Eugene Ysaye

June 23, 2005 at 03:29 AM · I have been enjoying listening to Eugene Ysaye play the violin from that CD of old violinists, and i must say he was incredible!!!! His tone and techinque had so much power and emotion that it was scary! Was Ysaye from the late 19th-century? What was his most popular concert? I've ordered a CD of just him playing the violin from amazon, and i can't wait to get it!!! What do you think about Ysaye?

Replies (28)

June 23, 2005 at 05:18 AM · I was at a thing in May where I heard Ysaye playing Mendelssohn with piano accompaniment... at the end of the concerto, Ysaye had to speed up because they were running out of wax... he got too fast for the accompanist and the pianist messed up two chords quite noticeably at the end.

June 23, 2005 at 02:40 PM · According to the liner notes in The Recorded Violin pt 2 (great cd!), Ysaye was born in 1858, so he was very 19th century, though he lived well into the 20th. A huge influence on the 20th century as well, though. I have several recordings of his playing and they are excellent. I have heard it said that he pioneered the modern use of vibrato (though I've also heard it ascribed to Kriesler).

June 23, 2005 at 04:44 PM · I'm so glad somone has made this thread because i'm going through such an ysaye phase. i've recently purchesed the "art of violin" dvd and it has a brief segmant of him. A bit of footage, without audio. Also some audio without footage. Somthing just instantly drew me to him and his music. I love his name as wel!! My childs middle name is sooooo gonna be Ysaye. It's difficult to come across his music in retail places but as soon as i come back from overseas i'm scouting the institute of musics selection for some of his works!

June 23, 2005 at 05:15 PM · Three of his students: Milstein, Gingold and Persinger had very different styles from one another, but they had in common: gorgeous quality of tone, a caressing, sensitive touch of the bow and perfect, honey-pouring legato. In his teaching Ysaye was very strict regarding the techniques of producing legato. When I hear Milstein's perfect legato in recordings such as Prokofiev D Major Concerto and Goldmark Concerto, I'm reminded of Ysaye's perfect legato in the rapid scale passages of Ysaye recordings.

June 23, 2005 at 06:01 PM · Milstein says in the video "A Quiet Magician" that he didn't learn anything while "studying" with him but he was a very interesting character.

June 23, 2005 at 06:06 PM · Oh cool! That means Ysaye is my great grand teacher through Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse via Persinger. ;)


June 23, 2005 at 07:15 PM · Enosh,

In my lessons with him, Milstein frequently spoke of being inspired by Ysaye's playing. Perhaps he did his learning more through hearing Ysaye concerts than through his Ysaye lessons, but learn from him he did.

June 23, 2005 at 07:35 PM · Does anyone have the Thomas Zehetmair recording of Ysaye's 6 sonatas? There is a gorgeous introduction about how he composed his sonatas.

I was deeply impressed about Ysaye's theory about a note's "destiny", aim. He believed that, in a created musical context, there is only one way for playing a note, as intensity, timbre, and intonation (he used the expressif effect of untempered intonation in a marvelous knowledge and art) determined by the artist's own ideal. He reached down for the barieres between an artist's soul and his practical performance, how a performer can find the way to his musical ideal and accomplish it in it's playing.

We are lucky that we've still got some recordings of him, even if he was from a legend generation. I adore his Mendelssohn 3rd movement recording and the other little pieces on the disc. He has an exceptional power of reaching the essence of the musical content and comunicate the message to whoever hears him. I can only dream about how could have been to hear him live in a concert hall.

I have a question. Does anybody know about a transcription of Chopin's first ballad made by Ysaye and how can I find a score or a recording?

June 24, 2005 at 03:13 PM · I was very fortunate to have studied with Jascha Brodsky, who studied with Ysaye. He had many stories about Le Maitre, not just about his personality but also his magnificent violin playing. With him I studied, among other things, the pieces he studied with Ysaye like the Chausson Poeme, Vieuxtemps 5, the 6 Ysaye sonatas, etc.

June 25, 2005 at 03:03 AM · The 2nd movement of his 5th sonata is insane.

