Niccolo Paganini – 24 Caprices, Op.1 – Itzhak Perlman (2015) [Qobuz 24-96]

Niccolo Paganini – 24 Caprices, Op.1 – Itzhak Perlman (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:12:24 minutes | 1,42 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | ©  Warner Classics
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 10 January 1972; Brent Town Hall, London, 11 & 12 January 1972

Along with Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, Paganini’s Caprices represent the ultimate solo challenge to any violinist. Itzhak Perlman is one of those who has taken on both, beginning with the Paganini, very early on in his recording career. In 1965 he set down three of the Caprices for RCA, but it was in January 1972 that he cemented his place in this tradition with a complete set that would make recording history. By strange coincidence, that same year saw the death of his illustrious predecessor Michael Rabin, whose own complete Paganini, made in 1958 for Capitol, was a permanent source of inspiration for the young Perlman. The miracle achieved by the Caprices is that rather than being banal studies in virtuosity, they are a series of genuine masterpieces – a distillation of the composer’s prodigious technical abilities and an endless source of melodic invention. Caprice No.24 is the perfect illustration, its themes having inspired so many other composers: Brahms (the Variations, Op.35), Rachmaninov (the Rhapsody, Op.43), Liszt, Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Rochberg, Schnittke and David Baker, among others. Rarely in the history of music has a so-called “minor” composer had such a significant influence on so many of his major colleagues. Mastering the Caprices is a little like climbing Everest. Yet it requires more than technical mastery — a sense of theatricality and imagination is just as necessary when it comes to doing full justice to the melodic invention and fantastical spirit of the writing. The challenges are never-ending — the range of timbres, complex bowing techniques and the need for clear articulation and a purity of intonation and projection. As for risk-taking, it’s the only way to get under the skin of the Caprices’ creator. Perlman’s performance is astonishing for its apparent effortlessness, revealing the charismatic and assured style for which he was to become known. His innate feeling for song and a zest for fun do the rest, giving his interpretation an irresistible charm undimmed by the passing years. –Jean-Michel Molkhou

Niccolò Paganini (1782–1840)
24 Caprices, Op.1
1 No.1 in E major: Andante 1.40
2 No.2 in B minor: Moderato 2.44
3 No.3 in E minor: Sostenuto — Presto — Sostenuto 2.55
4 No.4 in C minor: Maestoso 6.24
5 No.5 in A minor: Agitato 2.28
6 No.6 in G minor: Lento 3.27
7 No.7 in A minor: Posato 3.53
8 No.8 in E flat major: Maestoso 2.39
9 No.9 in E major: Allegretto 2.32
10 No.10 in G minor: Vivace 2.24
11 No.11 in C major: Andante — Presto — Andante 3.27
12 No.12 in A flat major: Allegro 2.49
13 No.13 in B flat major: Allegro 2.33
14 No.14 in E flat major: Moderato 2.02
15 No.15 in E minor: Posato 2.31
16 No.16 in G minor: Presto 1.26
17 No.17 in E flat major: Sostenuto — Andante 3.10
18 No.18 in C major: Corrente — Allegro 2.25
19 No.19 in E flat major: Lento — Allegro assai 2.47
20 No.20 in D major: Allegretto 3.39
21 No.21 in A major: Amoroso — Presto 2.54
22 No.22 in F major: Marcato 2.29
23 No.23 in E flat major: Posato 4.43
24 No.24 in A minor: Tema con variazioni (quasi presto) 4.28

Itzhak Perlman, violin