Pablo de Sarasate

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Pablo de Sarasate
Sarasate.gif
Pablo de Sarasate
Background information
Birth nameMartín Melitón Pablo de Sarasate y Navascués
Born(1844-03-10)10 March 1844
Spain Pamplona, Spain
Died20 September 1908(1908-09-20) (aged 64)
France Biarritz, France
GenresRomantic
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor, violinist
Years active1852–1904

Martín Melitón Pablo de Sarasate y Navascués (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaβlo saɾaˈsate]; 10 March 1844 – 20 September 1908) was a Spanish violinist and composer of the Romantic period.

Career[edit]

Pablo Sarasate was born in Pamplona, Navarre, the son of an artillery bandmaster. Apparently he picked up the violin and played a passage of music perfectly his father had been struggling to play for a long time. 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 Fantasía Carmen, 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 et 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 Fantasía Carmen (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 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.[1] In 1904, he made a small number of recordings. In all his travels Sarasate returned to Pamplona each year for the San Fermín festival.[2]

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]

  • 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.[3] 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.
  • He appears in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters story A Study in Sable (based on the folk tale "The Twa Sisters"), as an Elemental Master of Spirit, able to conjure, speak with, and to some extent control ghosts with his music; he even goes so far as to use a bow made of the bone and hair of a murdered woman in an effort to bring her murderous sister to justice.

List of compositions[4][edit]


Opus Composition Year Instrumentation
Chopin (arr. Sarasate) Nocturne Op.9 No.2 Violin and piano
Moszkowski (arr. Sarasate) Guitarre Op.45 No.2 Violin and piano
Fantaisie-Caprice 1862 Violin and piano
Los pájaros de Chile Violin and piano
Mazurka en Mi 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 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 1899 (?) 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 (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 Priére at Berceuse 1870 Violin and piano
18 Airs espagnols 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) 1898 Violin and piano
23 Playera y Zapateado (Spanish Dances Nos. 5, 6 - Book III) 1880 Violin and piano
24 Caprice Basque (Capricho vasco) 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 1883 Violin and piano
29 El canto del ruiseñor Violin and orchestra
30 Bolero 1885 Violin and piano
31 Balada 1885 Violin and piano
32 Muñeira 1885 Violin and orchestra
33 Navarra 1889 2 Violins and orchestra
34 Airs Écossais 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! 1896 Violin and orchestra
39 Zortzico de Iparraguirre Violin and piano
40 Introduction et Fandango varié Violin and piano
41 Introduction et Caprice-jota 1899 Violin and orchestra
42 Zortzico Miramar 1899 Violin and orchestra
43 Introduction et Tarantelle 1900 Violin and orchestra
44 La chasse 1901 Violin and orchestra
45 Nocturno - Serenata 1901 Violin and orchestra
46 Gondoliéra Veneziana Violin and piano
47 Melodía rumana 1901 Violin and piano
48 L'Esprit Follet 1904 Violin and orchestra
49 Canciones rusas 1904 Violin and orchestra
50 Jota de Pamplona 1904 Violin and orchestra
51 Fantasy on Don Giovanni (Mozart) Violin and piano
52 Jota de Pablo 1906 Violin and orchestra
53 Le Rève (El Sueño) 1908 Violin and piano
54 Fantasy on Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) 1908 Violin and orchestra

References[edit]

  1. ^ Singer & Adler 1912, p. 357.
  2. ^ Zdenko Silvela,A New History Of Violin Playing 2001:199.
  3. ^ 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])
  4. ^ Catalogue of Works

Bibliography[edit]

Attribution[edit]

  • This article incorporates text from a publication now 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)

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sarasate y Navascues, Pablo Martin Meliton de". Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 204.