The six Etudes for cello and piano by François Servais
 
16/12/2021

In order to apply for the 2022 Cello Competition, the young cellists had to record a number of works on video. Among these pieces, six etudes by the Belgian cellist and composer François Servais (1807-1866) were listed for the first time.


Preselection

The public competition rounds of the Queen Elisabeth Competition are preceded by a pre-selection behind closed doors. The purpose of the screening of the videos is to select the candidates who will be allowed to participate in the first public round. The number of admitted candidates is not fixed in advance.

For this second cello session, the candidates had to record a work for solo cello, a Schubert sonata and one of the six Etudes for cello and piano, opus Postumus, by François Servais.


Who was François Servais?

Nicknamed the Paganini of the Cello by his contemporaries, this musician and composer from Halle played a crucial role in the development of cello technique and brought European fame to the Belgian cello school. He traveled across Europe for thirty years as a virtuoso and wrote numerous works for the instrument. He is probably one of Belgium's most important cellists and played on the famous Stradivarius cello, dating from 1701, which otherwise bears his name and is currently in the instrument collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.


6 Etudes for Cello and Piano

By including his Etudes for cello and piano, opus Postumus in the 2022 edition repertoire, the Competition aims to pay tribute to an important Belgian composer and a little known part of Belgian music history.

In 2013, the Servais Association published, a hundred years after their composition, these six etudes which had remained virtually unknown despite their great interest. They can be performed with piano as well as cello accompaniment.


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