of Schumann’s Märchenbilder

In addition to chamber music, Kreuz often performed solo recitals to much acclaim: “The rendering of a solo for the viola by Mr. Emil Kreuz may be set down as one of the most artistic items of the evening…. Mr. Kreuz promises to be one of our finest players on the viola.”10 He performed Harold in Italy on December 11, 1888, at one of George Henschel’s London Symphony Concerts, where the Daily News proclaimed, “the success he achieved was unmistakable, and it was amply merited by the possession of rare artistic gifts, carefully developed by sound training.”11 Kreuz remained involved with the Royal College of Music, performing on chamber recitals as well as once again appearing as soloist with the RCM Orchestra at a December 10, 1890, performance of Harold in Italy.


Later in 1890, Kreuz performed a new sonata expressly written for him by Algernon Ashton, a professor of composition at the RCM (See Figure 2). Violists in the nineteenth century—particularly in Britain—had difficulty in attracting new compositions, thus this incidence speaks highly of Kreuz’s burgeoning achievements as a solo violist. In later years, Tertis would capitalize on this symbiotic relationship between violist and composer. The viola was in need of repertoire and British composers were in need of outlets for their music. Ashton’s sonata is grand in scope and a valuable, though overlooked, contribution to the British sonata repertoire. A review of the concert, however, characterizes the works shortcomings:

‘[Ashton’s] treatment of his instruments seems to lack experience; he is, as it were, always at high pressure; and the viola is seldom allowed to display itself without being quickly overpowered by the piano. But the writing is sound, and indeed even tending to over-elaboration; and interesting passages every now and then make one wish that they had been left to exhibit their attractiveness in more simple fashion. Mr. Emil Kreuz did his best (which is saying much) for the viola part.’1

Figure 2. Cover page for Algernon Ashton’s Viola Sonata, dedicated to Kreuz

Kreuz as Composer

Whilst Kreuz was actively promoting the viola as a soloist and chamber musician, he was making considerable contributions to the instrument as a composer and arranger. Kreuz clearly recognized the dearth of suitable educational material available for violists in Britain. He edited both Bruni’s Méthode  pour l’Alto (25 Études) and Campagnoli’s 41 Caprices for Augener and produced a number of other pedagogical editions including scales and arpeggios and select studies from prominent Étude books. He also arranged sixty-five pieces by diverse composers (Mendelssohn, Schumann, Bach, Meyerbeer, Chopin, etc.) in a progressive order, intending these to serve as teaching pieces as well as attractive works for performance.

Not content with merely arranging works for educational purposes, Kreuz also composed original viola music. His Op. 13, The Violist: A Series of Progressive Pieces for Viola and Piano, is a set of six volumes including increasingly complex works, culminating with his Viola Sonata in A Minor. His Op. 40 set, Progressive Studies for the Viola, with Accompaniment of a Second Viola, likewise aims to allow for steady advancement. These works were widely praised upon publication: “Were we to affix as many adjectives to the pieces as they deserve (only laudatory ones are appropriate), we should not only exhaust our own stock, but even find it difficult to get a sufficient supply from the biggest dictionary within our reach.”13

The breadth of skill levels that his pedagogical works addresses, from works for beginners to those clearly for advanced students (Bruni and Campagnoli), highlights Kreuz’s understanding that education at all levels was key to the advancement of the viola. Of particular note is his manner of composing for amateurs, writing at a technical level and in a musical style that would have wide appeal: “Mr. Kreuz has already done a great deal to further the interest of the viola player, and these Studies will not fail to further so good a cause and entice more amateurs to take up the viola.”14 Kreuz’s pedagogical works went through multiple printings, and in addition to the Augener editions, some titles were also published by Schott.

Pedagogical works make up only a portion of Kreuz’s original compositions for the viola. Concert works include the Liebesbilder, op. 5; his Viola Concerto, op. 20; Suite de pièces, for viola and piano, op. 45; the Viola Sonata that forms part of his Op. 13 set; as well as chamber works featuring the viola in various combinations. The concerto and sonata are particularly important compositions, given the scarcity of nineteenth-century works in these genres. Since the sonata forms part of his Op. 13 set, the technical demands are easier than many other nineteenth-century viola sonatas. Kreuz’s Viola Concerto, on the other hand, is quite virtuosic and can be seen as a precursor to the contributions of British composers in the early twentieth century, including concertos by John Blackwood McEwen, Cecil Forsyth, and York Bowen.

