Album: Thomas Zehetmair, Niccolò Paganini: 24 Capricci (ECM New Series)

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The Independent Culture

Paganini was the Robert Johnson of his day, with a technique so awe-inspiring it was rumoured to have diabolical origins.

His Caprices have become a virtuoso exercise by which a violinist marks their development, technically and as a measure of their expressive imagination. Zehetmair has the flamboyance required, from the mind-boggling spinato of the opening Andante and the scurrying glissandi which open the Agitato, both pieces blizzards of bowing industry, to the spidery pizzicato which animate Tema. He inhabits these pieces naturally, seeking out the most expressive nuances of touch and tempo in each bar of the music.

Download this: Andante in E major, Agitato in A minor