Paganini was, according to those who saw him play, as phenomenally gifted a guitarist as he was a violinist; yet he never played the instrument in public. He composed over a hundred solo works for the guitar, in addition to a series of delightful works for violin with guitar accompaniment. The emphasis, in contrast to the great majority of his solo violin works, is on melody and gentle challenges rather than technical intricacy. Indeed, when composing his 43 miniature Ghiribizzi (‘Whims’) he went as far as to confine himself to the five most comfortable keys for the guitar.
To make things a little more entertaining (or simply, perhaps, to save himself a little time), Paganini made a number of cross-references to existing works by himself and others.
Cross-references include the popular aria ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Mozart’s Don Giovanni (No.20), Paganini’s own C major waltz for guitar (No.28) and the Neapolitan song ‘Tengo più di trentun’ anni e mi voglio maritar’ (‘I’m more than 31 and wish to find a wife’). Most interesting of all is No.37, the first part of which is headed ‘Rossini’, the second ‘Paganini’. Each has its distinct character, yet surely Paganini is having a private joke here, suggesting that whatever their subtle differences, the two composers’ inspiration flowed essentially from the same source.
Rarely recorded repertoire
Recorded in 1990
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