“The great composers have not favoured the viola as a solo instrument . . .  Mr. Emil Kreuz . . . had, therefore, a comparatively clear field. His concerto . . . is extremely vigorous, with much brilliant and florid writing for the principal executant. On paper the second movement, a Barcarole in A flat, appears the most pleasing section of the work.”15

The Barcarolle was indeed the most successful portion of the concerto, subsequently being published independently from the other movements and receiving several performances by itself. Kreuz’s concerto is firmly rooted in the Romantic tradition, and the technical skills required of the viola are ample (ex.1).

Example 1. Emil Kreuz, Viola Concerto, movt. I, six measures before letter K.

Kreuz’s compositions were not limited to the viola: he wrote and published a variety of chamber and vocal works that received multiple performances during his lifetime. While Kreuz performed his own viola compositions at various venues, the wide publication of his viola music suggests that both amateurs and students had access to and performed his music. Alfred Hobday performed Kreuz’s Liebesbilder on a March 4, 1891, concert;16 Simon Speelman performed the Barcarolle from Kreuz’s Viola Concerto on a November 25, 1903, recital (with Kreuz at the piano);17 and T. M. Abbott also performed the Barcarolle on a May 13, 1905, recital.18

Kreuz after the Viola

Throughout the 1890s, Kreuz pursued a career in conducting, and in 1903 he became musical assistant at Covent Garden. That same year he joined the Hallé Orchestra as a violist in order to study conducting with Hans Richter.19 Grove’s reported shortly afterward that Kreuz’s “present intention is to give up viola playing and composition, in order to devote his time to conducting and training vocalists.”20 Kreuz was active as a conductor for the next decade, even conducting a small orchestra that bore his name, The Kreuz Orchestra, and serving as conductor of the orchestra at Trinity College of Music.

Though Kreuz became a British Subject in 1904, he likely encountered the anti-German sentiment that preceded World War I. Kreuz is reported to have left Britain before the war.21 His presence in England, however, is known during 1915; he is listed in the telephone book under the alternate name of E[mil] Thornfield,22 and he conducted concerts and published a book that same year under this pseudonym. By 1916, he had settled in Copenhagen, where he and his wife held teaching positions.23 Details beyond 1916 are murky: in 1923, he is quoted in an ad for rosin published in the Strad, lending credence to the reports that he returned to England after the war.24 Emil Kreuz died December 3, 1932, but sources conflict regarding whether he died in London or Brussels.25 Given Kreuz’s strong promotion of the viola in Britain, the obscure details surrounding his death are particularly disheartening.

Kreuz’s Legacy

Kreuz’s viola compositions and arrangements have been his most enduring contributions to the viola. Within the span of a decade, Kreuz created a miniature repertoire with suitable music for a violists of any level. The pedagogical works, in particular, were immediately taken up and were used for many years in Britain. The RCM and Royal Academy of Music included his works in their 1898 list of local examinations in music, and his music was routinely suggested to violists in publications over the next several decades:

It becomes dull for the student if he keeps for too long to only one book, so I advise that the tutor be laid aside occasionally and that various books of studies should be explored for fresh material. Of those most likely to be obtained at the moment, I can recommend the “Select Studies” [Augener 7657a–7657e] in five books by Emil Kreuz. . . .

Nothing, however, pleases the student more than to play a piece—something intended for recreation and enjoyment only. . . . Here is real music making!. . . . Augener publish[es] Emil Kreuz “The Violist,” Op. 13, ranging through five books from very easy to moderately difficult.26

Kreuz studied composition with Charles Stanford while at the RCM, and his compositions “reflect the prevalent taste of his time.”27  That is, they exhibit the romantic—and often overly sentimental writing—popular at the end of the nineteenth century (ex. 2). This compositional style went out of vogue with the rise of mid-twentieth-century modernism, and with the great increase in new compositions and educational materials available for violists Kreuz’s music fell out of favor. Tuneful, well-written music has since returned to popularity in the twenty-first century, making Kreuz’s melodic compositions with their intelligently designed progressive writing once again ripe for attention by violists. Many of his compositions are currently available, either in new editions or via the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library website at http://imslp.org/ (see the appendix for a complete listing).

