Sonata for Solo Cello in C Minor, Op. 28

Composer: Eugène Ysaÿe (b. 1858 - d. 1931)
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Composer: Eugène Ysaÿe (b. 1858 - d. 1931)

Performance date: 30/06/2017

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1923

Duration: 00:12:59

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc

Instrumentation Category:Solo

Artists: Camille Thomas - [cello]

contrast to the six violin sonatas, those monumental musical
portraits of his younger contemporaries, Ysaÿe’s only solo cello
sonata seems an introverted work, a short and tentative sketching out
of possibilities that is all too brief. Yet despite the works
solitary status and concision, it demonstrates an intimate knowledge
of the instrument derived from Ysaÿe’s close relationship to the
cellist Pablo Casals with whom he often played chamber music at his
home on the banks of the river Meuse,
local inhabitants and passing motorists would crowd the garden to
listen in the gathering darkness
The finger and bowing markings in the original manuscript were
devised by Ysaÿe himself, indicating a deep familiarity with the
workings of the cello. He admirably overcame his conviction that
write for an instrument I did not play myself seemed impossible,
writing that
after Casals
initiated me into some of the secrets of the instrument I decided to
put my knowledge to the test.
manuscript itself is dated to the summer of 1923 and dedicated to
Maurice Dambois, the cellist of the Ysaÿe string quartet.

first movement is played
e sempre sostinuto,
and always sustained, the opening melody languidly and delicately
drifting through gradual and subtle shifts of tempo and volume. A
softly animated crescendo disturbs the sense of contemplative stasis,
yet passages of quiet flurrying are played
and the marking
repeatedly appears, calling on the player to yield, to step back from
excitement and sink back into more sombre sentiments until the
movement fades into silence with beautifully sustained bowing
accompanied by left hand pizzicato.

combines the levity of a baroque dance with a quiet introversion,
rarely rising in volume. A rhythmic melody accompanied by droning
strings is marked as a
a French dance form of
the 17
and 18
centuries named after a bagpipe from Normandy, also incorporated into
Bach’s E major Partita for solo violin.

Recitativo is
a transient vignette, a momentary swelling of emotion that passes
almost before it can be acknowledged. The Finale is played with
vigour and
a firm tempo, its open jaggedly accented phrases leading into rapid
passages that sweep the strings in broad strokes. A contrasting
section provides some fleeting repose, recalling the contemplative
sentiments of the opening movement, before a turning to the dramatic
rhythmic chords that usher in the energetic conclusion.