Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Ysaÿe

 
              I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my theme this year is classical music. Check out the list of other participants by clicking here! Y is for Ysaÿe. Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgium composer who lived from 1858 to 1931. Today’s featured video is the first movement from Eugène Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 2 for Solo Violin, played by Ilya Kaler.




   ·   Eugène Ysaÿe began violin lessons at the age of 5, but he was not a child prodigy. In fact, he was kicked out of the Royal Conservatory of Liège due to poor performance. He continued to perform in two orchestras, one conducted by his father, and practiced violin techniques on his own.
 


   ·   When Ysaÿe was age 12, the composer-violinist, Henri Vieuxtemps took notice of him and helped Ysaÿe get re-admitted to the conservatory to study under his assistant, Henryk Wieniawski.
 
   ·   Ysaÿe went on to become a prominent and incomparable violinist admired by many composers. Claude Debussy dedicated his String Quartet to Ysaÿe and César Franck wrote the Violin Sonata in A as a wedding present for Ysaÿe and his wife in 1886.
 
   ·   Ysaÿe began to suffer from a condition in his right arm known to violinists as “bow tremor,” which may have been connected to his struggles with diabetes. Due to this, his performing declined and he began focusing more on teaching and composing.
 
   ·   He was close friends with Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and after his death, she began an international violin competition in Brussels named in his memory. This became known as the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1951.
Eugène Ysaye a Liège
Bust of Ysaÿe in Boulevard
Piercot gardens of Liège
 

   ·   Ysaÿe did many violin arrangements for works of other composers, including, Frédéric Chopin, Camille Saint-Saëns, and some Paganini variations. In today’s piece, the movement is titled “Obsession” and an obsession with J. S. Bach is shown with frequent quotes directly from the Prelude to Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E major.
 
 
 
For this challenge, I’m keeping a playlist of the videos I’m using plus some extras for anyone who wants to hear more. I will update with the latest letter each day. The video I added today is Eugène Ysaÿe’s Berceuse, in F minor, for violin and orchestra, Op.20.
 

We've nearly made it! Only one letter to go! Whether you are a reader or a fellow participant, have you enjoyed the A to Z Challenge this year?


22 comments:

  1. That's too bad that his medical condition affected him from playing. On a more positive note, it's refreshing to hear about someone who was greatly talented who did not start out as a child prodigy but was a late bloomer.

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    1. Cynthia, it is encouraging to know that you don't have to start out perfect to succeed.

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  2. I have enjoyed the A to Z challenge, but I will be glad when it's done. I have so many other things that need my attention right now.

    Thanks for another interesting composer lesson. I'll have to find out more about bow tremor.

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    1. Tamara, I know what you mean, I have a lot of cleaning to do in my house now, among my other endless to do list items.

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  3. Interesting about bow tremor! Hadn't heard of that before.

    I have enjoyed the challenge and enjoyed learning a bit more about classical music :)

    betty

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    1. Betty, I'm glad you have enjoyed my theme :)

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  4. I have never heard of him so it was nice to find something new which I love. I have to play catch up

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    1. Birgit, I have spent most of this month playing catch up, lol :)

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  5. What a fascinating young man....with another difficult name:)

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    1. Yes Sandra, copy and paste has been my friend with all these letter symbols :)

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  6. Talk about perseverance! Poor performance at the age of five? I mean, really? They were pretty hard on their kindergartners back then!

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    1. Stephanie, I'm glad his father kept him involved with music, and it is surprising he continued to practice on his own. At least, someone came along to give him another chance.

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  7. Thank you for introducing me to a new composer. I'm not familiar with "bow tremor". I'll have to google it.

    You are a winner!
    Swing by my blog to see which book you've won!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Michelle, bow tremor appears to be a common element for violinists and archers, according to my quick search on the subject. And thanks for informing me of my winning, C. Lee's book is now on my Kindle :)

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  8. I do love the violin. I've enjoyed the challenge, meeting mew bloggers and I've truly loved the variety, but I won't be sad to see it go. Daily is a bit too much, I've too many other things on my plate.
    I've truly enjoyed your blog - so many talented musicians, their lives and influences so interesting - inspirational!

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    1. Thanks Yolanda! Daily is too much for me as well, I'm looking forward to a short blogging break after I put up my reflections post.

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  9. Just goes to show that one can achieve great things even if one has to struggle to get there.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. Liz, I agree, sometimes you just have to keep on trying!

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  10. zippity do dah- zowee! Very fun following you!

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    1. Thanks Kathe! I have enjoyed your pictures this month!

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