Example 2. Emil Kreuz, The Violist, op. 13, Book II, “Lamentation,” (viola part).

Of his concert works, the Viola Sonata, op. 13 and Liebesbilder, op. 5 are particularly worthy of attention. The sonata is of a moderate degree of difficulty and would make an excellent first sonata for any young violist. Liebesbilder is a serious set of three concert pieces in the vein of Joachim’s Hebrew Melodies, op. 9. The first movement, allegro moderato, is the most successful; lush and dramatic, and suitable for performance by itself. The second and third movements are a bit thin in their development of the musical ideas, though they are both attractively evocative of the “love” theme. A recording of the work is available with Laurent Rochat, viola, and Miaomiao Li, piano, on the CD Liebesbilder (Doron Music, DRC 5028, 2008).

If the importance of Kreuz’s contributions to the viola literature has gone relatively unheralded, this pales in comparison to the disregard of his contributions as a performer on viola. He became a well-known and well-respected viola specialist in England at a time when the viola was still widely denigrated. The brief references to his appearances as a soloist and chamber musician previously mentioned in this article only hint at the scope of his performing activities. He was most celebrated in his role as violist of the Gompertz Quartet, but he performed widely (and successfully) in other settings. In addition to solo appearances, he performed small chamber works featuring the viola including Mozart’s violin and viola duets and the “Kegelstatt” Trio, and gave many performances of Brahms’s Op. 91 songs. The Strad adequately summed up the sentiment in 1905 when he gave up playing the viola publicly:  “The many admirers of Mr. Emil Kreuz, one of the best viola players in the country, will perhaps rather regret the advice given to him by Dr. Hans Richter to abandon viola playing for conducting.”28

Ultimately Kreuz’s contributions remain underappreciated. The nature of his legacy is one that does not always endure: he gained acceptance for the viola in Britain through timely and “of the moment” efforts that targeted the broad populace. By creating accessible works for amateurs to perform, he filled a void in the published viola repertoire, attracting a new group of individuals who had hitherto shown little interest in the instrument. And with his superior musical and technical performances on the viola, he gained the admiration of concert audiences and critics at a pivotal time. In the short span from his graduation until 1903, he built a solid foundation in Britain for the viola from which Émile Férir, Alfred Hobday, Lionel Tertis, Siegfried Wertheim, and many others would soon expand.


 Kreuz’s Music Published by Augener Featuring the Viola

 A. Works for Viola with an Opus Number

Op. 5: Liebesbilder, for Viola and Piano (Augener 7627).

New Edition: Winterthur: Amadeus, 1995. BP 2292.

IMSLP: An incomplete piano score and the complete viola part are available.

Op. 9b: Frühlingsgedanken: Spring Fancies, 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano, arranged for viola and piano (Augener 7628).

Op. 13: The Violist: A Series of Progressive Pieces for Viola and Piano (Augener 7636a–7636f).

Book I: 12 very easy pieces, commencing with the open strings, and gradually

introducing the notes of C major in the first position.

Book II: Progressive and easy pieces on the notes of C major .

Book III: Progressive melodies in the first position, and in the different major and minor

keys. Nos. 1–10.

Book IV: Progressive melodies in the first position, and in the different major and minor

keys. Nos. 11–20.

Book V: Three easy sketches in the first three positions.

Book VI: Sonata in A minor for viola and piano.

New Edition: Sonata in A minor (Book VI): Winterthur: Amadeus, 1987. BP 2645.

IMSLP: Incomplete piano scores for books I, II, and IV are available; an incomplete viola part for book III is available; a complete viola part for book IV is available, and a complete piano score and part for book VI is available.

Op. 20: Concerto in C for Viola and Orchestra (Piano Reduction) (Augener 5571).

IMSLP: Piano reduction and viola part are available.

Op. 21: Trio for Violin, Viola, and Piano (Augener 5271).

IMSLP: Score and parts are available.

Op. 32: Trio facile in C, for violin, viola, and piano (Augener 5272).

New Edition: Winterthur: Amadeus, 1989. BP 694.

IMSLP: Score and parts are available.

Op. 39: Four Duos for Violin and Viola (Augener 5594a–5594b).

Book I: 2 Duos, in F and D.

