Pablo de Sarasate

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Pablo de Sarasate
Pablo de Sarasate
Pablo de Sarasate
Background information
Birth namePablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués
Born(1844-03-10)10 March 1844
Pamplona, Spanish Empire
Died20 September 1908(1908-09-20) (aged 64)
Biarritz, France
GenresClassical, Romantic
Occupation(s)Violinist, composer, conductor
Years active1852–1904

Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaβlo saɾaˈsate]; 10 March 1844 – 20 September 1908), commonly known as Pablo de Sarasate, was a Spanish (Navarrese) violin virtuoso, composer and conductor of the Romantic period. His best known works include Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), the Spanish Dances, and the Carmen Fantasy.[1]

Biography[edit]

Pablo de Sarasate in 1905

Sarasate was born in Pamplona, Navarre in 1844, the son of Don Miguel Sarasate, a local artillery bandmaster. Apparently, after seeing his father struggle with a passage for a long time, he picked up the violin and played it perfectly. He began studying the violin with his father at the age of five and later took lessons from a local teacher. His musical talent became evident early on and he appeared in his first public concert in A Coruña at the age of eight.

His performance was well-received, and caught the attention of a wealthy patron who provided the funding for Sarasate to study under Manuel Rodríguez Saez in Madrid, where he gained the favor of Queen Isabella II. Later, as his abilities developed, his parents decided to send him to study under Jean-Delphin Alard at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of twelve. Aboard the train en route to Paris, his mother (who accompanied him) died of a heart attack at the Spanish-French border, and Sarasate was found to be suffering from cholera. The Spanish consul in Bayonne took Sarasate to his home and nursed him back to health, then financed his trip to Paris.[2][3]

There, Sarasate auditioned successfully for Alard, who arranged for him to live with his colleague Théodore de Lassabathie, administrator of the Conservatoire.[2][4] At seventeen, Sarasate entered a competition for the Premier Prix and won his first prize, the Conservatoire's highest honor. (No other Spanish violinist achieved this until Manuel Quiroga did so in 1911; Quiroga was frequently compared to Sarasate throughout his career.)

Sarasate, who had been publicly performing since childhood, made his Paris debut as a concert violinist in 1860, and played in London the following year. Over the course of his career, he toured many parts of the world, performing in Europe, North America, and South America. His artistic pre-eminence was due principally to the purity of his tone, which was free from any tendency towards the sentimental or rhapsodic, and to that impressive facility of execution that made him a virtuoso. In his early career, Sarasate performed mainly opera fantasies, most notably the Carmen Fantasy, and various other pieces that he had composed. The popularity of Sarasate's Spanish flavour in his compositions is reflected in the work of his contemporaries. For example, the influences of Spanish music can be heard in such notable works as Édouard Lalo's Symphonie espagnole which was dedicated to Sarasate; Georges Bizet's Carmen; and Camille Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, written expressly for Sarasate and dedicated to him.

Photo of Sarasate from an Austrian newspaper in 1906

Of Sarasate's idiomatic writing for his instrument, the playwright and music critic George Bernard Shaw once declared that though there were many composers of music for the violin, there were but few composers of violin music. Of Sarasate's talents as performer and composer, Shaw said that he "left criticism gasping miles behind him". Sarasate's own compositions are mainly show-pieces designed to demonstrate his exemplary technique. Perhaps the best known of his works is Zigeunerweisen (1878), a work for violin and orchestra. Another piece, the Carmen Fantasy (1883), also for violin and orchestra, makes use of themes from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen. Probably his most performed encores are his four books of Spanish Dances, Opp. 21, 22, 23, 26, brief pieces designed to please the listener's ear and show off the performer's talent. He also made arrangements of a number of other composers' work for violin, and composed sets of variations on "potpourris" drawn from operas familiar to his audiences, such as his Fantasia on La forza del destino (his Opus 1), his "Souvenirs de Faust", or his variations on themes from Die Zauberflöte.

At Brussels, he met Berthe Marx, who traveled with him as soloist and accompanist on his tours through Europe, Mexico, and the US; playing in about 600 concerts. She also arranged Sarasate's Spanish Dances for the piano.[5] In 1904, he made a small number of recordings. In all his travels Sarasate returned to Pamplona each year for the San Fermín festival.[6]

The familiar figure of Sarasate caricatured as a "Man of the Day" for Vanity Fair, 1889

Sarasate died in Biarritz, France, on 20 September 1908, from chronic bronchitis. He bequeathed his violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1724, to the Musée de la Musique. The violin now bears his name as the Sarasate Stradivarius in his memory. His second Stradivari violin, the Boissier of 1713, is now owned by Real Conservatorio Superior de Música, Madrid. Among his violin pupils was Alfred de Sève. The Pablo Sarasate International Violin Competition is held in Pamplona.

A number of works for violin were dedicated to Sarasate, including Henryk Wieniawski's Violin Concerto No. 2, Édouard Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 and his Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, and Alexander Mackenzie's Pibroch Suite. Also inspired by Sarasate is William H. Potstock's Souvenir de Sarasate.

