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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
March 10
Can You Guess?
Pablo de Sarasate was born in a city with an unusual custom.  Certain animals just seem to run the place every now and then. Can You Guess what type of animals that might be?  Pardon me while I step into that china shop over there!

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
1785 - Premiere of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 K 467, in C Major concerto, composer was soloist

- Death of Italian composer Muzio Clementi in Evesham, England at the age of 80.

- Ignaz Moscheles, Czech composer, died.

1877 - Premiere of Borodin's Second Symphony, Napravnik, conducting, in St. Petersburg.

1880 - Premiere of John Knowles Paine's Symphony No. 2 Spring. Theodore Thomas conducting in Boston.

1885 - Premiere of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, in Munich.

- Arthur Oscar Honegger, Swiss composer, was born in La Havre, France.

- Premiere of David Diamond's Quintet for clarinet and strings.

- Heartbreak Hotel, by Elvis Presley, was released.

- Premiere of John Harbison's Sinfonia with violinist Rose Mary Harbison and the Bach Society Orchestra of Harvard,

- Death of American composer Elie Siegmeister
Pablo de Sarasate
1844 - 1908
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I'm Irish and I Fiddle
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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.  Sarasate gave his first concert at La Caruña when he was just 8 years old.
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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.

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.

Early in his career, Sarasate performed opera fantasies and other pieces that he had composed.  The most notable among these is the Carman Fantasie.   Many of his are in the tradition of his native Spain.  Due to Sarasate's influence, Spanish music became very popular.  Edouard Lalo compositions exhude 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 consists of five movements rather than the typical three.  It has no cadenza, in which the soloist is permitted to 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 of Sarasate's talents, both as performer and composer, he said that he "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 even today 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.
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Did You Guess?
The city of Pamplona is famous for the Running of the Bulls, where bulls are turned loose in the streets and run through the town.  People from all over the world come to Pamplona to prove their courage (or silliness) by running in front of them.
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