Characterized by great flair, well known melodies, and dazzling pyrotechnics, Sarasate’s compositions occupy a coveted position among the violin repertoire as standards and rites of passage. His works have also been transcribed by other instruments and serve as tremendous vehicles for show the soloists’ talents. His two most famous works are Zigeunerweisen, many times called Gypsy Airs, and Carmen Fantasy.
Written in four major sections, Zigeunerweisen spans the talents of the soloist from the opening improvisation on gypsy music with a great deal of technical flair and panache to the despairing melody, full of emotion and élan. Following this, the orchestra evokes a need for levity and Sarasate delivers promptly with a fast, nimble, and rambunctious dance that builds to a frenzy and whirlwind of notes.