This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
A virtuoso's music usually dies with him, but Ysaye was of course more than that, being one of the greatest and most original of violinists. Prompted by a Szigeti performance of one of the unaccompanied Bach works, these six Sonatas were published in 1924 and hence count as late works, the composer's dates being 1858-1931. Ysaye did not write them for himself but for six young violinists, and he chose well, No. I being dedicated to Szigeti, No. 2 to Thibaud, No. 3 to Enescu, No. 4 to Kreisler.... The most Bach-like is No. I, and not just in its ingenious Fugato. Charles Castleman maintains admirable clarity here and amid the initial Grave's double and triple stops; in fact he masters completely these works' many and extremely varied
problems, not only of technique but also of interpretation. Ysaye was, indeed, very resourceful in setting himself, and hence his interpreters, different objectives in each movement of each work. Not for nothing did he speak of the violin as having both "a soul and a mind", for one senses in this music, so beautifully played and recorded here, a lifetime not only of playing but also of thinking about the instrument.
Perhaps this is most immediately apparent in Sonata No. 2, whose Prelude is an improvisation on the equivalent movement of Bach's E major Partita; this work also makes extensive use of the Dies irae, notably in a "Danse des ombres" which is a set of six variations in sarabande rhythm. A detailed commentary on each of these pieces would be possible, but enough may have been said to explain their fascination for violinists of sufficient accomplishment. One or other of them periodically appears on recital programmes, and Sonata No. 3 was always in the repertoire of David Oistrakh (Philips 6570 206, 12/81—nla). There have been other scattered recordings, even back in the days of 78s, for example by Efrem Zimbalist (Victor mono M669—not released in this country), but this, so far as I can trace, is the first integral set. It should have the attention of all who care for fine violin music and playing.
-- Gramophone [4/1983, reviewing the original LP release]
Works on This Recording
Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27 by Eugène Ysaÿe
Charles Castleman (Violin)
Written: by 1924; Belgium
Date of Recording: 10/1981
Venue: Kresge Studios, Rochester, NY
Length: 66 Minutes 45 Secs.
Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 27, No. 1: I. Grave
Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 27, No. 1: II. Fugato
Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 27, No. 1: III. Allegretto poco scherzoso
Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 27, No. 1: IV. Finale con brio
Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 27, No. 5: L'aurore
Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 27, No. 5: Danse rustique
Violin Sonata No. 6 in E major, Op. 27, No. 6
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 27, No. 2: I. Prelude, "Obsession"
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 27, No. 2: II. Malinconia
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 27, No. 2: III. Sarabande, "Danse des ombres"
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 27, No. 2: IV. Les furies
Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 27, No. 3, "Ballade": Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 27, No. 3, "Ballade"
Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 27, No. 4: I. Allemanda
Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 27, No. 4: II. Sarabande, "Danse des ombres"
Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 27, No. 4: III. Finale
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