Nicolo Paganini dazzled audiences in his time with his unprecedented virtuosity, made women swoon (and men envious), and helped to create the myth that he must have sold his soul for such abilities. In truth, Paganini was a gifted creator of original melodies, as well as variations on opera arias and popular tunes of his day. His 24 Caprices for unaccompanied violin are beloved by violinists (and somewhat intimidating, I’m sure, to students), and are often played as encores. American violinist Rachel Barton Pine has taken it one step further: being among the very few who perform all 24 caprices in concerts. Having done so for many years, she’s now documented her special take on these intimate, yet very flashy, solo violin miniatures.
Click here to read John Pitman’s review and listen to his interview.