Ysaye Sonata 2 mis-print help

July 23, 2019, 11:20 PM · I am specifically asking about the passage circled in the picture below.


It is written that there is a B-sharp accidental on the 3rd chord of the passage. This passage of notes is used multiple times throughout the piece, but always as a minor 3rd from G-sharp to B-natural. My teacher seemed surprised it existed as well, as she had learned it as B-natural in this passage.

The recordings by Kavakos, Hilary Hahn (only on Youtube though, one day we can dream she will make an Ysaye 6 Sonatas recording), Ilya Kaler, Shlomo Mintz (btw, can anyone with Spotify give this a listen? The recording has this really weird rattle, almost like he is wearing jewelry or something), and someone named Tai Murray (who I'm not too familiar with) all play B-natural.

The only one that seems to play it as a B-sharp is my teacher's favorite recording by Shumsky (although of all the recordings I checked, he plays fastest and loosest with the written notes/rhythms).

Does anyone have any insight here as to what it "should" be? Is it a pedagogical thing? I have heard that the publishing of these Sonatas was super inconsistent throughout the ages, and some teachers/pedagogues may have learned on different editions, but maybe I'm just making stuff up. My teacher doesn't seem to have a strong opinion one way or another on which notes I should play here.

On a related note, I'm really starting to hate this piece on the difficulty of the 4th movement alone.

Replies (3)

July 24, 2019, 6:20 AM · Hi,

To answer your question, it is a B-natural. The sonatas were written quickly, and during the original publication, which was also done quickly, there were a number of mistakes done. Some editions have attempted to correct them, but it isn't obvious.

Joseph Gingold had a score of the sonatas corrected by Ysaÿe. The recording by Yuval Yaron is based on this. Unfortunately, no edition was ever done from this score and it vanished at Mr. Gingold's death. One of the great examples that I learnt from this is that in the slow movement of the Fourth sonata, you are supposed to play the ostinato twice before the movement starts.

Shumsky's recording was the first of the complete Ysaÿe sonatas to my knowledge, long before any others were made.

Hopefully, this answer your question.


July 24, 2019, 9:21 AM · It wouldn't be the first inconsistency in the Ysaye sonatas. I've found others.

Look at the bar: What key or scale is it? A minor. So harmonically, a B# doesn't really make sense to me anyway.

August 2, 2019, 9:29 AM · Strangely, I have heard that passage with B#...and when I was learning this sonata, I played it as both B# and natural (and it went unnoticed). There are many inconsistencies across editions and performances (the famous D# in Ysaye 6 varies everywhere...)

I'm about 98% sure it's supposed to be B-natural, however.

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