Book II: 2 Duos, in G and C.

New Edition: Winterthur: Amadeus, 1991. BP 471.

Op. 40: Progressive Studies for the Viola, with Accompaniment of a Second Viola (Augener 7653a–7653d).

Book I: Commencing with exercises on the open strings, and gradually introducing the

notes of C major in the first position.

Book II: Studies in the first position in the flat keys, major and minor.

Book III: Studies in the first position in the sharp keys, major and minor.

Book IV: Introduction of the second and third positions, and studies in the first three positions.

Op. 45: Suite de Pièces, for viola and piano (Augener 5572).

IMSLP: An incomplete piano score is available.

Op. 49: Quintet in E-flat Major for Horn (or Viola) and String Quartet, “Prize Quintet” (Augener 7165).

New Edition: Winterthur: Amadeus, 2003. BP 1089.

IMSLP: Score and parts are available.

B. Works for Viola without an Opus Number

 Bruni, A. B. Tenor Method. Edited, with fingerings, bowings, and marks of expression by E. Kreuz (Augener 7659).

Campagnoli, B. 41 Caprices (Augener 7651).

Scales and Arpeggios for the Viola, through All Major and Minor Keys (Augener 7658a–7658b).

Book I: Through one and two octaves .

Book II: Through two and three octaves.

Select Pieces for Viola and Pianoforte, in Progressive Order. [Each piece published separately.] For a complete list of individual titles, see http://imslp.org/wiki/List_of_works_by_Emil_Kreuz.

First Series: 25 pieces (nos. 1–25).

Second Series: 20 pieces (nos. 26–45).

Third Series: 20 pieces in higher positions (nos. 46–65).

IMSLP: Score and part are available for no 6: Air and Unbekümmert, by C. Reinecke.

Select Studies for the Viola (Augener 7657a–7657e).

Book I: 30 elementary studies in the first position, with accompaniment of a second viola,  by Campagnoli and Mazas.

Book II: 30 studies in the first position by Corelli, Campagnoli, Kreutzer, and Spohr.

Book III: 20 studies in the first three positions by Corelli, Campagnoli, Kreutzer, Fiorillo, Spohr, Wenzel Pichl, and Mazas.

Book IV: 20 studies in the higher positions.

Book V: 20 studies in the higher positions.

New Edition: Books I–IV are available from Stainer & Bell (7657A–7657D).


1Tertis also attracted the attention of composers whom he did not approach directly for works. William Walton’s Viola Concerto and Joseph Jongen’s Suite, op. 48 are two notable examples of works written for him without his prompting.

2 Originally from Bohemia, Kocžwara was also active as a violist in Ireland.

3 For biographical information about Hill, see John White, ed., An Anthology of British Viola Players(Colne, UK: Comus Edition, 1997), 122. For biographical information on Baetens, see David M. Bynog, “Charles Baetens: Portrait of a Nineteenth-Century Violist,” American String Teacher 59, no. 4 (November 2009): 46–49.

4 For biographical information about Hobday, see White, 122–24 and David M. Bynog, “Alfred Hobday: 1870–1942,” English Viola Society Newsletter, no. 1 (October 2008): 15–18.

5 Janet M. Green, comp., Musical Biographies, ed. W. L. Hubbard, The American History and Encyclopedia of Music (Toledo: Irving Squire, 1908), 1:450.

6 “Royal College of Music,” Musical Times and Singing Class Circular 27, no. 522 (August 1, 1886): 468.

7 “Proceedings of the Society,” Journal of the Society of Arts 35, no. 1804 (June 17, 1887): 756.

8 “Royal College of Music,” Musical World (December 31, 1887): 1036.

9 “Violinists at Home,” Strad 5, no. 56 (December 1894): 229.

10 “The Musical Guild,” Era (London), May 25, 1889.

11 “London Symphony Concerts,” Daily News (London), December 12, 1888.

12 “Concerts,” Musical World (December 13, 1890): 997.

13 Review of The Violist, Book II, by Emil Kreuz, Monthly Musical Record (March 1, 1891): 63.

14 “New Musical Publications,” New Quarterly Musical Review 2 (November 1894): 153.

15 “New Instrumental Concerted Music,” Athenæum, no. 3415 (April 8, 1893): 450.

