Sunday, 17 June 2018


UK classical music magazine “the Strad” and insider website Slippedisc have reported the recent discovery of a previously unknown sonata by the late virtuoso violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe of Belgium.

According to the magazine, the exciting discovery was made by French violinist Philippe Graffin whilst researching papers at the library of the Brussels Conservatoire. Speaking with journalists, the musician explained how he believes the lost work wound up there:
"Josef Szigeti [the Hungarian violinist] once visited Ysaÿe in the Belgian resort town of Knokke...while there, he saw a green sketchbook of Ysaÿe’s that he described as “very precious” and containing many marvellous things. After Ysaÿe’s death, the sketchbook passed to Philip Newman, a British violinist, and then to French violinist Josette Lavergne, who left her collection to the Conservatoire here in Brussels."
Graffin further detailed his discovery, explaining his delight at stumbling across a “very elaborate first draft” containing a “very substantial” first movement, a second movement akin to a canzone, and a portion (two-thirds) of a third movement for a sonata, believed to have been composed by Ysaÿe sometime between the makings of the virtuoso’s fifth and sixth incredibly masterful sonatas, written in July 1923.

Ysaÿe's erudite Six sonatas for solo violin, Op. 27 were famously inspired by the composer having heard Szigeti perform J.S. Bach’s sonata for solo violin in G minor, which sparked in him a burning desire to incorporate into the instruments’ repertoire a sound representing the evolution of musical technique into the 20th century. Each of the six sonatas were dedicated to contemporary violinists admired by Eugène: Joseph Szigeti (No. 1), Jacques Thibaud (No. 2), George Enescu (No. 3), Fritz Kreisler (No. 4), Mathieu Crickboom (No. 5), and Manuel Quiroga (No. 6).

The latest discovery will be titled "Sonate posthume op.27 no.6bis." It is unknown if Ysaÿe intended a dedication for the piece.

A brief educational film, including a performance of the recent premiere in Brussels of the Sonata by Graffin is expected to be released later this year.

A manuscript for the Posthumous Sonata is now available on the Brussels Conservatoire website.

Listen below to the Sonata No. 3, D minor, "Georges Enescu" by Eugène Ysaÿe. Maxim Vengerov performs.

- Rose.


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    glad to share my knowledge here with friends.

    1. Hello Anonymous,

      Thank you for your thoughtful post and for the share! This was certainly very exciting news!

      Kind Regards,