Six Sonatas for solo Violin, Op. 27

The Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27 are a collection of six sonatas composed by the Belgian composer Eugène Ysaÿe in 1923 and published by his son the following year. Ysaÿe reunites two sonatas in a major key and four in a minor key, as Bach did in his Sonatas and Partitas. A distinctive feature of Ysaÿe’s work is to have dedicated each of his pieces to violin virtuosos of his time. He even set to music the idiosyncrasies* of each one of these illustrious musicians. Hence we can see Joseph Szigeti, Jacques Thibaut, George Enescu, Fritz Kreisler, Mathieu Crickboom, and Manuel Quiroga take the stage in turn, as if they were brought back to life by the immense descriptive power of Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas.


*Idiosyncrasy: A particular way of being that is unique to each individual, leading them to have specific reactions and behaviors that are characteristic of them (definition from Larousse).

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Eugène Ysaÿe once declared that a violin master “[should] be a violinist, a thinker, a poet, a human being—he should have known the hope, the love, the passion and the despair, he should have had the whole range of emotions in order to express them while playing the violin.” This universal aspiration to experience the whole human emotional range lies within the pages of the Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27. To accomplish this aim, Ysaÿe uses whole-tone scales, advanced left hand techniques, dissonances, quarter tones; in short, the characteristic elements of early 2Oth-century music. In fact, he thought that “nowadays, the tools of violin mastery, in terms of expression, technique, méchanism [...] are indispensable, if the goal is to express oneself with no limit.” Be amazed, then, by the virtuosity of Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27: on, you will find some of the best interpretations of this work!