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CD: MDT AmazonUK

Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908)
Intégrale des Pièces pour Violon et Piano, volume 4: El Ruiseñor
Serenata Andaluza, op.28 (1878) [6:30]
Balada, op.31 [8:24]
Bolero, op.30 (1885) [5:52]
Airs Ecossais, op.34 (1883) [8:38]
Sérénade Andalouse, op.10 (1865) [5:05]
El Canto del Ruiseñor, op.29 (1885) [9:01]
Melodía Rumana, op.47 (1901) [3:19]
Confidences, op.7 [5:44]
L'Esprit Follet, op.48 [4:30]
Diego Tosi (violin)
Denis Pascal (piano)
rec. 12-13 June 2011; 13 April 2009 (op.10), 27 February 2010 (op.48), 22-23 December 2010 (opp.29, 34, 47). No venue given. DDD
SOLSTICE SOCD 263 [57:35]

Experience Classicsonline

This is the fourth and final volume of French label Solstice's 'Complete Works for Violin and Piano' series dedicated to Spanish composer Pablo Sarasate; the nobiliary particle 'de' is usually dropped in Spanish usage, as it is on this disc. All the works are performed by Diego Tosi and Denis Pascal. 

Sarasate's phenomenal technique as a soloist is well demonstrated by these pieces, which aspire to greater things than his candescent potpourris, confined in this series to volume 1 (SOCD 260). Still, the majority are around the five-minute mark in length, and thus cannot entirely throw off the salon music epithet. That said, much of the music here is of considerable stand-alone merit. That fact is announced immediately by the opening item, the first of the two Andalusian Serenades, where evocative melodies jostle with violinistic fireworks.
This volume is subtitled 'El Ruiseñor', after Sarasate's op.29, The Song of the Nightingale in English. According to Diego Tosi in his notes, such is the theme that loosely unites these final pieces. Certainly there are plenty of memorable tunes, often soaring to heights that a skylark, let alone a nightingale, would be proud of. One of the loveliest works is the Airs Ecossais, which Sarasate dedicated to no less a master than Eugène Ysaÿe, and serves as a convenient reminder too that Max Bruch dedicated his Scottish Fantasy to Sarasate - let alone the fact that the latter had countless other leading composers queuing up to do the same with their own various violin masterpieces.
A personal favourite of Sarasate's was the title work, an outstanding tribute to the filigree song of the nightingale and a testament to his own violin wizardry. Diego Tosi may not be another Sarasate, but he sure does a fine impersonation of one in a performance full of elegance, warmth and wit, quite apart from all the virtuosity. By comparison pianist Denis Pascal has relatively little to do, but supports Tosi very attentively nonetheless.
Sound quality is top-class in what is probably a French studio recording - the CD does not specify location. The disc comes in a digipak-style case: the booklet slides into a slot, which is normally a bad idea, but in this case it is slim and the slot made of strong card, so it will probably last well enough. There are detailed notes on the works in French and English - odd that there is no Spanish translation for a Spanish composer. No biographies of Tosi or Pascal have been provided either: presumably these appeared in volume 1.
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