Homage to Sarasate


Sarasate’s Spanish Dances and Carmen Fantasy with legendary pianist Samuel Sanders



Sarasate’s Spanish Dances and Carmen Fantasy with legendary pianist Samuel Sanders

Track Listing
Serenata Andaluza, Op. 28
Miramar, Op. 42
Introduction et tarantella, Op. 43

Malaguena, Op. 21, No. 1
Habanera, Op. 21, No. 2
Romanza Andaluza, Op. 22, No.1
Jota Navarra, Op. 22, No. 2
Playera, Op. 23, No.1
Zapateado, Op. 23, No.2
Spanish Dance No. 7, Op. 26, No. 1
Spanish Dance No. 8, Op. 26, No. 2
Muiniera, Op. 32
Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25



Dates Recorded: February 1994 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY
Producer: Ann-Marie Barker
Engineers: Craig D. Dory, David H. Walters, Brian C. Peters
Violin: “ex-Lobkowicz” A&H Amati, Cremona, 1617
Piano: Steinway D, courtesy of Troy Chromatic Concerts, Inc.
Piano Technician: Daniel C. Jessie
Post Session Producer: Sergio Bernal
Editor: Jonathan Marcus
Booklet Preparation & Editing: Katherine A. Dory
Graphic Design: design M design W
Executive Producer: Brian M. Levine
Cover Painting: “Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Senor Pablo de Sarasate” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, PA), Purchase, 96.2

Special Thanks: Donald Draganski and John Carsello of the Roosevelt University Music Library, Chicago; and Lee, Mike and Paul from Performer’s Music

Personal Note

This, my first CD, was recorded when I was 18. After hearing me perform in the finals of the Kreisler International Competition in Vienna in 1992, Dorian invited me to make an album of works by the great 19th-century Spanish violin virtuoso and composer Pablo de Sarasate. I had performed Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy often over the years, and I had also learned a few of his other famous works, including the Introduction and Tarantelle, Zapateado, and Zigeunerweisen. To prepare for this album, I collected and learned every other piece he wrote. Although time-consuming, the familiarity I acquired with Sarasate’s style now helps me interpret on a much deeper level such Spanish-flavored works as Saint-Saens’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and the Symphonie Espagnole by Lalo, which were dedicated to him.

As Dorian and I decided to stay with a Spanish theme, I eliminated the Zigeunerweisen, Sarasate’s other opera fantasies, and his beautiful French pieces. Choosing my favorites from among the remaining works was a challenge, and those selected include some great ones. The Muiniera, with its hurdy-gurdy imitation, was an especially intriguing discovery.

Working with pianist Samuel Sanders was a great honor. I had grown up listening to him collaborate with Perlman on recordings and in performance, and he always was an inspiring chamber musician. During our rehearsals and recording sessions, he also proved to be a generous mentor. Not only did he give me invaluable musical advice and suggestions, but he also led me through the process of working with recording engineers and pacing myself emotionally during the sessions. Whenever I started to feel stress, Sam’s good humor chased it away. I will always miss him and remember him with love and gratitude.

Press Reviews

“A brilliant introduction to a young musician with a long career ahead… This Chicago native plays Sarasate seemingly as easy as tying a shoelace… This is the finest Sarasate exhibition since Aaron Rosand.”
Soundings Magazine

“What a pleasure to hear this delicious music performed with such verve!… Barton demonstrates wonderful musicianship throughout this recital, along with a technique which is excitingly dazzling even in this era of dazzling techniques.”

Performance 10/9 Sound Quality
“Barton’s generous Sarasate program (78 minutes!) shows the quality that separates art from prestidigitation: poetic sensibility… Barton applies her agile, stylish, warmly colored playing to a cluster of Spanish Dances and the famous Carmen Fantasy. I used this sonically vivid CD to audition loudspeakers at the Summer Consumer Electronics show in Chicago, and at every stop the mix of infectious music and Barton’s crisp, flavorful playing piqued listeners’ curiosity. It’s an endlessly repeatable delight.”
CD Review

“…beguiling… moments of an almost excruciating beauty… [Barton] leans into the sensuous curves of the melodies in a most enticing way.”
Stereo Review

“Rachel Barton is just right for this music, and she has enough technique to play it to advantage. Does she ever!… She has a big, bold sound, with a sweetness that is delightful… But more important, she has a remarkable sense of rhythm, of structure, and she gets these sultry dances just right.”
Ultra High Fidelity Magazine

A Recording Made in Heaven
“The recording is definitive, the artistry memorable. Here’s how piano and violin are meant to sound in the best seat in the house… Repeated playing has failed to dim my ardor for all involved. If this recording doesn’t redefine how seductive a good violin and violinist can be, you need a new sound system.”
Synergetic Audio Concepts

“These are zestful, thrilling performances. Partnered so superbly by Samuel Sanders that they seem to be one person with two voices, [Rachel Barton] really gets into the atmosphere of old Spain… All in all, this is as remarkable a first recording for the young violinist as it is a daring choice of repertory to select for one’s maiden voyage among the recording media. Brava, Rachel Barton!”

“Rachel Barton’s wizardry is to be heard to be believed… A terrific recital.”
Soundscapes Australia

“A killer performance by the [18]-year-old on a Spanish classical program just amazes and astounds. Her touch and sound are absolutely wonderful and it’s exciting that this is just the beginning. Hot stuff.”
Midwest Record Recap

“Rachel Barton recorded this debut recital when she was in her teens. I immediately realized I was discovering a major violinist…The natural musicianship, the ability to remain expressive while tossing off cascades of notes, and the beautiful sound were all indicators too obvious to miss… Barton positively sparkles, as does Samuel Sanders.”

“Fabulous fiddling.”
Washington Post

“This violin music may not be deep, but it is delicious throughout, like a fine dessert. Young violinist Rachel Barton plays it with an astonishing feel for its rhythm and melody.”
The Audiophile Store

“Lipid, sweet phrasing that would make Sarasate smile. A welcome change from the guts ‘n’ gore fiddlers and repertoire that are so common these days.”
Romain’s Top Ten List

Fan Comments

This is one of my favorite recordings in my collection of more than 1200 CDs. The interpretation of the music of Pablo de Sarasate does not come much better. There is great energy and interplay between the musicians. In my opinion, the interpretation here is true to the spirit of Sarasate, whose artistic was know for the purity of the tone of his playing, which was free from any tendency towards the sentimental or rhapsodic, and to his brilliance in executing challenging technique. Like most of Sarasate’s music, the melodies are accessible and they are mainly flashy show-pieces designed to demonstrate his exemplary technique. Rachel Barton’s technique and unique sound of the 400-year-old Amati violin that she uses here is nothing short of astonishing. The Carmen Fantasy is absolutely brilliantly played – far better than the recording of the same piece by Anne-Sophie Mutter. I would highly recommend this recording to anyone with two ears who is interested in superior violin playing. – R.J. Brand ( customer)

If you like classical violins, this has got to be one of the best CDs around. I listened to my son’s copy over and over and am now buying my own. I could listen to this CD over and over and not get tired of it. Truly beautiful, the peak of the art. – ( customer)


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