The National Origins of the Creative Work of Eugene Ysaye and the Influence of Belgian Artists in the Formation of a Distinct Performing and Composing Style

  • Kateryna Nazarenko Postgraduate Student, Lviv National Music Academy named after Mykola Lysenko, Lviv (Ukraine).
Keywords: Eugene Ysaÿe, Belgian national culture, folklorisme, Cesar Frank, traditions of professional music, Wallonie opera, Belgian violin school.


The article examines the work of a prominent Belgian violinist and composer, E. Ysaÿe, as a representative of Belgian national culture in several different aspects: the incorporation of folklore in his music, his expertise of the Belgian violin school, his life as a follower of C. Franсk, and his role in the wide field of Belgium's artistic and cultural traditions.
Folklore is manifested through modal combinations, biphonic and polyphonic layers, the use of parallelisms, in which the author unites anhemitonic and chromatic scales, tone-splitting, etc. E. Ysaye, demonstrates ethnic intensity in ―Village Dance‖, ―Aurora‖ from Sonata No. 5, the Finale from Sonata No. 1 , Mazurkas, Sonatas for 2 solo violins, the symphonic work "Nostalgia", and the opera "Pierre Rudocop". Сomposer is inspired by folk techniques, methods of sound production, types of bowings, rubato, and the use of primitive forms of polyphony- bourdon and ostinato, which are presented in a striking variety by Ysaÿe. Тhe enthusiasm for playing violin folk music, obviously contributed to the creation of a new modern school of violin technique in the twentieth century.
In the traditions of Belgian professional music, nationalism manifested itself in the revival of choral music, re-examining the polyphonic techniques of ancient masters (under the influence of C. Franck), in particular, the Franco-Flemish school and Belgian organ school use canonic-imitation, allusions of linear thinking, and medieval mensural notation (2nd movement of Sonata No. 2). The artist also contributed to the growth of Belgian music in the Wallonie culture, of which the famous representative, C. Franck, was born, and his devoted student, E. Ysaÿe, became the author of the only opera in the Wallonie language, "Pierre-Rudokop". Interesting and fruitful are E. Ysaÿe’s connections with the Belgian symbolists M. Metterlink and E. Verharn, evident through the lyrics of the poetic cycle in the ―London‖ trio.
In the realm of violin performance - as the direct follower and disciple of the prominent violinist H.Vieuxtemps. Recently discovered violin concertos of the composer, the first of which is dedicated to H.Vieuxtemps, as well as other original works, and grandiose performances, attest to Eugene Ysaÿe’s striking representation of the Belgian national culture.


1. Alieva, Z. (2017). Shest sonat dlya skripki solo E`. Izai v kontekste evolyuczii skripichnogo ispolnitelstva XX veka. Kultura i iskusstvo. № 7. С.87-96. URL: [in Russian].
2. Ginzburg, L. (1959) Ezhen Izai. Moskva: Muzgiz. 200 s. [in Russian].
3. Izai, E. (1978). Vіetan — moj uchitel. Muzykalnoe ispolnitelstvo. Moskva, Vyp.8. S. 213-23 [in Russian].
4. Kombarіe, Zh. (1963). Czezar Frank // Franczuzskaya muzyka vtoroj poloviny` ХІХ veka. Sb. perevodnikh rabot Zh.Tierso, M.Kombarіe, Ye.Istelya i dr. Pod red. M.Druskina. Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel`stvo ―Iskusstvo‖. 327 s. [in Russian].
5. Mnaczakanyan, G. (2013). O kompozitorskom tvorchestve Ezhena Izai: opyt postanovki voprosa. Muzy`kovedenie. №1. S. 14 [in Russian].
6. Nesterov, S. (2009). Puti razvitiya sonaty` dlya skripki solo v kontekste stilevykh, zhanrovykh i ispolnitelskikh iskanij muzyki XX veka. Avtoreferat dissertaczii … kandidata iskusstvovedeniya. Rostov-na-Donu. 20 s. [in Russian].
7. Raaben, L. (1967). Ezhen Izai // Zhizn zamechatelnykh skripachej. Biograficheskie ocherki. Moskva-Leningrad: ―Muzyka‖. S.87-99. [in Russian].
8. Rogozhina, N. (1969). Sezar Frank. Moskva: ―Sovetskij kompozitor‖. 267 s. [un Russia].
9. Rollan, R. (1935). Obnovlenie. Ocherk muzykalnogo razvitiya Parizha, nachinaya s 1870 goda. Polnoe sobranie sochinenij. Leningrad. T.16. 273 s. [in Russian].
10. Feldgun, G. (1983). Istoriya zarubezhnogo skripichnogo iskusstva. Novosibirsk. 347 s. [in Russian].
11. Flesh, K. (1960). Portrety` muzykantov. Sovetskaya muzyka. Moskva. S. 57-59. № 12. [in Russian].
12. Yampolskij, I. (1958). Belgijskaya muzyka. Muzykalnaya encziklopediya v 6-ti tomah. Red. Yu. Keldysh. Moskva: Izdatelstvo ―Sovetskaya encziklopediya‖. Tom 1. S. 394-400. [in Russian].
13. Yampolskij, I. (1958). Ezhen Izai. M.: Sovetskaya muzika. 135 s. [in Russian].
14. Hoaston, K. (1999). Culmination of the Belgian Violin Tradition—The Innovative Style of Eugene Ysaÿe. Dissertation: D.M.A. University of California, Los Angeles. 210 р. [in English].
15. Maxime-Benoît, J. (1989). Eugène Ysaye: Le dernier romantique ou Le sacre du violon. Bruxelles: Le Cri. 292 p. [in French].
16. Reiss, J. (1952). Skrzypce i skrzypkowie. Kraków: PWM. 304 s. [in Polish].
17. Ratcliffee, B., Ysaye, A. (1967). Ysaye. His Life, Work and Influence. Preface by Jehudi Menuhin. London: Oxford University Press. 250 р. [in English].
18. Stockhem, M. (1972). Eugène Ysaÿe et la musique de chambre, Liège: Pierre Mardaga. 215 р. [in French].
19. Quitin, J. (1979). Eugène Ysaÿe, étude biographique et critique, Genève, Bosworth. 210 р. [in French].
20. Quitin, J. (1990). Un nouveau livre de Michel Stockhem: Eugène Ysaÿe et la musique de chambre, paru aux éditions Pierre Mardaga, Liège. Bulletin de la Société liégeoise de Musicologie. 70, juillet. P. 32-34. [in French].
21. Schwarz, B. (1983). Great Masters of the Violin. New York: Simon and Schuster. 671 p. [in English].
22. Tranchefort, F.-R. (1998). Guide de la Musique de Chambre. Paris, Fayard, coll. «Les indispensables de la musique». 995 p. [in French].
23. Ysaye, A. (1942). Cesar Frank et son Epoque. Bruxelles, 1942, 107 р. [in French].
24. Willems, M. (2006). Le livret de "Piére li houyeü" d'Eugène Ysaÿe. Bulletin de la société de langue et ittérature wallonnes, No. 3, P. 16-20. URL: [in French].
How to Cite
Nazarenko, K. (2019). The National Origins of the Creative Work of Eugene Ysaye and the Influence of Belgian Artists in the Formation of a Distinct Performing and Composing Style. Scientific Collections of the Lviv National Music Academy Named After MV Lysenko, (45), 224-247.