Homage to Eugéne Ysaye – Elmira Darvanova violin, Ronald Carbone viola, Winona Zelenka cello

“HOMAGE to EUGÈNE YSAŸE” is a double-CD album presenting works by the legendary Belgian violinist and composer Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), as well as by 3 other composers whose works and legacy have been influenced by Eugène Ysaÿe: the Uruguayan-born, New York-based composer and conductor José Serebrier (born 1938), the German-born, Canadian-based composer Michael Oesterle (born 1964), and the Irish-born, Paris-based violist and composer Garth Knox (born 1956). While Eugène Ysaÿe’s works on this album include his most well-known masterpiece – the “Ballade” (Sonata No. 3) from his Six Sonatas for Solo Violin Op. 27, as well as two other gems – his Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 28, and his forgotten, but recently re-discovered 1927 String Trio No. 1, Op. 33 (a.k.a. “Le Chimay”), the other three composers are each represented with a world premiere recording (the Sonata for Solo Viola by José Serebrier, “Ardennes” for Solo Cello by Michael Oesterle and “Homage to Ysaÿe” for Solo Viola by Garth Knox), in addition to José Serebrier’s very first composition, dating from his teenage years – his Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 1. This magnificent collection of works for strings from the 20th and 21st centuries is a reflection on the undiminished power of the immortal legacy of Eugène Ysaÿe as a genius musician whose extraordinary achievements as a performer and composer spread beyond his time, to enrich and inform other works that not only pay homage to him, but are masterful and unforgettable on their own, carrying over the undiminished fascination with Ysaÿe’s oeuvre, and further inspiring, on their own terms, present day interpreters and audiences. As passionate advocates for Eugène Ysaÿe, and for the three world premiere recordings (the Sonata for Solo Viola by José Serebrier, “Ardennes” for Solo Cello by Michael Oesterle and “Homage to Ysaÿe” for Solo Viola by Garth Knox), as well as José Serebrier’s Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 1, the performers of this splendid album – violinist Elmira Darvarova, violist Ronald Carbone and cellist Winona Zelenka – appear as an ensemble (in Ysaÿe’s String Trio No. 1, Op. 33, a.k.a. “Le Chimay”), as well as soloists in the rest of the works. The performers’ own connections to Eugène Ysaÿe stem from historical circumstances: Elmira Darvarova and Winona Zelenka both personally knew Ysaÿe’s prominent student Josef Gingold (1909-1995), with whom Elmira Darvarova studied, and both Elmira Darvarova and Ronald Carbone participated in the New York premiere of Ysaÿe’s String Trio No. 1, Op. 33 (a.k.a. “Le Chimay”). This album brings superb interpretations of stunningly beautiful compositions, as a glorious tribute to one of the most brightly shining stars that ever graced the world of virtuoso artists – the one and only Eugène Ysaÿe. 

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