|Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
|Can You Guess? Pablo de Sarasate was born in the city of Pamplona, Spain. They have a famous festival there, one part of which involves certain animals.
Can You Guess what animal-related event visitors from all over the world come to Pamplona to see and participate in?
Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
|1652 - Death of Italian composer and Papal Chapel singer Gregorio Allegri, in Rome. It is said that a young Mozart heard one of his pieces, went home, and wrote it out note for note. His most famous work was his Miserere.
1941 - Premiere of Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto. Philadelphia Orchestra, with Eugene Ormandy conducting with violinist Albert Spalding.
1962 - Garth Brooks, country/western singer (real name Troyal Garth Brooks) was born.
1970 - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, by the Hollies, was released.
1976 - Bohemian Rhaspody, by Queen, was released.
1996 - Premiere of E. T. Zwilich's Triple Concerto for violin, cello, piano and orchestra. Minnesota Orchestra, Zdenek Macal conducting, with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
2003 - Premiere of Ezra Laderman's Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra. Richard Page, bass clarinet. Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
|Pablo de Sarasate|
|February 7, 1875, marked the premiere of Lalo's violin suite Symphonie Espagnole. The piece was dedicated to, and played by Pablo de Sarasate.
Pablo Martín Melitón de Sarasate y Navascuéz was born in Pamplona, in the Spanish province of Navarre, on March 10, March 1844. He began studying violin at the age of 5 with his father, a bandmaster in the army. Later he took lessons from a local teacher. He gave
| his first concert at La Caruña when he was just 8 years old.
Audiences were thrilled with young Pablo's playing. A wealthy patron gave his parents money so that they could take Pablo to Madrid to study with Manuel Rodríguez Saez. Pablo was soon a favorite performer at the court of Queen Isabel II.
When Pablo was 12, his mother decided to take him to Paris to study with the famous teacher Jean Alard at the Paris Conservatoire. Aboard the train to Paris, just after they had crossed the French border, Pablo's mother had a heart attack and died. Spanish officials in Bayonne took charge of him, but Pablo was found to be suffering from cholera. The Spanish consul at Bayonne took Pablo into his own home until he recovered, and he then paid for Pablo's trip on to Paris. In Paris, Pablo auditioned for Alard, who was impressed with his performance.
|"For 37 years I've practiced 14 hours a day, and now they call me a genius"|
| Did You Guess?
People from all over the world travel to Pamplona to visit the Festival of San Fermin. Besides visiting the town, hundreds of them participate in the Running of the Bulls. A CNN video may be available here.
|Great Valentine's Day
Gift for Violinists!
|Early in his career, Sarasate performed opera fantasies and other pieces that he had composed, many in the tradition of his native Spain. The most notable among these is the Carmen Fantasie. Edouard Lalo's compositions have a Spanish flavor, and it was largely because of Sarasate that Spanish music gained great favor among European composers of that day. Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Bizet's Carmen, and Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (also dedicated to Sarasate) show the clear influence of Spanish music on these composers.
In addition to the Lalo and the Saint-Saëns mentioned above, Bruch also dedicated his Scottish Fantasy to Sarasate.
Lalo's Symphonie Esapgnole is most accurately called a violin suite rather than a concerto. It has five movements rather than the typical three. It has no cadenza, in which the soloist may improvise and display his virtuosity with the orchestra silent. The gorgeous, romantic singing of the violin is contrasted in the second movement by its imitation of castanets and guitars.
George Bernard Shaw once said that though there were many composers of music for the violin, there were but few composers of violin music. But Shaw said Sarasate's talents as performer and composer, "left criticism gasping miles behind him." Sarasate's four volumes of Spanish dances for violin and piano have been favorites for generations. Even today, his Zigeunerweisen for violin and orchestra is a concert standard.
Sarasate was always impeccably dressed. Although he received thousands of love letters, he ignored them all, remaining a bachelor. He was, however, known to be very refined and, it is said always kept a supply of Spanish fans to present to his lady admirers after concerts.
Sarasate became very wealthy. He was also known to be quite generous, and was well-loved in his home town. When Sarasate died, September 20, 1908, he left most of his earthly goods to the city of Pamplona.
|Alard would not permit Pablo to compete for the conservatory's prizes until he was 17, and at that time he easily outclassed his competition to win the Premiere Prix. This was a key step in starting Pablo's solo career.