PABLO DE SARASATE
A brilliant violinist himself, Sarasate wrote Carmen Fantasy in 1883 and dedicated it to Joseph Hellmesberger, an accomplished Austrian violinist and composer. One of the most famous fantasy pieces for violin, it has five movements that each draw upon motifs from different acts in Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera. The first movement, Allegro moderato, contains an adaptation of the Aragonaise (a triple meter dance) from the Act IV Entr’acte, embellished with glissando and left-hand pizzicato. The second, Moderato, uses elements from the famous Act I aria the Habanera (“L’amour est un oiseau rebelle,” or, “Love is a rebellious bird”). The slow and scintillating Lento assai, which ends on a flageolet, marks a contrast before the fourth movement quickly returns to Allegro mod- erato—now based on a different dance from Act I, the Seguidilla. The piece concludes grandly with a vibrant Moderato, derived from Act II’s opening “Chanson Bohème,” and a fantastic virtuosic acceleration.
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