TAS Rated 5/5 Music, 5/5 Sonics in the October 2023 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
The three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn presents her 2023 recording of Eugène Ysaÿe's Six Sonatas for Violin Solo, op. 27. Inspired by the example set by J.S. Bach two centuries earlier, legendary Belgian violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe wrote the first work in what turned out to be a six-sonata cycle in June 1923. One hundred years later, Hilary Hahn "one of the essential violinists of our time" (The New York Times), has recorded the set on her own wave of inspiration – driven by the impetus of the upcoming centenary to realize one of her dream projects.
"I marvel at my good luck to have inherited Ysaÿe's artistic legacy," says Hahn. "Twenty years ago these pieces felt abstract, like they held secrets I would never be privy to. Now, the Ysaÿe sonatas feel natural to me, as if I've somehow grown into them."
Widely regarded as one of the first modern violinists, Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) created technical and artistic standards for his instrument that still stand as benchmarks today. Luminaries such as Franck, Debussy, and Chausson all composed major works for him. In the final decade of his life, Ysaÿe concentrated more on composing. He began writing the violin sonatas after hearing Hungarian virtuoso Joseph Szigeti perform Bach's partitas and sonatas for solo violin.
Ysaÿe dedicated his sonatas to Szigeti, Jacques Thibaud, Fritz Kreisler, and George Enescu, among other outstanding performers of the younger generation. Like Bach, he exploits the violin's ability to perform more than one sound at once and play complex polyphonic lines and chords. And, like Bach's partitas and sonatas, his six works are today established among the supreme tests of a violinist's technique and artistry.
Summing up their significance, Hilary Hahn describes them as "iconic, generation-defining, and a beautiful celebration of the instrument."
...these are thrilling performances that step out onto the knife's edge and never retreat....here is a violin recording that has the commanding power of the violin's golden age of a century ago.
All are filled with rich and incredibly challenging writing, especially the flamboyant one-movement Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, subtitled Ballade. Hahn sees the whole landscape of these works--not just the grand line in each individual piece, but how the six fit together, just like Bach's great six. Her approach is singing, soaring, spiritual, with a light touch in the passage work, beautiful tone, and breathtakingly good intonation in multi-stops. Recorded at the WGBH studio in Boston, the sound is superb. Truly a disc to be cherished.
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Gatefold Jacket
- Made in Germany
Eugène Ysaÿe (1858–1931)
LP 1 - Side A:
Sonata No. 1 in G minor – à Joseph Szigeti
- I. Grave. Lento assai
- II. Fugato. Molto moderato
- III. Allegretto poco scherzoso. Amabile – poco animato
- IV. Finale con brio. Allegro fermo
LP 1 - Side B:
Sonata No. 2 in A minor – à Jacques Thibaud
- I. Obsession. Prélude. Poco vivace – Meno mosso – Tempo vivo
- II. Malinconia. Poco lento
- III. Danse des ombres. Sarabande (lento) – Var. 1 – Var. 2 (Musette) – Var. 3 Minore – Var. 4 – Var. 5 – Var. 6
- IV. Les furies. Allegro furioso
LP 2 - Side A:
Sonata No. 3 in D minor "Ballade" – à George Enescu
- Ballade. Lento molto sostenuto – Molto moderato quasi lento – Allegro in tempo giusto e con bravura – Poco meno - a Tempo I – Tempo poco più vivo e ben marcato – Più mosso
Sonata No. 4 in E minor – à Fritz Kreisler
- I. Allemanda. Lento maestoso
- II. Sarabande. Quasi lento
- III. Finale. Presto ma non troppo – Giocosamente e meno mosso – Tempo I – Più animato ma poco
LP 2 - Side B:
Sonata No. 5 in G major – à Mathieu Crickboom
- I. L'Aurore. Lento assai
- II. Danse rustique. Allegro giocoso molto moderato – Moderato amabile – Tempo I – Poco più mosso
Sonata No. 6 in E major – à Manuel Quiroga
- Allegro giusto non troppo vivo – Allegretto poco scherzando – Allegro Tempo I