This frankly terrifying solo violin piece is surely one of the hardest ever written

6 September 2016, 11:55

ysaye violin sonata 3

The third of Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for Solo Violin is completely dazzling, inspiring and horrifying - all at once.

Each of Ysaÿe’s sonatas in this set were dedicated to a legendary contemporary violinist of his, and this case it was the great Georges Enescu.

So, just how hard is it?

Really, really hard. Just look at this random excerpt from the score and try to even vaguely understand it:

What does it sound like?

When we asked violinist Bomsori Kim to play us something backstage at the Montreal International Violin Competition, we thought maybe she’d give us a little party piece.

As it happened, she smashed out the entire sonata as if it was just nothing. Well, not unless you count the huge look of relief on her face when she finishes…

Bomsori Kim plays Ysaye's Sonata No. 3

Violinist Bomsori Kim performs the phenomenally difficult piece, Ysaye's Violin Sonata No. 3.

07:17

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

The Super Mario Brothers theme

The Super Mario Brothers theme in the style of Mozart and Shostakovich

Composer quotes quiz

Quiz: Can you complete the famous quote from each composer?

Mozart or Drake?

Quiz: Are you more like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Drake?