Despite his output of works of dazzling technical bravura Ernst was, in fact, most celebrated in his time for his slow and soulful pieces, of which the Elegy
, Op 10, is a fine example. This haunting work was published in Vienna in 1840, having been written perhaps a few years earlier, with the title in full Élégie sur la mort d’un objet chéri
. Described as Chant pour violon
, it enjoyed great popularity in Ernst’s lifetime and was widely played. At least part of this success must have been due to the fact that, after the plangent, recitative-like introduction, in this piece Ernst makes few unreasonable demands on the player’s technique, aiming instead for unpretentious lyricism. Only in the final section does he call for double-stopping to intensify the emotion as the music builds to its climax, and the effect is entirely expressive.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008