Sergey Khachatryan’s homage to Ysaÿe

When Sergey Khachatryan last performed at Wigmore Hall, he offered repertoire by composers from Armenia, his home country.  This time, his programme includes a slice of Wigmore Hall’s own history.
Wigmore Hall’s inaugural concert in June 1901 was given by Eugène Ysaÿe together with Ferruccio Busoni.  For most of his life, Ysaÿe played on a Guarneri ‘del Gesu’ violin, the instrument on which Sergey performs today.  (Please click here for a video of Sergey playing the fourth movement ‘Les Furies’ from Ysaÿe’s Sonata no.2 for solo violin on the Ysaÿe violin.)
Paying homage to Ysaÿe, Sergey Khachatryan will be opening his recital on 6 July 2013 with the violinist-composer’s Second Sonata for Solo Violin.  The Third Sonata will close the first half of the concert.  In between these two works for solo violin are Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano and Chausson’s Poème.
Ysaÿe counted Debussy and Chausson among his friends and was a champion of their compositions.  His social circle also included Fauré, César Franck, Kreisler and Saint-Saëns.  When Ysaÿe married Louise Bourdeau de Coutrai in September 1886, Franck presented his Sonata in A for Violin and Piano to the happy couple as a wedding gift.  Ysaÿe subsequently gave the work its premiere in December 1886.  At Wigmore Hall, Sergey Khachatryan will be joined by his sister Lusine for this famous piece.
One of Ysaÿe’s ambitions was to set up an instrumental competition for young virtuosi.  (He was the most acclaimed violin virtuoso of his time and a pioneer of 20th-century violin playing.)  Sadly, he died before his plan could be realised.  In 1937, six years after his death, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium began the Queen Elisabeth Competition in his honour.  The first winner of this annual competition in Brussels was won by David Oistrakh.  Sergey Khachatryan was awarded first prize in 2005.  Incidentally, Oistrakh gave the first performance of the Armenian composer Khachaturian’s violin concerto, a work with which Sergey Khachatryan is closely associated.
For tickets to Sergey’s ‘Homage to Ysaÿe’ recital, please visit Wigmore Hall’s website.
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