The Six Sonatas for solo violin, Op 27 constitute the violinistic testament of Ysaÿe. Each of the sonatas is amicably dedicated to a violinist of the younger generation. They were composed with the personality of each dedicatee in mind, but maintain an overall unity of style. Ysaÿe sketched them in twenty-four hours following a recital by Joseph Szigeti, to whom the first sonata is dedicated. Ysaÿe was impressed by the way Szigeti played Bach, and Szigeti saw in the Op 27 ‘an attempt, probably subconscious, from Ysaÿe to interpret this music’. Indeed, I believe that these sonatas are impregnated with Ysaÿe’s own interpretation of Bach’s sonatas as much as with the masterworks themselves.
The first sonata adopts the Bach sonata form: four movements with a fugue, a form that Bartók, a close friend of Szigeti, would take on later in his sonata for solo violin.
from notes by Philippe Graffin © 1997