Ysaÿe: On the trail of a trio

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The discovery of part of an autograph manuscript for Ysaÿe’s little-known Second String Trio op.34 hidden in a folder on his computer led violinist Nandor Szederkényi eventually to produce a performing edition. Here he shares details of the painstaking process

Have you heard Eugène Ysaÿe’s wonderful Second String Trio? After a short pause, some of you might answer: ‘There’s a string trio called something like “Le Chimay”, but I don’t really know it that well. But wait a minute… no.2? Are there two string trios by Ysaÿe?’ The answer is yes: one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century not only wrote Six Solo Violin Sonatas, he also wrote two trios for violin, viola and cello in addition to his other chamber music works.

So, why was this trio hidden for so many years? Frankly it’s something of a mystery, but not too long ago I discovered that I had part of it stored on my computer in a folder entitled ‘Songs’. My guess is that when I received a data CD with several Ysaÿe manuscripts on it from the Juilliard School library in 2008, this folder was part of that, and somehow it had survived multiple migrations from computer to computer over the years…

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