Press Room

Gil Shaham salutes Sarasate with new CD

Violinists Adele
and Gil
share many
passions.  Along with their personal
relationship (they are married) and careers as performing artists, they both
feel a deep connection to the music of Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), the legendary Spanish violinist
and composer whose colorful dance- and song-inspired works are not only enormously
entertaining and irresistibly appealing, but also full of sometimes
hair-raising technical challenges. 
Following a number of concert performances at home and abroad dedicated
to the composer’s music, Adele and Gil recorded many of their favorites for a
new album, Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works, which will be released by Canary
– the
label Gil founded in 2004 – on Tuesday, September 29. Gil
and Adele will celebrate the release by performing an all-Sarasate program at
the popular downtown music club (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City.

Adele and
Gil used the occasion of Sarasate’s centenary in 2008 to pay tribute to the
revered master’s work.  One
highlight of their activities included a November concert at New York’s Lincoln
Center, broadcast live on public television, at which a much-surprised Gil was
awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, presented to him by his friend and
colleague conductor Gustavo Dudamel. 
The season’s festivities culminated in “¡Sarasateada!” – a series of Sarasate
concerts in Valladolid, Spain, which were recorded for this CD release.

Gil Shaham

“Sarasate’s compositions are full of
imagination and melody, impeccably clean and concise.  He was very respected in his day and was, in many ways, the
heir to Paganini.  Many great
composers dedicated their works to him – Saint-Saëns, Bruch, Lalo, and
others.  And he was a pioneer – the
first to bring the rich music and dance of the Spanish vernaculars to the
concert stage.  He was a Spanish
aristocrat from the Basque country who was honored by the Queen.  At the same time, he was loved worldwide
by professional and amateur musicians, as well as by the public at large.  Sarasate basically wrote three genres
of music: Spanish dances, opera transcriptions, and original compositions.  The new recording gives a sampling of
each of these and we hope that listeners will find as much to love in this
music as we do.”

Anthony, who makes her debut on the Canary Classics label with this recording,

“Like many violinists I grew up with
Sarasate, attempting to master some of his works, which offer a combination of
melody, violinistic idiom, and elegance and are often evocative of his native Spain.  While exploring his music I became more
and more impressed by his diversity and imagination, especially as presented in
his original work Song of the Nightingale.  To me,
this piece is exceptionally beautiful as well as thoughtfully presented.  I always enjoy playing Sarasate because
he uses violin techniques so organically that the music miraculously emerges.”

Following in
the footsteps of the showman Paganini, Pablo de Sarasate was the last of the 19th-century
larger-than-life virtuosos.  His seemingly
limitless technique was a factor that flowed into his compositions and imbued
them with a natural bravura that demands the most from those who perform
them.  The new release features
both the popular and the unexpected. 
Sarasate’s “Carmen” Fantasy (given a red-blooded live performance by Gil with the Orquesta
Sinfónica de Castilla y León), Zapateado, the raucous cowboy dance, and Introduction and
works that have challenged violinists for decades and never fail to dazzle
audiences.  Lesser known are such
wonderful works as Song of the Nightingale, Airs écossais, and Gavota de “Mignon”, which further demonstrate the
variety of his compositional gifts.  The disc concludes with the winsome stratospheric duo Navarra, a folk song derived from Navarre, Sarasate’s

You can see
Gil perform Sarasate’s “Carmen” Fantasy with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic at a
frequently-viewed YouTube video:

additional information on this new Sarasate recording, visit:

A full
track list for the album follows.


Sarasate: Virtuoso
Violin Works

¡Sarasateada! Valladolid

Gil Shaham,

Anthony, violin

Eguchi, piano

Sinfónica de Castilla y León*

Posada, conductor

1-5. “Carmen”
, Op. 25*
(Gil Shaham)

6.    Song of the Nightingale, Op. 29 (Adele Anthony)
7.    Habanera, Op. 26, No. 2 (Gil Shaham)
8.    Zapateado, Op. 23, No. 2 (Gil Shaham)
9.    Zortzico “Adiós
Montañas Mías”
, Op.
39* orch. Leo Blech (Gil Shaham)
10.  Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op. 20* (Gil Shaham)
11.  Airs écossais (Scottish Airs), Op. 34 (Adele
12.  Romanza Andaluza, Op. 22, No. 1 (Gil Shaham)
13.  Capricho Vasco (Basque Caprice), Op. 24 (Gil
14.  Gavota de “Mignon”, Op. 16 (Gil Shaham)
15.  Introduction and Tarantella, Op. 43 (Adele Anthony)
16.  Navarra for two violins, Op. 33* (Gil
Shaham, Adele Anthony)

CD and
downloads available September 29 on Canary Classics

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© 21C Media Group,
August 2009

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