Ysaye: Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27; Poème élégiaque; Rêve d’enfant

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COMPOSERS: Ysaye
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27; Poème élégiaque; Rêve d’enfant
PERFORMER: Philippe Graffin (violin)Pascal Devoyon (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66940

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Within 24 hours of hearing the violinist Joseph Szigeti playing Bach, Ysaÿe had made sketches for his own six solo Violin Sonatas, which constitute his single most substantial and remarkable work, drawing together influences as diverse as Gregorian chant, Spanish and Walloon folk music, French impressionism and, of course, Bach himself. These are virtuoso showpieces, but, as Philippe Graffin demonstrates, there is much in them that is yielding and gentle, such as the stately Sarabandes fromthe Second and Fourth Sonatas (the latter is dedicated to Fritz Kreisler) and the radiant evocation of dawn in the Fifth Sonata. Graffin adroitly negotiates these technical and expressive demands, and if there is an occasional lapse in clarity, it is compensated for by a compelling vitality.

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William Humphreys-Jones