16 “Royal College of Music,” Musical Times and Singing Class Circular 32, no. 578 (April 1, 1891): 217–18.

17 “The Ladies’ Concerts,” Manchester Guardian, November 26, 1903.

18 “Music in Birmingham,” Musical Times 46, no. 748 (June 1, 1905): 405.

19 “The Hallé Concerts,” Manchester Guardian, October 30, 1903.

20 “Emil Kreuz,” in Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. J. A. Fuller Maitland (London: Macmillan, 1906), 2:603. Several other publications reported similar sentiments: “Mr. Emil Kreuz, the well-known viola player, who gave up his London work two years ago and joined the Hallé Orchestra for the sole purpose of studying under Dr. Richter, has now decided to give up his instrument and to devote his time entirely to conducting.”  See [E. Polonaski], “Current Events and Concert Notes: Home,” Violin Times 12, no. 138 (May 1905): 66.

21 “Emil Kreuz,” in Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Eric Bloom, 5th ed. (London: Macmillan, 1954), 4:852. Bernhard Päuler reports that “before 1914 he left England for a while on extensive concert and study tours.” See Introduction to Sonate in a-moll für Viola und Klavier, op. 13/6, by Emil Kreuz (Winterthur, Switzerland: Amadeus, 1987), [3].

22 Kreuz married the singer Emily Thornfield (née Emilie Anna Thorenfeld) in 1909. His wife was also active during 1915, performing at an April 29 recital devoted to Delius. See Rachel Lowe-Dugmore, “Documenting Delius,” Delius Society Journal 65 (October 1979): 13.

23 “The Royal Collegian Abroad,” RCM Magazine 12, no. 2 (1916): 61.

24 Mr. Emil Kreuz, violist, is quoted as saying: “I have given your Resin a lengthy trial, and think it very excellent,”  Imperial Publishing, “Every Violinist and ‘Cellist should at Once Try the New Velvo Resin,” advertisement, Strad 33, no. 395 (March 1923): 486.

25 The only traced source that mentions Brussels is Carlo Schmidl, ed., Dizionario universale dei musicisti. Supplemento: appendice, aggiunte e rettifiche (Milan: Sonzogno, 1938), 446. To date, the author has been unable to locate any obituaries or death notices for Kreuz. If Kreuz did die in London, the lack of any such notices in English sources seems odd given his prominent career there.

26 Watson Forbes, “For Viola Players: 1. First Steps in Viola Playing,” Strad 57, no. 679 (November 1946): 206.

27 B[ernhard] Päuler, “Emil Kreuz,” in An Anthology of British Viola Players, ed. John White, 147.

28 “Violinists at Home and Abroad,” Strad 16, no. 181 (May 1905): 5.

International Viola Society News | Dr Michael Vidulich

A little over fifteen years ago the International Viola Society (IVS) was formed to succeed the previous IVG (Internationale Viola-Gesellschaft). The IVS originally only had four sections – AUSTRALIA/NZ (ANZVS), CANADA (CVS), GERMANY (GVS) & the USA (AVS).  Today we have grown to 18 IVS sections (Pacific (1): Australia/NZ; North America (2): Canada, USA; South America (1): Brazil; Asia (2): China, Thailand; Europe (10): UK, Iceland, Finland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland; Africa (2): Nigeria, South Africa).  Presently discussions are being held with violists in Italy, Chile, Mexico and Hong Kong to form viola societies in these countries.  Note: Any contacts you may have for these and other countries would be appreciated (esp. for Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Belgium, Ireland, central &/or east European countries).

Since the IVS was formed, International Viola Congresses have been held every year and the IVS has been able to assist & work with other IVS section viola societies with IVS aid projects’ – violas, viola supplies, music, etc. for violists in other countries (e.g. Nigeria, South Africa, Iraq & Chile).

The IVS web-site:   explains who we are and what we do and keeps violists informed of ‘viola news’ worldwide.  Our ‘buttons’ help us keep going and offer a service for many violists.  Note: The IVS welcomes new advertisers for our web-site.  Other IVS initiatives include work on improving relations with our sections, reviewing our present IVS By-Laws, presenting IVS Awards to violists for their contributions to the viola, working on improving our IVS Congress Emergency & Start-up Funds policy and looking at starting an IVS Viola Composition Competition. The IVS fully supports all viola composition competitions worldwide.

