Achron was so inspired by his encounter with Rosovsky that he immediately composed his Hebrew Melody, Op 33, in just half an hour. Stated slowly at the outset, the Hasidic melody, recollected from his childhood, is repeated passionately in a higher octave, with varied harmonization. The theme gains in intensity over pulsating chords, and is then gradually embellished before a fervent cadenza. Its final appearance, with a more pleading tone in a higher register, is coloured with rarefied trills, until a closing utterance in the rich lower octave. Rapturously received when Achron premiered it at the Czar’s ‘ball-concert’ in 1912, it was taken up by Heifetz and became the composer’s most popular work. Like several of Achron’s pieces from this period, the Hebrew Melody was written with piano accompaniment and later orchestrated.
from notes by Malcolm Miller © 2012