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Born: 1844, Pamplona, SpainDied: 1908, Biarritz, France

The undeniable talent of a youth who begins playing the violin at age five and gives a public performance at eight is only rarely sustained long enough to result in adult success, but Sarasate was one of the exceptions. Beginning studies at the Paris Conservatory in his twelfth year, Sarasate soon won prizes and honors and set off on tours of Europe and the Americas. The level of his playing impressed many of the composers of his time; several of them wrote concertos for him (e.g., Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Saint-Saƫns' Concerto No. 3). Sarasate's phenomenal technique and polished playing were also showcased in his own compositions. He was one of the few 19th-century masters who lived into the gramophone era; set down in 1904, Sarasate's few recordings offer a tantalizing souvenir of his playing.

Further listening:

Spanish Dances (violin and piano, 1878-1882)Ricci, Persinger (Decca)