Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for Niccolò Paganini

 
              I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my theme this year is classical music. Check out the list of other participants by clicking here! N is for Niccolò Paganini. He was an Italian composer and violinist who lived from 1782 to 1840. Today’s featured video is Niccolò Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 in A Minor performed by Alexander Markov. He plays this piece stunningly well, there’s even a point around the 3-minute mark where the camera frames can’t seem to keep up with Alexander’s finger movements!


 
 

By Jean Auguste
Dominique Ingres
   ·   Niccolò Paganini’s father began teaching him the mandolin at age 5, then he learned the violin by age 7. When his family realized his talent, they had him study with various local violinists.
 
   ·   He moved to Parma, Italy in 1795 to get further training, but he was told that there was nothing more they could teach him. He began training himself and would practice up to 15 hours a day!
 
   ·   He once borrowed a violin made by Giuseppe Guarneri for a concert from a wealthy business man named Livron. After the concert, Livron refused to take it back because of how well Paganini played. That violin is now known as Il Cannone Guarnerius and is on display in Genoa, Italy.
 
   ·   Paganini was called “Witch’s Child” and many people believed that he made a pact with the devil because his playing ability appeared to be supernatural.  Paganini enjoyed it. According to inmozartsfootsteps.com, “he would dress completely in black and sometimes arrive at a concert in a black carriage pulled by four black horses.”
 
Bartolomeo giuseppe guarneri, violino cannone, appartenuto a niccolò paganini, cremona 1743
Il Cannone Guarnerius
   ·   His abilities may have been caused by a medical condition. It is believed that he had Marfan syndrome or Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, which could have accounted for his very long fingers and excessive flexibility of the joints.
 
   ·   His works, especially “La Campanella” and A Minor Caprice No. 24, have inspired many composers, including Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
 
            Yesterday’s trivia: Which member of Mozart's family is speculated to be the composer of the Toy Symphony? Answer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father, Leopold Mozart, may have composed the Toy Symphony which includes parts for toy instruments. Although, there are other possibilities for its origin.
            For this challenge, I’m keeping a playlist of the videos I’m using plus some extras for anyone who wants to hear more. I will update with the latest letter each day. In the video I added today, we hear another instrument Niccolò Paganini was fond of: the guitar. The extra video I added is Paganini’s Grand Sonata in A for guitar and violin.
 


 
Do you know any violinists? Have they attempted the Caprice No. 24? Trivia: Who played Niccolò Paganini in the 2013 movie, The Devil's Violinist?

23 comments:

  1. My father played viola in school. He was so tall they put him on the larger instrument. (My mother has Ehlers-Danlos. She never took up a musical instrument, though.)

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

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    1. Denise, I thought so, too. Alexander Markov is amazing on the violin!

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  3. I wonder if his neck and hands would get sore from practicing 15 hours a day.

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    1. Cynthia, I imagine they would, that is a long practice time!

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  4. It would take long fingers to perform at that level. I've seen some performances of exceptional electric violin playing. (Which takes the instrument to a whole new level.)

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    1. Alex, I've probably heard it played before, but I have never seen an electric violin. Here comes my next YouTube rabbit trail...

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  5. The only violinist I know is my daughter and she's only been playing for 8 months. But still, I'm impressed with how far she has come. I'd like to see that movie on Paganini.

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    1. Tamara, it sounds like your daughter is a fast learner. I think learning an instrument is good for childhood cognitive development.

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  6. Very interesting he was; I hadn't heard of him, but obviously heard of the 2 syndromes mentioned with my work typing medical reports.

    I can't imagine practicing 15 hours a day; I'll have to tell hubby that :)

    No, I don't know of any violinists; but it is a beautiful instrument to hear!

    betty

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    1. Betty, I agree that violin music is beautiful! I cannot believe he practiced that long, I would grow tired of the instrument or just plain tired!

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  7. Absolutely amazing. I loved the fact that he capitalized on the witch's child aspect:) Sounds like he was having fun with it:)

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    1. Sandra, Yeah, he sounded like an interesting man to be around. There probably weren't many dull moments!

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  8. Interesting that a disfigurement could have led to his greatness. That should be encouraging to everyone with a disability or ailment.

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  9. Very interesting because I have Ehlers-Danlos type 3 the hyper mobility type. I can move more easily but it is very painful now because it creates scar tissue. He must have been in constant pain later. It is not something I would wish on anyone.

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    1. Birgit, I'm sorry to hear that :( Both of those syndromes sound like they have a potential for great pain.

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    2. No potential...it does create severe pain and there is nothing once can do. It is constant like a toothache in every joint...even my toes and jaw

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  10. When my son chose the violin in music class I was so proud. Then he chose football, and the violin was forgotten. :(
    Love violin music. Love my son too! :)

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    1. Yolanda, it's great that you let your son have a choice in his activities! I've heard of parents who force instrument lessons and the kids end up hating it.

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  11. He had a medical condition, which sounds quite painful, yet still persevered...putting in such long hours of practise...and then still reached such great heights with his "supernatural" abilities.
    Wow, talk about self-discipline...really inspiring.
    Writer In Transit

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    1. Michelle, his life is inspiring! It makes me realize that I should make better use of my time.

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