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]

In my review of Volume 3 of Tianwa Yang’s Sarasate series for Naxos, I wrote the following:-
“Anyone interested in stunning violin artistry should buy this amazing disc straight away. It’s one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time. I hadn’t come across Tianwa Yang’s Sarasate series for Naxos before but I will certainly search out the other discs as a matter of some urgency. Her playing is simply extraordinary - no wonder she’s been described as “A Pride of China”.” 
The playing on this latest, and final, volume maintains the fabulous standards of musicianship heard in previous issues. Virtuoso passages are thrown off as if they are simple Grade 1 violin pieces. There’s more to it than that, though. Her tone remains creamy, clear and warm throughout and there’s not the the slightest hint of strain. Her artistry is never in doubt.
It’s hard to make any huge claims for any of the works included on this CD. Everything is well-crafted, tuneful and easy on the ear. The music isn’t crammed with virtuosity just for the sake of it - there are many wistful, legato passages that catch the ear. Anyone who enjoys Paganini and the likes of Zigeunerweisen, Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnol will find this entire programme right up their street.

The openingIntroduction and Tarantella sets the scene for the rest of the disc. We are treated to a large, warm violin image supported by a somewhat undetailed orchestral backcloth. The orchestral playing is very good and offers excellent support to the soloist. The conductor, Ernest Martínez Izquierdo, makes sure that the music is never made to sound shallow or trivial. He treats it with great respect. This is a fine partnership.

The Jota de San Fermin is light salon music with a lyrical central section featuring some absolutely bang in tune double-stopping. Sarasate’s fantasies on Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Weber’s Der Freischütz, both get the full virtuoso treatment. The Weber is the more inventive and interesting of the two. Listeners who don’t know the opera will immediately recognise many of the themes used. They are taken from Weber’s well known overture. Those interested in technical aspects of the violin will appreciate the stupendous flying staccato playing by Tiana Yang. It’s all made to sound ridiculously effortless.
To summarise I challenge anyone to pick holes in the performances on offer here by Tianwa Yang. I simply can’t imagine this tuneful, technically demanding music being played any better than this. Full marks and a fitting finale to a great series.
John Whitmore 

Previous review: Brian Reinhart

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


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