A Belgian musician splendidly playing the sonatas of his countryman

Noé Inui: Ysaÿe

Noé Inui: Ysaÿe

The Strad Issue: March 2020
Description: A Belgian musician splendidly playing the sonatas of his countryman
Musicians: Noé Inui (violin) Mario Häring (piano)
Works: Ysaÿe: Six Sonatas for solo violin op.27; Etude Poème in G minor op.9, ‘Sérènade’
Catalogue Number: ARS PRODUKTION ARS 38 269

At last! A complete recording of Ysaÿe’s six solo violin sonatas by a Belgian, and very good too. Born in Brussels to Greek and Japanese parents, Noé Inui was trained in the Ysaÿe tradition and has been playing this music since he was 14. He was 33 when the recordings were made.

The G minor is beautifully played: after the first movement the Fugato almost steals in, developing with naturalness; there is chiaroscuro in the Allegretto; the finale is forceful but not stressful. He seems to revel in playing his Balestrieri, employing a Sartory bow given to Ysaÿe by Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians and an E string similar to those Ysaÿe used.

He gets the ‘Obsession’ just right in the A minor, not just the Bach Preludio but the Dies Irae permeating all four movements. ‘Malinconia’ is brooding, with wonderful pianissimo. Beginning the D minor as if telling a tale, he keeps up the impetus. And so it goes on, through the other sonatas.

He and pianist Häring claim a world premiere recording for op.9, nicely played although not very Serenade-like – it never quite settles. The sound throughout is splendid: we hear a young man communing with his violin, in marvellous vehicles for such communion.