Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paganini - Violin Concerto No. 2 'la Campanella'

When Niccolo Paganini (1782 - 1840)  wrote his 2nd violin concerto, he took a different route than his 1st Violin Concerto. The first is full of fiery, virtuoso doings for the violin and was written as a vehicle to show off Paganini's playing ability. in the 2nd, he concentrates more on the melodic and lyric aspects and puts a lid on much of the virtuoso pyrotechnics. It is a fine concerto that shows Paganini's gifts for melody,  lyricism and composition in general.

This concerto is referred to as 'la Campanella' (small bell) because of the small bell Paganini uses before every return to the main theme in the rondo third movement. The bell is echoed in orchestra and in the violin with the use of harmonics to imitate the high pitch of the small bell.

The concerto was written in 1826 and the third movement inspired Franz Liszt to write his own version of it for piano solo.

Paganini's Violin Concerto #2:


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