Pablo de Sarasate
Pablo de Sarasate
|Birth name||Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués|
10 March 1844|
|Died||20 September 1908
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, violinist|
Boissier Stradivarius 1713
Sarasate Stradivarius 1724
Pablo Sarasate was born in Pamplona, Navarre, the son of an artillery bandmaster. 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, he was sent to study under Jean-Delphin Alard at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of twelve.
There, at seventeen, Sarasate entered a competition for the Premier Prix and won his first prize, the Conservatoire's highest honour. (There was not another Spanish violinist to achieve 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.
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 two books of Spanish dances, 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 of Faust", or his variations on themes from Die Zauberflöte. In 1904 he made a small number of recordings. In all his travels Sarasate returned to Pamplona each year for the San Fermín festival.
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
- James Whistler's Arrangement in Black: Pablo de Sarasate (1884) is a portrait of Pablo Sarasate.
- In Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Red-Headed League (1891), Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson attend a concert by Sarasate.
- Sarasate is a major figure in Murder to Music, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche by Anthony Burgess. Holmes is also mentioned as attending a Sarasate concert in The Treasure Train by Frankie Thomas.
- In Edith Wharton's 1920 novel The Age of Innocence, set in 1870s New York, the main protagonist is invited to a private recital to be given by Sarasate.
- Zigeunerweisen is the title of Seijun Suzuki's 1980 movie, the first of the so-called Taisho Trilogy. A recording of the air of the same title by Sarasate, and his that can be heard on the recording, are one of the themes of the movie.
Performed by Carrie Rehkopf
Performed by Roxana Pavel Goldstein and Elias Goldstein (violins) with the Depaul Symphony (Chicago) conducted by Cliff Colnot
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|—||Fantasia capriccio||Violin and piano|
|—||Los pájaros de Chile||Violin and piano|
|—||Souvenir de Faust||Violin and piano|
|1||Fantasy on La forza del destino||Violin and piano|
|2||Homenaje a Rossini||Violin and piano|
|3||La dame blanche de Boieldieu||Violin and orchestra|
|4||Réverie||Violin and piano|
|5||Fantasy on Roméo et Juliette||Violin and piano|
|6||Caprice on Mireille||Violin and piano|
|7||Confidences||Violin and piano|
|8||Souvenir de Domont||Violin and piano|
|9||Les Adieux||Violin and piano|
|10||Sérénade Andalouse||Violin and piano|
|11||Le sommeil||Violin and piano|
|12||Moscovienne||Violin and piano|
|13||New Fantasy on Faust||Violin and orchestra|
|14||Fantasy on Der Freischütz||Violin and orchestra|
|15||Mosaíque de Zampa||Violin and piano|
|16||Gavota on Mignon||Violin and piano|
|17||Priére at Berceuse||Violin and piano|
|18||Airs espagnols||Violin and piano|
|19||Fantasy on Martha||Violin and piano|
|20||Zigeunerweisen||Violin and orchestra|
|21||Malagueña y Habanera||Violin and piano|
|22||Romanza andaluza y jota navarra||Violin and piano|
|23||Playera y zapateado||Violin and piano|
|24||Capricho vasco||Violin and piano|
|25||Fantasy on Carmen||Violin and orchestra|
|26||Vito y habanera||Violin and piano|
|27||Jota aragonesa||Violin and piano|
|28||Serenata andaluza||Violin and piano|
|29||El canto del ruiseñor||Violin and orchestra|
|30||Bolero||Violin and piano|
|31||Balada||Violin and piano|
|32||Muñeira||Violin and orchestra|
|33||Navarra||Violin and orchestra|
|34||Airs Écossais||Violin and orchestra|
|35||Fantasía en sapo Reina||Violin and piano|
|36||Jota de San Fermín||Violin and piano|
|37||Zortzico Adiós montañas mías||Violin and piano|
|38||Viva Sevilla!||Violin and orchestra|
|39||Zortzico de Iparraguirre||Violin and piano|
|40||Introduction et fandango varié||Violin and piano|
|41||Introduction et caprice-jota||Violin and orchestra|
|42||Zortzico Miramar||Violin and orchestra|
|43||Introduction et tarantelle||Violin and orchestra|
|44||La chase||Violin and orchestra|
|45||Nocturno — Serenata||Violin and orchestra|
|46||Gondoliéra Veneziana||Violin and piano|
|47||Melodía rumana||Violin and piano|
|48||L'Esprit Follet||Violin and orchestra|
|49||Canciones rusas||Violin and orchestra|
|50||Jota de Pamplona||Violin and orchestra|
|51||Fantasy on Don Giovanni||Violin and piano|
|52||Jota de Pablo||Violin and orchestra|
|53||La Rève||Violin and piano|
|54||Fantasy on The Magic Flute||Violin and orchestra|
- Zdenko Silvela,A New History Of Violin Playing 2001:199.
- 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])
- Catalogue of Works
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pablo de Sarasate.|
- Free scores by Pablo de Sarasate at the International Music Score Library Project
- on YouTube, and others (i.a. Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman)
- Pablo de Sarasate: Biography & list of works (in English and French)
- Pablo de Sarasate at AllMusic
- Eduardo H. Asiain plays music by Pablo Sarasate