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
September 20
1460 - Death of Belgian composer Gilles Binchois in Soignies.

1795 - Birth of German composer Charles Zeuner in Eisleben.

1800 - Birth of American composer Benjamin Franklin White.

1877 - Birth of Belgian conductor and composer Armand Marsick in Liege.

1878 - First performance of Tchaikovsky's Valse-scherzo for violin and orchestra. Nicolai Rubinstein conducting and Stanislaw Barcewicz the soloist in Paris.

1880 - Birth of Italian composer and teacher Ildebrando Pizzetti in Parma.

1890 - Birth of Canadian violinist Kathleen Parlow in Alberta.

1900 - Birth of Finnish composer Uuno Klami in Virolahti.

1906 - Birth of American composer David Sheinfeld in St. Louis, MO.

1911 - Birth of Dutch composer Jan Mul in Haarlem.

1930 - Premiere of Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 5.
1945 - Birth of American computer-music composer Laurie Spiegel in Chicago.

1954 - Premiere of Igor Stravinsky's In Memoriam Dylan Thomas conducted by Robert Craft in LA, CA.

1957 - Death of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in Finland, at age 91.

1975 - Premiere of Jack Beeson's opera Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines in Kansas City, MO.
Can You Guess?
We read about Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March #5 below, but it is #1 that most folks know.  Can You Guess what ceremony people associate with Pomp and Circumstance #1?  If you do, we'll send you to the head of the class!

Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate died September 20, 1908 in Biarritz.

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.
Pablo de Sarasate
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
The Dance of the Goblins
violin & piano
The Dance of the Goblins for violin & piano by A.Bazzini sheet music download
Download this sheet music title now
Halloween's Coming
Is Your Fiddle Ready?
This one's hard,
but boy, is it fun!
If nothing else, listen to
the MIDI file of the piece.
Rachel Barton Pine plays Sarasate
Sarah Chang at age 9
Listen To This One!
Sarah Chang Plays Sarasate
she was 9 YEARS OLD!
Aaron Rossand's album is a good Sarasate collection.  Rachel Barton Pine's album includes Sarasate's Airs ecossais, Op. 34 played at her usual outstanding level.
I Luv Violin
Suzuki Rules Button
I Play Viola Button
Fiddler Crab Button
CafePress Violin Shirts
and Violists
Did You Guess?
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 is traditionally played at GRADUATIONS. Read the story about the first time that happened HERE.