Painted by Whistler, written of by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and cartooned in Vanity magazine, the violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908) with his dashing and bushy mustache was a cultural phenomenon. For his own use he composed over 50 works, all with charming melodies that evoke folk music from his native Spain. Unlike the most famous of all violin virtuosi/composers Paganini, Sarasate preferred to employ silvery virtuosity only in service of his overriding melodicism.
Sarasate, who had been playing in public since childhood, made his Paris debut as a concert violinist in 1860, and played in London the following year. Over the course of his career, he toured many parts of the world, performing in Europe, North America, and South America. His artistic pre-eminence was due principally to the purity of his tone, which was free from any tendency towards the sentimental or rhapsodic, and to that impressive facility of execution that made him a virtuoso.
Of Sarasate’s idiomatic writing for his instrument, the playwright and music critic George Bernard Shaw once declared that though there were many composers of music for the violin, there were but few composers of violin music. Of Sarasate’s talents as performer and composer, Shaw said that he “left criticism gasping miles behind him.”
Hear Pablo de Sarasate’s Navarro, along with other violin virtuoso pieces, this coming Sunday, June 24, at 3 pm. You can get tickets by calling 830-833-4762 or purchase online our Tickets Page. The performance will be in the beautiful Uptown Blanco Ballroom, 317 Main St on the Blanco Square.