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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

March , 2020
My Beloved Ysaÿe

Finally, in March, there will be the concert commemorating my 45th debut anniversary, “Complete Ysaÿe: Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas”.
However unfortunately, the concerts at Philia Hall of Yokohama-city, and Kyoto Concert Hall are postponed due to the Coronavirus effect.

Ysaÿe’s name may not be so familiar in general. People might feel the need to prepare before listening. But Ysaÿe is the one I can’t help loving.
Performing the six Unaccompanied Sonatas in a concert means that there will be no piano nor a music stand on the stage. I will be standing alone, on a plain stage. That makes me lonely these days and so I decided to have a stand to put my handkerchief on.
The piece incorporates philosophical inner expression with virtuoso technique.

Why did I get to love Ysaÿe so much?

In my twenties, I experienced so many difficulties and was frustrated and was in pain and could not get over it. I had become unable to perform Bach’s Unaccompanied Sonatas in front of others. Not even a single note. When I was suffering from the fact that I may not be able to play my favourite Bach ever again, Ysaÿe appeared in front of me. Somehow, Ysaÿe’s sheet music captured my eyes.
When I played it in my private room, the profound music of Ysaÿe came directly deep into my heart. I played and played, continuously. I played for myself.
Ysaÿe’s deeply human despair, strongly cried out sadness and his murmur of despair. I got myself attached and inseparable from all of that.
Thus, I started to play the complete Unaccompanied Sonatas in my recitals and by doing so I was gradually, able to play Bach in front of the others again. So, both the Ysaÿe and Bach’s Unaccompanied Sonatas are indispensable in my life.

I had made a promise to myself to do both “Complete Ysaÿe: Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas Recital” and “Complete Bach: Unaccompanied Sonatas Recital”, every 5 years, since my 20th debut anniversary.
Ysaÿe is a Belgian composer. He was also a violinist himself who admired Bach. It is said that after hearing Bach’s Unaccompanied concert, he wrote the sketch of his own Unaccompanied Sonatas at once, inspired by Bach’s artistry.
It is wonderful that each piece of the six sonatas are dedicated to the great violinists of his time. Each of them is unique and different in character, which makes it so interesting.
Very recently, there was an “Unfinished Sonata” found, different from the six existing sonatas.

It is a Sonata in 3 movements but the 3rd movement is unfinished.
I played it.
Did this piece trouble Ysaÿe? It may have, but his delicate characteristics are also present.
I urgently recorded it on CD and the brand new CD will be released in March!
Why did Ysaÿe not include this in his Complete Sonatas? Why did he leave it unfinished?
Or did he had to stop for some reason? (due to illness for example)
It provokes various speculations. What would your guess be?

 (3/3 update)


Due to the announcement of the postponement of the performance, some wording has been revised and added.