More on Ysaÿe…

After finishing about sixty transcription works for violin and harp I started to work on my old beloved Ysaÿe projects. To make nice sheet music of an early violin concerto and the cadenza to the Tchaikovsky violin concerto wasn’t very difficult, his manuscripts were nicely legible and easy to work with.

I thought, well, this isn’t enough for me, I would like to get more of his music out and I had a look at his Poeme’s. All, old editions, around 100 years, not very nice, and not free from quite a number of misprints, even some really wrong notes. Also, because I would love to play them, I wanted to have a nice copy, good legible, with good page turns and generally, a nice print. 

Well, good old Finale (software) with its’ many bugs still but basically nice layout and style, I am quite familiar with it since many years, so putting music into the computer isn’t very difficult for me. I did the work of five Poeme’s in about three months, inclusive all the corrections and final layout.

I must say, learning them while the writing process was also a wonderful experience, getting some very special fingerings and also often a bit unusual bowings. I had a chance also to try all of them with piano, on my way back to London from a concert in Montenegro, in Vienna, where I have a lovely pianist partner.

I wish, more and more violinist colleagues would discover these wonderful music, to enhance their small Ysaÿe repertoire with his Poemes!

After finishing all the five Poemes I made a kind of inventory. I still have an old folder on my computer with all the manuscripts and other Ysaÿe music from over twenty years. Only one subfolder had something I never looked at because this folder had the title of “Songs”. But I thought, well, I should open it at least once, maybe I could use even a song, you never know. 

Yes, there are songs in this folder but there is also something I never thought it would exist: another chamber music work, a string trio! 

Many years ago, when I started to gain interest on Ysaÿe’s music, my very first project was the trio Le Chimay. Already with the software Finale, I had a really difficult time to even just put the notes into the computer and because the manuscript was not very nice and I had only the parts without score, it was a long process of editing. I am not sure after how long time, we actually played this trio in a concert in Canada, but quite honestly I was a bit disappointed. Knowing his music only from the violin solo sonatas, it was somehow different. I couldn’t tell why, there were many spots I just couldn’t feel, explain the flow, harmony, modulation, or just a single note. Actually, after this piece I stopped working on his music for many years.

But since I already had all the editing done, I made a nice, those days high quality laser printout on quality paper and sent, still to the existing publisher, Belgian Schott Music. I received a short answer that because of too little interest, they would not publish this trio. 

After my other published trio, La Londres (of course Ysaÿe) also with Schott Music, I coincidently run into this Le Chimay trio on the Schott site and to my surprise I found my name on it! There is another edition available at another publisher also, basically the same, I think.

Now, I have just finished the second trio, working on the last corrections, it was not an easy work either. His manuscript is full of corrections, this time I have only score, so I cannot check in parts, but it seems to me that he was correcting mainly in the score anyway. Some times a correction takes hours, and then days after I discover the right way to do it because suddenly it sounds like Ysaÿe. It is a really exciting work!

Having lately more experience with Ysaÿe’s music, I was considering more and more to make some new changes to the trio Le Chimay. I did consider because I cannot believe that all those spots I always disliked in this otherwise great music, are real. I thought, I can at least to try to see if I can make it work with my own ideas. However, I had a discovery just before starting to work on it. A score! And this score has all the corrections written by Ysaÿe! After trying to change couple of them, it was right the way wonderful sounding, sounding like real Ysaÿe.

I am working now on this trio and promise to have it ready in shortest time!