Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) was a Belgian violinist, conductor and composer. Carl Flesch described him has “the most outstanding and individual violinist I have ever heard in my life.” Franck’s Violin Sonata, Chausson’s Poem and violin concerto, and Debussy’s string quartets were all dedicated to Ysaÿe.
Ysaÿe wrote six sonatas for solo violin, each dedicated to a noted violinist. The fourth sonata was dedicated to Fritz Kreisler.
In a completely unrelated anecdote:
At the end of a dinner he was attending by a lady in Liege, Eugene Ysaye was asked to listen to a young violinist. Although he felt tired and was longing to go back home he could but accept his hostess’ request. The young man played several pieces from his repertoire. Then, after a long while, everybody was waiting for the maestro’s sentence. “What do you think of his execution?” asked the delicious hostess to Ysaye. “Oh, dear Madam, I must confess that he reminds me Paderewsky.” “But Maestro, Paderewsky doesn’t play the violin!!!” “Well Madam, neither does he.”
© Greg Smith, 2009