Today is the second of January, and on this date in 1881, the Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate was in Paris to play the premiere of the Violin Concerto No. 3 by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Now perhaps that doesn’t strike you as the most important event in music history. But suppose I also told you that in 1875 Sarasate had been in Paris to play the premiere of the Symphonie Espagnole by Édouard Lalo; that in 1878 he’d played the premiere of Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 2; and that not only were the Saint-Saëns, the Lalo, and the Bruch all written for him, so too were the Bruch Scottish Fantasy, the Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and the Wieniawski Violin Concerto No. 2. Pablo de Sarasate, in other words, was a critical figure in the history of the 19 th century violin concerto, a brilliant virtuoso whose astonishing abilities inspired the composition of great and lasting works.
I’m Miles Hoffman, and this has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.