Exploring the foreboding tension in the final movement of Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata no. 2 - for me, there is at once stifled distress and furious outcry at the core of this movement. The interlocking array of 2nd and 3rd intervals in the “Dies Irae” melody, which Ysaÿe quotes in different constellations throughout the movement, make for an atmosphere of obscurity and doom.
The symbolized fear of the Last Judgment provokes in me questions about the matters that we have to reckon with as humans and as a part of humanity - what splits are there in our essence and how do we reconcile those splits? Courage and dread, immaterial and material values, integrity and ambition, egoism and reversed egoism, on and on. I’m reminded of Arnold Böcklin’s “Isle of the Dead”.