Spanish violinist and composer Pablo de Sarasate was born Martín Melitón Pablo de Sarasate y Navascués in Pamplona on 10 March 1844. At five he studied violin with his father, a bandmaster, and later with a local teacher. He first played in public at the age of eight, where he was discovered by a wealthy patron and sent to study in Madrid then, later, when he was twelve, at the Paris Conservatoire. At seventeen he won the Conservatoire's top prize, and went on to tour the world as concert violinist - a virtuoso with a pure tone and faultless technique.
His idiomatic compositions, mostly for the violin, were largely designed to showcase his own playing. The best known of these is probably the 1878 Zigeunerweisen. His 1883 Carmen Fantasia is also very popular.
Various works by other composers were dedicated to Sarasate - Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and Violin Concerto No 3, and Wieniawski's second Violin Concerto.
He died from chronic bronchitis at Biarritz in France on 20 September 1908, aged sixty-four.
CD Spotlight. Revisiting the Close Bond of Violin and Guitar - Kim Sjøgren and Lars Hannibal play music by Paganini and Sarasate, heard by Ona Jarmalavičiūtė. '... very elegant, vibrant, virtuosic and illustrative.'
Ensemble. Simply Exhilarating - Music for violin and piano by César Franck and Camille Saint-Saëns from Hungarian duo Boglárka György and Brigitta Sveda impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. From the Poignant to the Zany - Russian-born musicians Yulia Northridge and Ekaterina Shetliffe, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Appealing Work - Music for euphonium, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... it's the lyrical selections that reveal Frey at his finest.'
Ensemble. A Splendid Violinist - Peter Fisher's 'Music from the Movies', enjoyed by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. A Noteworthy Introduction - Music by Stravinsky for violin and piano, heard by Howard Smith. '... refreshing naturalness ...'
Ensemble. Discoveries Ahead - Malcolm Miller samples 'The World of Jewish Music' in London
CD Spotlight. Entertaining tricks - Cello and violin CDs, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... silken, silvery tone ...'
Ensemble. A musical treasure - Aaron Rosand plays Beethoven, appreciated by Lawrence Budmen
CD Spotlight. Compelling listening - Orchestral music by Leonardo Balada, reviewed by Carson P Cooman. '... this disc is a must have ...'