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4.0 out of 5 stars Armenian-born Malikian's take on Paganini's 24 Caprices, 14 Aug 2010
Mr. Mark A. Meldon (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paganini: 24 Caprices (Audio CD)
I don't really know what to make of Paganini; was he a musical genius or just a showman? The 24 Caprices, Op.1 were the only works published during his lifetime and were printed in 1820. Some say that they represent the pinnacle of violin technique up to that date; many at the time thought them impossible to play, hence all the silly talk of Paganini having sold his soul to the Devil in order to do so!

Since 1820, the Caprices have become common, if not quite standard fare, in recordings and often one or two are played as encores after a violin concerto, for instance. According to the very brief notes in this budget Warner Apex release (one of the few that seem to have gone straight onto Warner's budget line rather than being a reissue from their copious back catalogue), this 2-CD set follows the repetition marks included in Paganini's autograph score which, in some cases, includes dynamic changes between repeats. According to Warner, in 2003 (when this CD set was issued) this was the first time that the Caprices have been recorded complete, without the typical cuts necessary to fit them onto a single CD. I do feel that trying to listen to all of the caprices in one go is a mistake, as they can easily tire the ear, but the album is very good for dipping into.

According to the web, the Aremenian-born (1968) Ara Malikian is now the lead violinist in the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and there are a few other recordings featuring him on amazon. Malikian certainly makes the sparks fly and is excellently recorded.

If you want representation of these very flashy pieces in your collection, I would suggest that this budget issue will be a fine choice.
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Paganini: 24 Caprices
Paganini: 24 Caprices by Ara Malikian Niccolò Paganinni (Audio CD - 2003)
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