Recorded on 01/01/2006, uploaded on 02/03/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Throughout the early 1830s, the music world was entranced by
the performances of the violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini. He traveled Europe
performing his own compositions as well as those by his contemporaries and was
more than willing to display his near supernatural talent. As his fame spread,
so also did the rumors of his remarkable skill and it was often said that
Paganini had sold his soul to the devil to acquire such ability on the violin.
Though his career as a traveling virtuoso was cut short due
to health problems, Paganini's compositions for the violin lived on, even well
past his death in 1840. Many composers were inspired by his many caprices and
used them as the basis for their own compositions. Robert Schumann was one such
In 1832, Schumann composed his Six Etudes after Paganini
Caprices, op. 3. Unlike his later Concert Etudes on Caprices by
Paganini, op. 10, the op. 3 etudes were primarily intended for pedagogical
study rather than performance on the concert stage. Schumann's transcriptions,
like their violin models, are highly virtuosic, demanding a pianist with
exceptional flexibility and sensitivity. Perhaps the greatest challenge of
these etudes, as with any virtuosic piece, is to lift it above a dry exercise
in technique and give it a life of its own.
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