“By tailoring his solo sonatas to fit the styles of six very different violinists Eugène Ysaÿe may have been acting as the ultimate critic, describing his subjects with musical illustrations rather than mere words. For example, there are the winking appoggiaturas in the finale of No 4, dedicated to Kreisler, which Thomas Zehetmair throws off with a mere flick of the wrist, or the rich chord structures of No 1, whose dedicatee, Joseph Szigeti, was a great Bach player. Bach is a particularly strong presence there, the key (G minor) and language so reminiscent of his first solo sonata. Again, the Jacques Thibaud piece, No 2 in A minor, has obsessive repetitions of the Prelude from Bach's E major Partita, played initially by Zehetmair with the lightest touch, though later repetitions gain in intensity. The sinister melding of Bach with the 'Dies irae' chant has to be one of the canniest masterstrokes of the period. There are stylistic parallels between No 2 and No 4, just as there were similarities between the players themselves.
The spicy Sixth Sonata recalls the Spanish fiddler Manuel Quiroga and takes on Latin influences, initially suggesting Ravel's Tzigane (composed at around the same time, though the similarity is probably coincidental) before shifting, a little later, to habañera mode.
As the ultimate thinking virtuoso, Zehetmair is an ideal interpreter of these pieces, delving between the notes, coaxing a wealth of colour, inflection and dynamic shading from each score, always with acute imagination. He is both explorer and demonstrator, his modes of attack as varied as his tone colouring. This is the best possible showcase for some marvellous if still undervalued music.”