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Paganini: 24 Caprices Op.1 CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Paganini
  • Audio CD (2 Mar. 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,335 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. No. 1 in E Major: Andante, 'L'arpeggio'
  2. No. 2 in B Minor: Moderato
  3. No. 3 in E Minor: Sostenuto - Presto
  4. No. 4 in C Minor: Maestoso
  5. No. 5 in a Minor: Agitato
  6. No. 6 in G Minor: Adagio
  7. No. 7 in a Minor: Posato
  8. No. 8 in E Flat Major: Maestoso
  9. No. 9 in E Major: Allegretto, 'La Chasse'
  10. No. 10 in G Minor: Vivace
  11. No. 11 in C Major: Andante - Presto
  12. No. 12 in a Flat Major: Allegro
  13. No. 13 in B Flat Major: Allegro, 'The Devil's Laughter'
  14. No. 14 in E Flat Major: Moderato
  15. No. 15 in E Minor: Posato
  16. No. 16 in G Minor: Presto
  17. No. 17 in E Flat Major: Sostenuto - Andante
  18. No. 18 in C Major: Corrente - Allegro
  19. No. 19 in E Flat Major: Lento - Allegro Assai
  20. No. 20 in D Major: Allegretto
  21. No. 21 in a Major: Amoroso
  22. No. 22 in F Major: Marcato
  23. No. 23 in E Flat Major: Posato
  24. No. 24 in a Minor: Tema Con Variazioni. Quasi Presto

Product Description

Product Description

24 Caprices pour violon seul op.1 / Tanja Becker-Bender, violon

BBC Review

Hyperion Records receives a lot of unsolicited recordings from artists hoping for a record contract, and most don't make the grade. However, on rare occasions a gem appears, and there have been two in the past couple of years. The first was Suzanne Heinrich's wonderful ''Mr Abel's Fine Airs'', a collection of airs for viola da gamba by Carl Friedrich Abel which took the 2008 Editor's Choice Gramophone Award. This is the other one. Tanja Becker-Bender's discography is miniscule, consisting just of a 1999 Dvorak recital on the Belgian label Pavane, and a 2005 disc of Albinoni concertos for Brilliant Classics. Her profile in the UK is small to non-existent. However, the ease and style with which she has pulled off Paganini's notoriously difficult and exposed caprices for unaccompanied violin might just change that.

Virtuosic ability is considered such a pre-requisite for violinists these days that it's no wonder that it's sometimes difficult to grasp how 'unplayable' certain works were considered to be when they were first written. Brahms's Violin Concerto springs to mind. Paganini's 24 Caprices Op.1 don't fall into this category, though. They were his only publication for solo violin, and stretch the violinist's technique to the utmost limit. They require notes to be played on the outer strings of the violin without sounding the ones between, and melodies to be sustained on one string whilst rapid harmonies or trills are played on another. There are trilled octaves, huge numbers of notes to be played on a single bow, and much of this is to be played at high speed. It's the violinist's version of that children's spinner and mat game, Twister. Becker-Bender's performance is noteworthy for the nonchalance with which she glosses over these difficulties with enough mental effort left over to convincingly hold the musical thought and line. Listen to her smoothly tuneful octaves in No.15 in E minor. She plays with intensity and maturity, is brilliant of tone in the higher registers, and full-bodiedly gutsy lower down. The performance is impressive on every level and I, for one, am hoping to hear more from her. --Charlotte Gardner

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
I must admit that I had never heard of Tanya Becker-Bender before. My astonishment was therefore great when I listened to this disc. Aparently she is a young German violinist. She performs these devilishly difficult pieces with a perfection and control that amazed me. In her hands they no longer sound in the least bit "unplayable" as was so long maintained. On the contrary Tanya Becker-Bender makes really good music out of the 24 Caprices. They no longer sound like a technical demonstration or mere exercises. Each Caprice is given a different character and "colour". Some are gentle and lyrical, others have elements of folkmusic and trumpet-calls, many are extremely dynamic and need to be played with attack - so to speak with a broad gesture. All these qualities are conveyed in this recording. At no time does this violinist sound as though she is being stretched beyond her capablities. For this reason really interesting music resulted. This is not something that can be taken for granted. In many recordings ones listening pleasure is lessened by the obvious struggle of the performer to quite simply play all the notes accurately and in tune. Tanja Becker-Bender does all this impeccably and in addition manages to produce a warm and beautiful tone even in the most taxing passages. As a comparison I would recommend listening to the new recording by Thomas Zehetmair. In the very first Caprice he seems to be battling. As a result there are a number of pretty ugly sounds - or is this meant to be expressive? Perhaps it is in order to compensate for these technical defficiencies that caused Zehetmait to over-interpret some of the pieces. The expression sound forced. Accardo has even more scratchy sounds on his recording. Tanya Becker-Bender seems to "stand above the notes" (Sorry!Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a remarkable performance by a newcomer 27 Aug. 2009
By Stephen Kass - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I had not heard of Tanya Bender-Becker before. Apparently she is a young German violinist and this is her debut solo CD. I am amazed. This is a performance of the highest quality. Not only is the virtuosity stunning - even the most difficult passages are perfectly mastered with a beautiful tone and perfect intonation. It is the musicality of this performance that strikes one most. In her hands these short pieces don't only sound like technical exercises, they are music. Each caprice has a different character and colour. In the more gentle pieces Bender-Becker plays lyrically and quite magically. When more attack and brilliance is required she plays with verve and power.In addition the sound-quality is excellent. One is close to the soloist without feeling uncomfortable. I cannot recommend this disc too highly. I think you will, like me be amazed. Has anyone reading this review heard more by this remarkable newcomer.
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