Today’s the anniversary of the birth of violin god Pablo de Sarasate. Sarasate grew up an amazingly gifted violin prodigy and soloist, known for his purity of tone and technical brilliance. Luckily, he composed and left behind a wealth of violin repertoire, composing exclusively for violin (with piano or orchestra accompaniment) much in the same manner Chopin composer exclusively for piano. He included the music of his country in his works, and his uniquely classical/Spanish sound influenced composers Lalo, Bizet, and Saint-Saens.
The “Carmen Fantasy” was based on Bizet’s opera, and it’s so exciting and full of so much flashy bowing it leaves the audience (and soloist) in a sweaty frenzy. It’s a perfect treatment of Carmen: filled with daring, flair, and fire, just like the temptress herself.
Here’s Anne-Sophie Mutter performing “Carmen Fantasy” with the Tanglewood Youth Orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Mutter is known for her strong, almost rough playing, and has talked about preferring the feel of her violin against her skin – a terrific excuse for glamorous strapless gowns. Mutter’s rich, vibrant opening notes in the “Carmen Fantasy” are stunning.
Pablo Sarasate was born March 10, 1844 in Pamplona, Spain, and died September 20, 1908, in Biarritz, France.