Carmen Fantasy, op. 25

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            Sarasate was one of the preëminent violinists of the nineteenth century.  Born in Pamplona, Spain, he studied there early on before attending the Paris Conservatory, and then embarking upon a life of world-wide touring.  The dedicatee of numerous compositions for violin by some of the luminaries of the world’s composers, he composed many light pieces for himself.  He was not a violinist of the dramatic and fiery ilk, but a rather a light and effortless performer that some would characterize as of the “salon” variety.   He had a silky and formidable technique, and apparently played with a superbly confident, but rather detached emotion.  Wildly popular at the time, Sarasate left a  legacy for present day virtuoso violinists in the form of a wealth of highly entertaining salon pieces.  They include the evergreen Zigeunerweisen and the Concert Fantasies--of which that on tunes from Bizet’s opera, Carmen, is still a concert favorite.  Like all of his compositions, it’s practically a compendium of dazzling violinist’s feats, not to speak of an entertaining treat, to boot. 

--Wm. E. Runyan

©2020 William E. Runyan