Friday, June 24, 2016

Paganini's 24 Caprices

A rare opportunity to hear a world-class violinist 
play one of the most challenging pieces in the repertoire

Friday 24th June, 6pm - one or two places left

Encore performance on Saturday 25th at 5pm

Graf Mourja, violin
playing a Giovanni Grancino violin, Milan,1707

Gold Medal 'Violin Masters' Competition, Monte Carlo, 2010
Russian President's Award (Yeltsin)
Honoured Artist of Russia, 2004

Paganini, 24 Caprices for Violin, Opus1

Nicolo Paganini was born in 1782 in Genoa. He was the original superstar of music. Liszt  in his teens was inspired by Paganini and went on to become a superstar himself, dazzling audiences on the piano has Paganini did on the violin.

... a consummate showman. A favorite trick was to play with worn strings and then, as they broke, to complete a concert with the three, two or even one string remaining. His tickets cost up to five times the standard rate. He did little to discourage rumors that he consorted with the devil and surely looked the part, with a gaunt skeletal body, angular stiff movements, long black hair, sallow waxen complexion, dark penetrating eyes and entirely black dress.

"...gaunt skeletal body, angular stiff movements,
long black hair, sallow waxen complexion,
dark penetrating eyes and entirely black dress."

Paganini's 24 Caprices and Bach's suites and partitas are the definitive works for solo violin.The Caprices were composed in three batches, starting in 1802 and finished in 1817. 

The Caprices were written to dazzle. They comprise some of the most technically challenging music ever written for the violin. Only a handful of violinists in any epoch play them. According to Gutmann, "Few violinists dare to play Paganini nowadays, and even fewer seem willing to risk recording him."

The Caprices start off as a collection of technical studies. As they progress they become more complex, many taking the ABA form (theme A, theme B, back to theme A). They also become more lyrical, taking the style of Bel Canto opera, with extensive recitatives, arias and even duets. Some have motifs: two have hunting themes; one sounds like a bagpipe.

The culmination of the set is the famous No. 24 which is a theme and eleven variations. The theme has been used as the theme for variations by more composers than any other piece: not only Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Brahms, but a total of 46 composers and musicians are listed in Wikipedia as having written pieces based on No. 24.

We are very fortunate to have a violinist of the stature of Graf Mourja coming to play the Caprices for us. Graf has performed the complete set more than thirty times. He is currently a professor at Moscow Conservatory. 

His career began in the early nineties with a string of prizes at major international competitions, such as the Paganini Competition in Genoa, the Vianna da Motta in Lisbon, the Jacques Thibaud in Paris and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Most recently, in 2010, Graf won the Gold Medal at the Violin Masters Competition in Monte Carlo. Graf also received the President's Award from Boris Yeltsin and is an Honoured Artist of Russia. 

Graf has recorded on top CD labels such as Harmonia Mundi and Melodia as well as recording for  Alpha, Integral, Hanssler-Verlag, Naxos, Chant du Monde and Classical Records. He has collaborated with pianists such as Barry Douglas and Denis Matsuev, amongst many others.

Graf plays a 1707 violin by Giovanni Grancino.

Reservations: 1,000 baht per person.

Email for reservations. For more information call 038 069681 during office hours. Due to limited number of places payment must be received before the day.

Directions to Eelswamp
: can be found at the bottom of this page: If you haven't been to Eelswamp before I strongly urge you to find the venue before the day of the concert.

Taxi service to Eelswamp: we recommend Grabtaxi

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