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CD Review

Pablo de Sarasate

  • Carmen Fantasy
  • Zigeunerweisen
  • Spanish Dance #1 "Malagueña," Op. 21
  • Spanish Dance #2 "Habanera," Op. 21
  • Spanish Dance #3 "Romanza Andaluza," Op. 22
  • Spanish Dance #4 "Jota Navarra," Op. 22
  • Spanish Dance #5 "Playera," Op. 23
  • Spanish Dance #6 "Zapateado," Op. 23
  • Spanish Dance #7, Op. 26
  • Spanish Dance #8, Op. 26
  • Introduction and Tarantella, Op. 43
  • Navarra for Two Violins, Op. 33
  • Caprice Basque, Op. 24
Aaron Rosand, violin
Eileen Flissler, piano
Southwest German Radio Orchestra, Baden-Baden/Rolf Reinhardt
Vox Allegretto ACD8160 ADD 73:46
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Long awaited Sarasate by a master violinist. Rosand infuses these dances with smoldering glances and rhythmic dash. I had heard snippets of these performances over the years (from long-deleted LPs), but their full revival has surpassed all my expectations.

The pieces with orchestra, recorded in 1959, have lost some bloom. Comparing the Fantasy with Perlman's London Symphony account points up Rosand's relative lack of support. Still, the Baden-Baden forces hang with Rosand's even brisker tempi and play with elan. I found the Zigeunerweisen a little cloying – maybe I'm just not used to the phrasing he employs. Everywhere else, though, I was completely convinced that Rosand has no peer in his realization of Sarasate's dances; here is the perfect alloy of technique and interpretive insight. The "Jota Navarra" is a joy, and the "Navarra" for two violins (Rosand on both violins) evokes a throng of dancers. In the more familiar works, the "Habanera" and the "Zapateado" – those staples of encore albums and conservatory hotshots – Rosand offers fresh insights, translating each technical hairpin into a memorable, musical gesture.

Copyright © 1998, Robert J. Sullivan