June 25, 2005 at 05:11 AM · Thanks for the responses! Is there a biography about Ysaye? What did the critic bernard shaw think about him? Was Ysaye's personality ever been attacked like Paganini?

June 25, 2005 at 05:55 AM · There is a biography of Ysaye written by his son, Antoine. It is a great book, but it's very hard to find a copy, I believe.

June 25, 2005 at 08:48 AM · You can buy it on


June 25, 2005 at 12:53 PM · Yes, and there is a seperate thread on him, please go there.

June 25, 2005 at 01:01 PM · And no caps please...

June 25, 2005 at 05:53 PM · I have never heard any violin music played by Ysaye. :( I would like to, though...

But I have heard violin music composed by Ysaye, primarily his 3rd ballade because that's what everybody seems to be playing these days.

I must say, his compositions are quite ingenius and very violinistically written. At first, it might sound, like, ugly... because it's really atonal. But it's pure utter genius. I love it.

Luke, ahahaha your child's middle name is going to be Ysaye. HAHA! I want to name my dog Ysaye. Wouldn't that be cute? :)

June 26, 2005 at 01:18 PM · Well i want the first name as Kasper. The little boy from 'The Red Violin'. I thought it was cute how he hugged the violin in his sleep.

June 26, 2005 at 07:05 PM · there is a ysaye book by ginsburg, paganiniana publishing, its out of print but not too hard to get, he also did books on tartini and vieuxtemps I think

June 30, 2005 at 11:17 PM · I LOVE HIS SONATAS THAT HE WROTE!!!!

July 11, 2005 at 06:57 PM · Francis: Wieniawski, according to Kreisler, also

had what we would call today, a 'modern vibrato'.

Kreisler's teacher, Lambert Massart, at the Paris conservatoire, communicated that to him. Wieniawski and Ysaye (a friend of the younger Kreisler) were pretty much contemporaries.

July 12, 2005 at 12:23 AM · Hello,

Actually, Ysaÿe was a student of Wieniawski. Ysaÿe studied with him for a year in Brussels, while Vieuxtemps was on leave due to illness.


July 14, 2005 at 11:11 AM · Cornelia-i have Zhetemair`s cd with all Ysaye realy good...i don`t always agree with the style but is very very good. i`m going now to his masterclass in Weimar...i won a scholarship:)i also have recordings with Ysaye playing Mendelssohn`s impressing!

July 17, 2005 at 10:20 AM · I'd completely forgotten Ysaye was born such a long time ago (1858) ... his playing sounds much more modern, with a constant vibrato and a "beautiful" sound. Huberman, Szigeti and Kubelik (born more than 20 years after Ysaye) sound much more "19th century" ... which I would characterize as a more varied sound and vibrato, and emphasis more on phrasing rather than mere beauty of tone.

BTW, the Sony CD of Ysaye has excellent transfers of his recordings.

August 4, 2005 at 10:47 AM · Dear friends and colleagues, please notice that it is very strange that in the internet and even in different encyclopedias it is impossible to find FULL a list of YSAYE. Only five-six op numbers and that’s it! Also no information about where the autographs are. Mystery :-)

Does anyone know where/how to get the full list of works by YSAYE and whom to contact to get the copies of his non-published works?

August 4, 2005 at 11:58 AM · Hi,

The complete list of published works is in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. There used to be an Ysaÿe Foundation in Belgium, but I am not sure if they still exist or not. They were in charge of manuscripts, and other matters, including publishing some of the material about Ysaÿe. You can try to find them. I have never succeeded on the internet. Perhaps through other means.


August 4, 2005 at 01:40 PM · Clint and I are drawing up a list of all Ysaye works that are still available, click either my name or Clint's name and send us your email address, we can pass you the list. I have to say it may not be a complete one, yet.

August 5, 2005 at 06:00 AM · I finally bought a biography of Ysaye by Antoine Ysaye, and it seems to shed some light on his life! Also, i never recieved that sony CD of complete recordings of Ysaye. So, i found another CD from amazon, and it also has the complete recordings of Ysaye! It's from symposium records. They shipped it today and now i can listen to more Ysaye!!!!

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