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Eugène Ysaye

"I believe that this work is the work one expected and had to come because it is the direct impact of the harmonious sounds of the last 25 years; it comes just at the right time and seems necessary for the progress of virtuosity and orchestral composition. "Eugène Ysaye

While rummaging in a second-hand music shop during her years of study, the violinist Renate Eggebrecht bought a fabulously beautiful old French edition (1924) of Ysaÿe's six sonatas. For many years it formed the bedrock of her own performances. Ysaÿe's trailblazing expansion of violin technique, also evinced in his op. 35, Ten Preludes for violin, Essay on the modern technic of the violin, led music into uncharted territory: the composers Bartók, Milhaud, Schoenberg, Denisov and many others pursued his discoveries in their own violin music.
For the present recording of the Ysaÿe sonatas Ms Eggebrecht made use of the critical edition published by Henle in 2004, which introduces essential changes in the musical text.

The editor, Norbert Gertsch, wrote as follows:

All six sonatas have come down to us in engraver’s copies written out in Ysaÿe’s hand. Not all of the manuscripts are dated: only
No. 2 bears the date “Juillet 1923,” while Nos. 5 and 6 are dated “mai 1924.” The manuscripts bear the stamp of the original publisher confirming their date of receipt (March 1924 for No. 2 and the following May for Nos. 5 and 6). Since the first edition of the sonatas (in separate books and, later, compiled in one volume), which was published by the Éditions Ysaÿe, also bears the copyright date 1924, the individual sonatas must have been engraved shortly after they arrived.

It is difficult to determine precisely when the first printed copies went on sale. Although the composer dated his personal copy of the collected volume (the eighth to leave the press, as we learn from a special imprint), the date he entered was the rather late “Mai 1926”. In the intervening period, Ysaÿe had intensively altered and corrected the musical text from engraver’s copy to individual edition, and from individual edition to collected volume.

His corrections very often relate to fine points of fingering and bowing, but in some passages they also intervene more seriously in the musical substance by altering pitches and rhythms. The proofreading process represented a prolongation of the creative act, which, however, did not come even to an initial point of completion in the engraver’s copies. A surviving working manuscript for Sonata No. 6 reveals that the engraver’s copies themselves are fair manuscripts preceded by at least one other full draft.

Apparently Ysaÿe’s work on the sonatas did not end with the publication of the collected volume. Proof of this fact is provided by the composer’s above-mentioned personal copy of the printed edition, in which he later altered by hand the text of many passages. Since then, however, these corrections and alterations have not found their way into later issues of the original print; even today the editions currently available present the unaltered musical text of 1924. Our scholarly-critical edition is the first to include the alterations made to the printed text in Ysaÿe’s personal copy, thereby offering the composer’s true “definitive version.”

“Without wishing to doubt that every player employs an individual technique, it may be stated with certainty that those artists who pay precise attention to the fingerings, bowing marks, nuances and other instructions from the composer will most quickly reach their goal.”  Eugène Ysaye

LAST Change: Friedemann Kupsa
(26.01.2019 - 21:12 Uhr)

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 Eugène Ysaye

...Another of Ysaye’s goals was to depict the personality of each of the dedicatees. Their characteristics ranged from suave rigor (Szigeti and Crickboom) to stringent elegance (Kreisler), and from rhapsodic wit and esprit (Enesco) to Spanish ardor (Quiroga) and tender lyricism (Thibaud)....

Michel Stockhem