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Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Music for Violin and Orchestra - Vol. 4
Introduction et Tarantelle, Op. 43 [5:02]
Jota de San Fermín, Op. 36 [5:56]
Fantaisie sur le Don Juan de Mozart, Op. 51 [10:31]
Fantaisie sur Der Freischütz de Weber, Op. 14 [12:34]
Jota de Pamplona, Op. 50 [6:46]
Airs écossais, Op. 34 [9:34]
Le Rêve, Op. 53 [11:18]
L’Esprit follet, Op. 48 [5:01]
Tianwa Yang (violin)
Navarra Symphony Orchestra/Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
rec. 9-13 November 2009, Baranain Concert Hall, Pamplona, Spain
NAXOS 8.572276 [67:08]

Violinist Tianwa Yang is here to take us on another first-class ride down the Sarasate Express.
 
This is the last orchestral instalment of the series; the rest of the complete violin music will have Yang accompanied by piano. The playing is here as perfectly matched to the composer as it was in the previous volumes: big, warm, romantic tone, luxurious treatment for all the melodies, and a virtuosity so easy that the word “easy” somehow seems insufficient.
 
Every time I review a Yang album I try again to describe what makes her playing so bewitching. Maybe it’s that, hearing her play, the music-making sounds as easy as picking up a violin and a bow and magically producing golden sounds. Maybe it’s how generous she is, sharing a romantic spirit with violinists who recorded albums in the 1930s. Maybe it’s the warmth and “width” of the sound she produces.
 
At any rate, Naxos’s choice of pairing her with Sarasate was always inspired. Here she gets some lesser fare and makes it all sound lovely, from the Don Giovanni fantasy - none of the darker motifs are present, nor “La ci darem” - to the rather more interesting fantasy on Weber. There’s a multi-ethnic theme: Introduction and Tarantella, a Spanish jota, even some Scottish airs. Although I don’t think there are any hidden masterworks here, there are certainly pleasures. Best of these is Le Rêve, a surprising tone poem which takes the listener to places Sarasate hardly ever goes.
 
The Navarra Symphony continues to be an adequate backing band, and the sound quality is as good as ever. Collectors of this series should rejoice, although most of the best music was in the earlier volumes.
 
Brian Reinhart   

Reviews of earlier releases in this series: Volume 1 ~~ Volume 2 ~~ Volume 3


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