Eugène Ysaÿe

Anne Gastinel's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy French Music sheet annotated by  Anne  Gastinel  is available 45 min Cello

Master Anne Gastinel and student Pierre Fontenelle focus on various meticulous details while working on Ysaÿe’s Meditation.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass

In this cello masterclass, Anne Gastinel reminds us that even when reaching near perfection, there is always room for improvement. Master and student concentrate on precision as they scrupulously work on the piece’s finer details. Together, they examine phrasing, articulation, maintaining control of the right hand, and the nuance of piano. Gastinel cautions Fontenelle to not engage in superfluous gestures, especially when a passage is meant to be played in a calm and relaxed manner. Large unnecessary bow movements, the instructor asserts, only adds stress instead of tranquility.

With the aim to reach perfection (or as close to perfection as is possible), the teacher then instructs her pupil to play the song slowly, adding that although playing in this way is more challenging, it allows for a musician be more precise.

What we learn in this masterclass

  1. The importance of relaxation.

  2. Gesturing/moving efficiently rather than superfluously.

  3. Accurately playing a piano subito.

  4. Proper articulation.

  5. Keeping track of breaths.

Meditation by Eugène Ysaÿe

Eugène Ysaÿe, also known as “The King of the Violin”, was a Belgian virtuoso, violinist, composer, and conductor. He was highly-regarded for his compelling and unique approach to performance. His playing was noted for its broad and flexible tones, use of vibratos, expressive phrases, and harmonic ingenuity. His musical career bridged between late Romanticism and into the early modern 20th century.

Although a highly successful musician, composer, performer, and teacher of his time, many of his works are still unknown (never recorded or published).

  • Date:04 November 2021
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:45 min
  • Spoken language:French

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this cello masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Anne Gastinel’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music meditation

Anne Gastinel

Anne  Gastinel

At the age of 18 she won the first prize in the Scheveningen competition.

Anne Gastinel won numerous prizes in major international competitions (Scheveningen, Prague, Rostropovitch) and began to appear all over Europe, making a lasting impact on the general public in the 1990 Eurovision Competition.

Unanimously recognized as an ambassador of the French cello school, she was selected to play for the term of one year: the legendary Matteo Gofriller cello that once belonged to Pablo Casals. In 2006, Anne Gastinel was awarded the Victoire de la Musique in the category of ‘Soloist of the Year’ and ‘Best Recording’

Her career now takes her to perform in the leading venues all over Europe, as well as Japan, China, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, and the United States. She has appeared with great masters such as Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Kurt Sanderling. As a soloist, she regularly performs with the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt), Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, among others.

Furthermore, as a chamber musician, she plays with Claire Désert, with whom she has recorded many albums (Poulenc, Franck, Schubert, Schumann…), with the Quatuor Hermès, Nicholas Angelich, Andreas Ottensamer, David Grimal and Philippe Cassard; Xavier Philipps and many other French cellists. For nearly 15 years, her recordings have received the highest distinctions. Her recording (Naïve) dedicated to  Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Nicholas Angelich, Gil Shaham, Paavo Jarvi and the Hr-Sinfonieorchester received the ‘Choc’ of Classica magazine. Since then, she has continued to explore the extensive cello repertoire with her accomplices.

She has been teaching at the CNSMD of Lyon since 2003.


Eugène  Ysaÿe

Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgian genius violinist and composer, and was born in Liège in 1858. His whole family was musically inclined, and he started learning the violin at an early age, with his father. After learning music in his home country, he moved to Paris to pursue his studies.  

He toured intensely as a solo artist for prestigious orchestras and assumed a teaching position, which he kept for many years. Many famous composers dedicated some of their major works to him. He married fellow-Belgian Louise Bourdau in 1886, and together they had five children. When Louise died in 1924, he re-married with 44-year his junior violinist Jeanette Dincin, who cared for him as his health declined, until he passed away in his home in Forest, Belgium in 1931. 

He left behind an impressive musical catalog: six Sonatas for Solo Violin op. 27, the unaccompanied Sonata for Cello, op. 28, one Sonata for Two Violins, eight Poèmes for various instruments (one or two violins, violin and cello, string quartet) and orchestra (Poème élégiaque, Poème de l'Extase, Chant d'hiver, Poème nocturne, among others), pieces for string orchestra without basses (including Poème de l'Exil), two piano trios, a string quintet, and an opera, Peter the Miner. His Eugène Ysaÿe Collection, which can be found in the Royal Belgium library, also includes many scores, letters, photographs, films, and recordings. 

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