On the eve of the 240th anniversary of the birth of Niccolò Paganini
(1782-1840), we invite you to an intimate meeting with the music of the legendary violinist and pieces by other great composers inspired by his work.
Paganini does not need to be introduced to classical music lovers. The legendary Italian violin virtuoso left us many delightful compositions that constitute a challenge for all violinists worldwide even today. Unfortunately, Paganini's playing technique remains a mystery to this day. Some hypotheses are that he suffered from the so-called Marfan's syndrome – a rare genetic disease, the characteristic symptoms of which are unnaturally long fingers and excessive joint mobility.
Paganini left us many excellent chamber compositions. Among them are the 24 Caprices, Op. 1
. These unique musical gems were written from the very beginning as show pieces; they were also to serve the violinists as etudes. Each caprice practices different violin skills (e.g. multi-notes, trills, left-hand pizzicato, etc.). Selected caprices will be played that evening by the Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra concertmaster, an excellent violinist – Paweł Maślanka ... read more.
He will be accompanied by an equally talented, young Polish pianist, well known to his audience as a semi-finalist and winner of extra-statutory prizes at the 17th Chopin Competition (2015) – Krzysztof Książek ... read more.
The piano will be indispensable to us because the concert will also include pieces for this particular instrument, inspired by Paganini. First, we will hear Variations on a Theme by Paganini by Rafał Augustyn
(born 1951) – an excellent composer and philologist. Augustyn is not only a recognised composer but also a habilitated doctor of Polish philology (he lectures on the history of literature at the University of Wrocław). Rafał Augustyn's compositions have been and are performed all over the world. In Europe, including the famous Warsaw Autumn Festival, and beyond, in the United States and the Far East.
The piano will again be at the centre of our attention in Franz Liszt's Grandes études de Paganini
(1811-1886). It's no secret that the Hungarian composer greatly admired Paganini. He intended to create a similar cycle of etudes, but for an instrument, he had mastered to perfection. It is how six miniatures were made, being among the most technically demanding pieces in piano literature. It is an actual technical obstacle course, requiring performers' extraordinary precision and unsurpassed virtuosity.
Krzysztof Książek and Paweł Maślanka will play together the last of the pieces of the evening – 3 Caprices by Paganini, Op. 40 by Karol Szymanowski
(1882-1937). The Polish composer developed three selected caprices of Paganini for the violin and piano duo. Still, in musical terms, the transcription did not consist solely in adding the piano accompaniment to the original violin part. Attentive listeners will quickly find Szymanowski's individual and unmistakable style here.