Wednesday Music: Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole

Today’s piece was written by French composer Édouard Lalo. It’s called Symphonie espagnole in D minor, Op. 21. It’s one of the hardest pieces for the violin, if you ask me. I’ve played a bit of the first movement and had a lot of trouble with the rhythms and some of the extremely high notes. Here’s a bit about it.

  • Lalo wrote this piece in 1874 for Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasote, who was also a composer. It’s one of Lalo’s most-performed pieces today.
  • According to musical legend, this piece inspired Tchaikovsky to write his own violin concerto. While living in Switzerland, he became acquainted with the piece through a pupil who brought it back from Europe—and the rest, as they say, was history.
  • Though Lalo was French, the piece is called Spanish Symphony. In this era, Spanish-themed music was very in vogue, so it has many Spanish motifs throughout.

Enjoy! The first movement is my favorite, so at least listen to that. 🙂

Or click here to see on YouTube.


5 thoughts on “Wednesday Music: Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole

  1. Goodness merciless gracious. Look at the way he climbs to seventh position without even trying. *dies* Apparently I need to practice more, but this is a gorgeous piece. I can definitely hear the same elements that you often here in Tchaikovsky’s concerto. Fascinating! Thank you for this tidbit! ^.^ I always wanted to take music history lessons, but never had the time in college. This is such a treat.


      1. Believe me, I’m probably not as amazing as you think! 🙂 Seventh is a struggle for me, too. And don’t get me started about sixth. Something about those even-numbered positions really confuses me!

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      2. Oh man! Any even numbered position is dreadful. I can never remember placement for second and especially not for fourth. Ugh. I should find time to practice. Now I feel like I’m neglecting my violin. Poor thing. :/


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