Sarasate, Pablo de

(Martin Meliton)



Distinguished Spanish violinist and composer; born at Pampeluna, Spain. He early showed great ability as a performer and as a youth was regarded as a musical prodigy. At ten he performed before the Spanish Court at Madrid, pleasing Queen Isabella so highly that she presented him with a very valuable Stradivarius. After appearing at concerts in various cities in Spain, Sarasate went in 1856 to Paris, studying there with Alard and Reber, winning during his first year there the first prize for violinplaying and for solfeggio, and in 1859 a first accessit while a student at the Conservatory. He shortly afterward discarded the study of composition and devoted himself to the violin, with a view to becoming a virtuoso. In 1859 he began his travels, which took him to Italy and the East, to Germany and to the United States. He created a veritable sensation when he appeared at Leipsic and his success there was duplicated in other cities in Germany, Russia, Austria, England and Belgium. He visited London in 1874, in 1877, in 1878 and again in 1885. His second visit to the United States occurred in 1889, when he accompanied D'Albert. For him, Lalo wrote his first violin concerto and the Symphonic Espagnole, Bruch, his second concerto and the Scotch fantasie, and A. C. Mackenzie the Pibroch Suite. Hanslick, the celebrated critic says of him: " Sarasate's tone is incomparable, not powerfully or deeply affecting, but of enchanting sweetness .... His virtuosity shines and pleases and surprises the audience continually." His ent is more toward brilliancy than dej th, although he has a wonderful facility and flexibility and great charm. He plays best the concertos of Viotti, Spohr, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and the works of the modern French and Belgian School and his own compositions. His playing of Spanish dances has never been surpassed and he has been compared as a performer with Vieuxtemps, Joachim and Sivori. In beauty of tone and perfection of technique, Sarasate has had in his day no equal. He has written numerous fantasias on operatic airs; a Spanish dance ; Andalusian Serenade for violin and piano; several solo pieces for violin; Confidence, a romance, and other works. He was appointed an honorary professor of the Conservatory at Madrid and has been decorated by the Emperor of Germany, Napoleon III., the Emperor of Brazil and the Queen of Spain.