Sarasate Orchestral Works Vol. 4

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

This release concludes Tianwa Yang’s series of Sarasate’s complete orchestral works. The project has been a smart one for the young violinist: repertoire that displays her considerable talent to fine effect, but that hasn’t been done to death. The major works here are typical of the series: two opera fantasies, with the remainder consisting of shorter character pieces, some on a Spanish theme (in this case two Jotas), and the rest taking in a wider range of reference, including the delicious Airs écossais. The whole selection constitutes a highly varied and entertaining program for continuous listening (or not, as you please).

The big works are the fantasies on Don Giovanni and Der Freischütz, and Le Rêve, which is virtually a tone poem for violin and orchestra. It’s fashionable to disparage these operatic showpieces, but it’s really great fun discovering the way Sarasate arranges the famous tunes for the violin. Hearing the dark motive of Samiel in Der Freischütz reduced to two pizzicato plinks in the treble is unintentionally hilarious, but the songful chorale for the four horns from the overture’s introduction works surprisingly well as played by the violin in double stops.

Most importantly, Tianwa Yang plays all of this music with her by now customary virtuosity and finesse. The two Jotas have plenty of gusto, while the concluding L’Esprit follet constitutes a miracle of lightness and fairytale atmospherics. As with the previous releases, Yang is very capably accompanied by Ernest Martínez Izquierdo at the helm of the orchestra that Sarasate himself founded, and Naxos’ sonics flatter the performers.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None

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