Niccolo Paganini
24 Caprices For Solo Violin


4.0
excellent

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (86 Reviews)
November 26th, 2012 | 30 replies | 1,925 views


Release Date: 1819 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Paganini's 24 Caprices are in essence a study of advanced violin techniques but notwithstanding these dry academic qualities there are still some very entertaining pieces of music to be found throughout.

Paganini was an Italian composer and virtuoso violinist who was born in Genoa in 1782. He was very popular as both a composer and performer during his lifetime and was a large influence on modern violin technique. This set of 24 pieces for solo violin were composed over a 15 year period and published in 1819. Part of the motivation for these compositions was to demonstrate various playing techniques such as double-stopped trills, fast left hand positioning and extremely rapid scales and arpeggios.

Boring history lesson over. Taken as a study of violin techniques this may well be a quite important set of compositions and is certainly a major technical achievement but is there any value in the music beyond that ? Is there anything to it that will appeal to us mortals who don't particularly care that 'Caprice number 24 uses a wide range of advanced techniques such as tremendously fast scales and arpeggios, double and triple stops, left hand pizzicato, parallel octaves and tenths, rapid shifting, and string crossings' but just want to hear a good tune ? Well, taken all together in one dose this stuff can be quite overwhelming and may well induce a sense of bored detachment. But Paganini wasn't just showing off here, the guy also had a good ear for an entertaining melody and a good sense of dynamics and taken in small doses a lot of the music can be highly entertaining. He likes to play around with a basic riff or motif on many of these pieces which he warps and embellishes throughout with ever more complex and demanding improvisation. Take the most famous composition, Caprice No. 24, for instance. This could well be familiar to many people who have never even heard of Pagini as it has entered the public conciousness in a way that Beethoven's 5th and some of Mozart's divertimenti have. Paganini applies ever more complex variations upon the famous opening riff until eventually the basic theme seems to vanish entirely among multiple layers of embellishment.

Caprice No.5 is an unabashed two and a half minutes of fast violin bowing that might well appeal to any fans of technical metal. Neo-classical metal was heavily influenced by the works of Paganini and the likes of Blackmore and Malmsteen were most likely avid students of his work. There is something of Johann Sebastian Bach about some of the music, especially Caprice No.2, and it would be fair to suppose that the young Niccolo was heavily influenced by the masterpiece that was Bach's 'Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin' which pre-dated his music by approximately 100 years.

This set of 24 solo violin pieces is often cited as a masterpiece in terms of its status as a study of advanced violin techniques but for the casual listener the music can feel rather dry and academic especially when consumed in one sitting. However, fans of technical virtuoso performances could well find a lot to love buried inside and when taken in small helpings the majority of the individual pieces are quite entertaining. This obviously doesn't have the depth of even the most mediocre offerings from the undoubted masters of classical composition but if you are in the mood for some unapologetically technical violin widdly-widdly this stuff should fit the bill nicely.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eeek, classical review on sput. Hope it wasn't too boring a read.

Some random youtube versions :-
Caprice 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXbLOBWTbDI
Caprice 5 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amfCqFUMBkY
Caprice 24 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-095jDDgrQo

(If you are after a decent version you can't go wrong with the Itzhak Perlman performances.)

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



19464 Comments


hmm very interesting and another good review. pos

Digging: The Who - Tommy

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



4507 Comments


prob #37 on my top albums of 1819.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

prob #37 on my top albums of 1819.


:]

Havey
November 26th 2012



9617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review. Only heard a couple of his Caprices, and didn't really dig them enough to check out more. I do like some very technically demanding stuff (Chopin comes to mind), but Paganini's style just seems to emphasize virtuosity rather than nuance or expressive depth and that's not really want I want in my classical you kno

Digging: Cecil Taylor - Dark to Themselves

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeh i agree Havey, not much depth to this stuff but it's fun sometimes

MeatSalad
November 26th 2012



14193 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey cool i've heard this

Digging: Love - Forever Changes

scissorlocked
November 26th 2012



3508 Comments


cool review

some Paganini now and then is essential


Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

CaptainDooRight
November 26th 2012



28353 Comments


oh shii

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

CaptainDooRight
November 26th 2012



28353 Comments


omg

pos hard

I CONFESS, I LUV CLASSICAL
I CONFESS, I LUV CLASSICAL
I CONFESS, I LUV CLASSICAL
I CONFESS, I LUV CLASSICAL

not sure why that came out 4 timez

tommygun
November 26th 2012



23597 Comments


great review mate pos from me

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

dylanjones42
November 26th 2012



179 Comments


I ought to check this out. I just started getting really into Ewan Dobson this past week and he's got several Paganini inspired pieces as well as guitar renditions of his 2nd, 5th, and 24th Caprice I do believe.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds cool, will check him out. And thx for the kind replies guys.

Chortles
November 26th 2012



17909 Comments


bad review pos'd

Digging: Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah thx, and nice dig Pest

vanderb0b
November 26th 2012



3473 Comments


Awesome job! It's great to see classical reviews on Sputnik. And Paganini is absolutely badass. Also, Franz Liszt based a cycle of piano etudes on the caprices, they're pretty cool as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5NKBNi96R8&feature=relmfu


menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice link there dude, i definitely need to liszten more

fireandblood
November 26th 2012



198 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nice, well-written review. I very much prefer his concertos to this though, especially the first one.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2012



15800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea i think i've heard 1 and 4 got a cd somewhere with them on, nice stuff

balazs
November 26th 2012



481 Comments


Loved the review, got me in the mood of listening to these. Pos'd



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