This year the IVS will be holding IVS elections for the next term of office (a three year term – 2014-2016), which will be held later this year.  Our IVS By-Laws have officer residency requirements, stating that three regions must be represented on our Presidency (of 7 officers). The regions are: 1.) Africa, 2.) Asia, 3.) Australia/NZ, 4.) Europe, 5.) North America & 6.) South America.  All IVS Presidencies since 2002 have had officers from three regions – Australia/NZ, Europe & North America.  The present Presidency includes:  one from New Zealand (me), 4 Europeans – on each from United Kingdom, Finland, Spain & Germany & 2 from the United States.  It is important that our smaller IVS regions (Africa, Asia, Australia/NZ & South America) consider being represented on the IVS Presidency for the next term of office.  The IVS hopes that at least two qualified people are nominated for each elected IVS position.  Please consider nominations for the IVS Presidency for the next term of office, thank you.

IVS Officer requirements:

-PRESIDENT – Have to have been an IVS Officer &/or Section President &/or Section Vice President.

-VICE PRESIDENT – Have to have been an IVS Officer &/or Section Officer &/or Section Board/Committee Member &/or have been an IVS Congress Host.

(NOTE: The Vice President will need to reside in a different region from the President.)

-SECRETARY – Same as for VICE PRESIDENT (except: can reside in any region).

-TREASURER – Same as for VICE PRESIDENT/SECRETARY &/or have a proven record of financial management skills (can reside in any region).

-PAST PRESIDENT (non-elected).

-2 EXECUTIVE SECRETARIES (appointed by the President with recommendations from Section members) – No ‘specific’ requirements.

This year’s International Viola Congress will be held in Kraków, POLAND – 11 to 15 September and looks like it will be an ‘excellent’ Congress indeed.  Note: Please check our IVS web-site & for details, registration, etc.     I hope to see many of you there!

Report of British Viola Society activities 2012-2013 | Dr Louise Lansdown

The British Viola Society is about to celebrate its first birthday and we are thrilled to be able to report many changes, developments and much to look forward to.

The British Viola Society Team is now looking very healthy and we are inspired and geared up to take the society into the next stage of its history.

Please do enjoy our newly revamped and constantly changing website…www.britishviolasociety.co.uk

Warm wishes and congratulations to John White, our Honorary President on his 75th Birthday! Our new Treasurer, Michael Freyhan has included an article reviewing some of John’s latest publications in the 2013 Journal, so do make sure you look this up.

A big welcome and thank you to our new Secretary Sue Douglas, who has been simply wonderful over the past few months helping with membership, journal, website and absolutely everything.

A full list of BVS Team is below – do look up a little more about each member on our website.

John White – Honorary President

Ian Jewel – Patron

Louise Lansdown – President

Martin Outram – Vice-President

Sue Douglas – Secretary

Michael Freyhan – Treasurer

Janet Pazio (Executive Secretary – Membership)

Ben Lawrence (Executive Secretary – Facebook)

Laura Sinnerton (Executive Secretary – Twitter)

With all the new colleagues of the BVS Team we are working hard to enhance our membership perks, discounts, gifts and involvement. Much more news to follow!

Thanks to Ben Lawrence  (Executive Secretary – Facebook) we now have around 250 members on the BVS Facebook Group and this is steadily growing.

The BVS launch at the Royal Northern College of Music on 14 October 2012 was a lovely gathering, as was the Viola Day at Birmingham Conservatoire on 27 January 2013. It is thanks to the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition held on the Isle of Man in March 2013 that both Sue and Ben are now involved with the society. Tertis’s legacy certainly still lives on.

One of the next BVS events will also be held at Birmingham Conservatoire,

Maxim Rysanov will be giving a Public Master Class on Wednesday 30 October from 13.30-15.30 in the Recital Hall. Entrance is free of charge, and do notify Sue Douglas (Secretary) if you would like to attend  (email:   s.douglas@britishviolasociety.co.uk).

The BVS Team hopes that you enjoy our diverse and action-packed viola journal! Many thanks to my student Laura Feeney who has helped with proof-reading and formatting for the journal and also Maria Parfitt who has been helping Sue and Janet to build a database of amateur violists across the UK!

Dr Louise Lansdown

BVS President