Ysaÿe – Les six sonates pour violon seul, op 27

Belgium composer Eugène Ysaÿe most famous work. Ysaÿe started composing rather late in his life. The King of the Violin was born in 1858 in Liège. He rose to fame as a violinist, with a virtuosity comparable to Paganini. The Ysaÿe family were highly musical, there even was a legend on how the first violin came into the family.

The legend tells about a boy the played the viol, an earlier, more crude version of the violin. The boy was good at playing the viol, but always wanted more. He heard about a new Italian instrument from a wandering stranger, and wanted to have it. He even started to neglect the viol: it was not good enough. Then one night, he was dreaming of a woman of incredible beauty. He woke up to find this new violin hanging on the wall, in place of his old viol. It was looking just as beautiful as the woman in his dream.

As he got older, the playing of the violin was physically too taxing, and Ysaÿe started to teach more, to conduct and to compose. He also married his 44 years younger pupil, but let’s put that aside.

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