Fiddler’s Blues: Ysaÿe • Ravel • Debussy • Enescu

Fiddler’s Blues: Ysaÿe • Ravel • Debussy • Enescu

Release Date:

1st February 2019

Cat No:



£12.99 (1CD | 20 page booklet)



“This duo’s rapport comes across in sparky performances. Premieres of pieces by Ysaÿe are a draw, but the Enescu sonata and Hora Unirii are a real treat and leave you feeling anything but blue.” ★★★★ – BBC Music Magazine

“The big story here is the first recording of a previously undiscovered seventh unaccompanied violin sonata by Eugène Ysaÿe…Played with flourishing panache and easy command, it makes an electrifying opening to this deceptively titled recital: essentially a survey of the early 20th-century Parisian scene…There’s a real feeling of dialogue.” – Gramophone


Philippe Graffin’s virtuosity combined with his skills as a sleuth have led to the world-premiere recording of a “Posthumous” solo violin sonata by Eugène Ysaÿe, an astonishing discovery that extends the Belgian composer’s canon of his essential six sonatas for the medium. Philippe unearthed the nearly-completed manuscript in the library of the Brussels Conservatoire, and polished off the final movement in the most Ysaÿe-esque manner possible.

Philippe’s penchant for intuitive programming is brought to bear on Fiddler’s Blues, combining two Ysaÿe works – including another premiere, the Petite fantasie romantique – with a pair of folksy, Bohemian-flavoured works by George Enescu, another virtuoso violinist / composer who emigrated from his native Romania and like Ysaÿe settled in Paris. Enescu was a classmate of Maurice Ravel whose Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Faure is an affectionate nod to their teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, whilst his azure-tinged Violin Sonata influences the album’s title. Ravel’s slightly older contemporary Claude Debussy befriended Ysaÿe. Whereas Ysaÿe soared writing works for solo violin, Debussy wrote none. Suggesting how such a work may have sounded, Philippe contributes his own arrangement for solo violin, made together with David Matthews, of Debussy’s enduring piano piece Claire de lune.


EUGENE YSAYE (1858–1931)
Sonate posthume pour violon seul, Op. 27 bis (9.18) *
1. I. Allegro molto moderato ma con brio (3.39)
2. II. Canzona: Lento e mesto (3.30)
3. III. Finale: Giocoso (2.08)

MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in G major (17.09)
4. I. Allegretto (7.44)
5. II. Blues: Moderato (5.26)
6. III. Perpetuum mobile: Allegro (3.58)

7. Claire de lune (5.04) *
transcribed for solo violin by David Matthews and Philippe Graffin; dedicated to Eugène Ysaÿe

8. Petite Fantasie romantique (4.59) *

GEORGE ENESCU (1881–1955)
Violin Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 25 (26.08)
‘Dans le caractère populaire roumain’
9. I. Moderato malinconico (9.20)
10. II. Andantino sostenuto e misterioso (8.25)
11. III. Allegro con brio, ma non troppo mosso (8.23)

MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937)
12. Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré (2.43)

13. Hora Unirii (1:52)

Total Duration: 68.15

* world-premiere recordings

Recording: 14, 23 & 24 September 2018, Klaus von Bismarck Saal, WDR Funkhaus, , Cologne, Germany
Recording producer: Kaling Hanke | Executive producer: Michael Breugst

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