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Biography of

Pablo de Sarasate

10 mar 1844 (Pamplona) - 20 sep 1908 (Biaritz)
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Pablo Sarasate

Pablo de Sarasate
Background information
Birth name Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascués
Born March 10, 1844(1844-03-10)
Spain Pamplona, Spain
Died September 20, 1908 (aged 64)
France Biarritz, France
Genres Classical
Occupations Composer, conductor, violinist
Years active 1852–1904
Notable instruments
Boissier Stradivarius 1713
Sarasate Stradivarius 1724

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



Pablo Sarasate was born in Pamplona, Spain, 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 but his musical talent became evident early on and he appeared in his first public concert in La 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 Isabel 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.

Sarasate, who had been playing in public 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 flavor 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 flashy show-pieces designed to demonstrate his exemplary technique (bias shown, needs reference). 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.[1]

Sarasate died in Biarritz, France on September 20, 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 Madrid.

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 Potstock's Souvenir de Sarasate.

Appearance in other art forms

List of compositions[3]

Opus Composition Instrumentation
Fantasia Capriccio 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


  1. ^ Zdenko Silvela,A New History Of Violin Playing 2001:199.
  2. ^ 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 978-1597801607])
  3. ^ Catalogue of Works

54. Zapateado Violin and Piano

External links

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pablo de Sarasate. Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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