WORKS BY FRANCO-BELGIAN COMPOSERS AND THE VIOLINISTS WHO INSPIRED THEM

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2009

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Abstract

In the late nineteenth century, French composers such as Camille Saint- Saens, Cesar Franck, and Claude Debussy worked to elevate instrumental music in late-Romantic period France, creating symphonies, concertos, and chamber ensembles, including duo sonatas. These composers and followers like, Ernest Chausson and Guillaume Lekeu were all influenced by a particular violinist to whom they dedicated their compositions. The primary violinist who inspired these composers was Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931), a brilliant performer and composer. His freedom of expression motivated many prominent French composers to dedicate major works to him. For example, Debussy dedicated his string quartet to Ysaye, who established the Ysaye Quartet and premiered Debussy's composition. In 1886, Franck completed his sonata for violin and piano which he also dedicated to Ysaye. Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), one of the most talented violinists of his era, had a relationship withYsaye that was quite special. They respected, supported,

and befriended each other. To Ysaye, Kreisler dedicated his Recitativo and Scherzo. To Kreisler, Ysaye dedicated one ofhis celebrated Sonatas for Solo Violin. Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908) was a magnificent Spanish violinist of the late nineteenth century, and his music and performances influenced many composers, especially Saint-Saens, who included Spanish gypsy fragments in his works. These motifs may found in his Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and Violin Concerto No.3 which were dedicated to Sarasate. My goal for this dissertation project has been to find and present, in three recitals, works by French composers and also works by the violinists who inspired them. As a violinist, I have endeavored to understand the influence of the various violinists on these French composers and how that knowledge can inform my approach to performing these works. In my first recital, with pianist Soo Young Jung, I performed works by Saint-Saens, Ysaye and Sarasate. With pianist Sun Ha Yoon, I performed works by Ysaye, Debussy, Kreisler and Franck in my second recital. My third recital, again with pianist Sun Ha Yoon, featured works by Ysaye, Chausson, and Lekeu. All recitals were recorded and performed at the University ofMaryland, College Park.

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