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.
Video link: https://youtu.be/Yrtjq1ASpk4
· 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.
· 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.