Appearance in other art forms[edit]

List of compositions[edit]

Sarasate composed more than fifty works, all of which include the violin. He assigned opus numbers to 54 of them.[8]

Opus Composition Year Instrumentation
Chopin (arr. Sarasate) Nocturne Op.9 No.2 Violin and piano
Moszkowski (arr. Sarasate) Guitarre Op.45 No.2 1890 Violin and piano
Fantaisie-Caprice 1862 Violin and piano
Los pájaros de Chile (The Birds of Chile) 1871 Violin and piano
Mazurka en mi (Mazurka in E) Violin and piano
Souvenir de Faust (Gounod) 1865 Violin and piano
1 Fantasy on La forza del destino (Verdi) Violin and piano
2 Homenaje a Rossini 1866 Violin and piano
3 La dame blanche (Boieldieu) Violin and orchestra
4 Réverie (Dream) 1866 Violin and piano
5 Fantasy on Roméo et Juliette (Gounod) 1868 Violin and piano
6 Caprice on Mireille Violin and piano
7 Confidences Violin and piano
8 Souvenir de Domont (Vals de salón) Violin and piano
9 Les Adieux (The Farewell) 1899 (?) Violin and piano
10 Sérénade Andalouse (Andalusian Serenade) Violin and piano
11 Le sommeil (The Sleep) Violin and piano
12 Moscovienne (Muscovite) Violin and piano
13 New Fantasy on Faust (Gounod) 1874 Violin and orchestra
14 Fantasy on Der Freischütz (Weber) 1874 Violin and orchestra
15 Mosaíque de Zampa (Herold) Violin and piano
16 Gavota on Mignon (Thomas) 1869 Violin and piano
17 Prière et Berceuse (Prayer and Lullaby) 1870 Violin and piano
18 Airs espagnols (Spanish Airs) 1874 (?) Violin and piano
19 Réminiscence on Martha (Flothow) Violin and piano
20 Aires Bohemios, Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs) 1878 Violin and orchestra
21 Malagueña y Habanera (Spanish Dances Nos. 1, 2 - Book I) 1878 Violin and piano
22 Romanza andaluza y Jota navarra (Spanish Dances Nos. 3, 4 - Book II) 1878 Violin and piano
23 Playera y Zapateado (Spanish Dances Nos. 5, 6 - Book III) 1880 Violin and piano
24 Caprice Basque (Basque Caprice) 1880 Violin and piano
25 Fantasy on Carmen (Bizet) 1882 Violin and orchestra
26 Vito y Habanera (Spanish Dances Nos.7, 8 - Book IV) 1881 ca. Violin and piano
27 Jota aragonesa Violin and piano
28 Serenata andaluza (Andalusian serenade) 1883 Violin and piano
29 El canto del ruiseñor (The Nightingale's Song) Violin and orchestra
30 Bolero 1885 Violin and piano
31 Balada (Ballade) 1885 Violin and piano
32 Muiñeira 1885 Violin and orchestra
33 Navarra 1889 2 Violins and orchestra
34 Airs Écossais (Scottish Airs) 1872 Violin and orchestra
35 Peteneras, Caprice espagnol Violin and piano
36 Jota de San Fermín 1894 Violin and piano
37 Zortzico Adiós montañas mías 1895 Violin and piano
38 Viva Sevilla!(Live Seville!) 1896 Violin and orchestra
39 Zortzico de Iparraguirre Violin and piano
40 Introduction et Fandango varié (Introduction and Fandango Variations) Violin and piano
41 Introduction et Caprice-jota (Introduction and Caprice-Jota) 1899 Violin and orchestra
42 Zortzico Miramar 1899 Violin and orchestra
43 Introduction et Tarantelle (Introduction and Tarantella) 1900 Violin and orchestra
44 La chasse (The Hunt) 1901 Violin and orchestra
45 Nocturno - Serenata (Nocturne - Serenade) 1901 Violin and orchestra
46 Gondoliéra Veneziana Violin and piano
47 Melodía rumana (Romanian Melody) 1901 Violin and piano
48 L'Esprit Follet 1904 Violin and orchestra
49 Canciones rusas (Russian Songs) 1904 Violin and orchestra
50 Jota de Pamplona (Pamplona's Jota) 1904 Violin and orchestra
51 Fantasy on Don Giovanni (Mozart) Violin and piano
52 Jota de Pablo (Pablo's Jota) 1906 Violin and orchestra
53 Le Rève (The Dream) 1908 Violin and piano
54 Fantasy on Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) 1908 Violin and orchestra

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schwarz, Boris; Stowell, Robin (2001). "Sarasate (y Navascuéz), Pablo (Martín Melitón) de". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ a b Woolley, Grange (1955). "Pablo de Sarasate: His Historical Significance". Music & Letters. 36 (3): 237–252. doi:10.1093/ml/XXXVI.3.237. JSTOR 730971.
  3. ^ Libbey, Ted (2006). The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music. Workman Publishing. p. 724.
  4. ^ "Sarasate Letters: Beloved Mother". The Strad. 2020-05-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Singer & Adler 1912, p. 357.
  6. ^ Zdenko Silvela,A New History Of Violin Playing 2001:199.
  7. ^ Originally published in Burgess' The Devil's Mode (Random House, 1989). Reprinted 2009 in The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, ed. John Joseph Adams (San Francisco: Night Shade Books [ISBN 978-1-61523-551-3, ISBN 978-1-59780-160-7])
  8. ^ Catalogue of Works

Bibliography[edit]

Attribution[edit]

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain: I. Singer & C. Adler's The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day (1912)
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sarasate y Navascues, Pablo Martin Meliton de". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 204.

External links[edit]