University Of Tasmania
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The twenty-four caprices of Niccolo Paganini: their significance for the history of violin playing and the music of the Romantic era

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posted on 2023-05-26, 04:38 authored by Borer, P
This project attempts to describe and elucidate the compositional and instrumental character of the 24 Caprices of Niccolo Paganini and their far-reaching influence on violin playing and on musical creativity up to the present time. There is also the wider inspirational value which can be traced in literature, poetry, and fine arts. The first Chapter aims to place the 24 Caprices in their historical perspective. The reception accorded to the work by prominent musicians of the time (in particular Chopin, Liszt and Schumann) whose attention was drawn to the concept of virtuosity as an essential parameter in musical composition, is emphasised and examined. Chapter II investigates the unique significance of the dedication \alii Artisti\" which suggests a Romantic manifesto some ten years before Hugo's prefaces to Cromwell and to the Eastern Lyrics. Chapter III investigates Paganini's instrumental and musical background. It has often been claimed that Paganini was self-taught. However evidence of his all-important early training in violin and composition makes him the true heir of the old Italian masters representing at the same time a vital milestone for subsequent development of instrumental and compositional techniques. Paganini can thus be seen as representing a link between the classico-romantic and modem attitudes to instrumental writing reaching well into the twentieth century. In Chapter IV some aspects of Paganini's compositional and performing styles are examined. A striking interpretative concept (the \"suonare parlante\") is discussed. Special consideration is given to instrumental techniques which are not employed in the Caprices. Their absence suggests that the Caprices represent a perhaps intentionally restrained statement of Paganini's violinistic knowledge. Chapter V traces the origins of the violin Caprice and its development as a musical genre. The Appendices include an analysis of selected Caprices a diplomatic transcript of Caprices 1-4 a facsimile of the manuscript as well as supporting documents such as Feuillets d'album and scales written by Paganini."


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