Wednesday Music: Sarasate’s ‘Zigeunerweisen’

I don’t think I’ve ever featured Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate’s music on this blog. Sarasate was an accomplished violinist, which means everything he composed for violin is crazy hard. Today’s piece, Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs, and I have no idea why it’s usually known by that German name), Op. 20. Here’s a bit about it.

  • The piece is written for solo violin and orchestra. Sarasate wrote it in 1878 and it premiered in Germany that same year.
  • It’s written in one movement but can be divided into four sections based on the tempo: a section with a moderate tempo, two slower sections, then a very fast section at the end. All of the sections are very difficult to play, though.
  • This work has been popular with violinists for over a century, since Sarasate recorded it in 1904.


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