Sarasate Letters: Beloved Mother

T17530_Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist & composer   c 1863_extend

During a two-year concert tour of America, violinist Pablo Sarasate corresponded with his adoptive mother Amélie de Lassabathie in Paris. His surviving letters have been translated for the first time into English by Nicholas Sackman and Bastien Terraz, who present a digest of their contents

Pablo Sarasate was born on 10 March 1844 in Pamplona, Spain. Demonstrating an extraordinary facility for playing the violin, he was sent for tuition at the Madrid Conservatoire. In 1855 it was decided that he should complete his studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Jean-Delphin Alard. In July of that year he set off for the French capital with his mother, whose sudden death during the journey led to him being welcomed into the Paris home of conservatoire administrator Théodore de Lassabathie and his wife, Amélie. The couple, being childless, treated Sarasate as the son they never had. He referred to Amélie as his ‘mother’, and Amélie referred to him as ‘the Baby’. In 1857 the conservatoire awarded Sarasate a premier prix for violin.

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