Berlioz and Paganini

In the late 1820s/early 1830s, the biggest star in the musical firmament was Niccolò Paganini, best known for his mastery of the violin but who was equally accomplished on viola and guitar. Paganini, like Liszt, had come to Paris for an extended tour and had attended a concert of the Symphonie Fantastique in 1833. Paganini, … Continue reading Berlioz and Paganini

Virtuosity

Before diving into the Romantic Period, it is important to take stock of how the music world had changed over the last two centuries. Through much of music history to this point, the Church had been the primary benefactor of the great composers. As the Church's influence began to wane, particularly in the German States, … Continue reading Virtuosity

Classical Music VI: Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840)

The legendary violinist Niccolo Paganini was not a great composer.  He was, unquestionably, the greatest violinist and performer of his age (and, perhaps, any age). Paganini pushed the boundaries of what was possible and composed works that pushed what is technically possible on a violin to its absolute limit.  It is also worth noting that … Continue reading Classical Music VI: Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840)