Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Paganini, Kreisler, and Laurent Korcia

Niccolò Paganini revolutionised the technique of violin playing, and he also wrote a lot of agreeable music for the violin. Not as agreeable, however, as that of later great violinists such as Heinrich Ernst, Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps, Sarasate and Kreisler. Fritz Kreisler re-wrote the first movement of Paganini's first violin concerto, and the resulting interesting pastiche is sometimes played and recorded (including a 1936 recording by Kreisler himself). I have just been listening to it played with molta bravura by Laurent Korcia, the somewhat abrasive French violinist who is, nevertheless, always interesting to listen to. Paganini-Kreisler in the D major concerto should be played more often; one does not have to be too fastidious about historical reconstruction, or letter of the score, when tackling Paganini's music. Korcia's new CD bears the title “Mr Paganini”; from the works on the welcome little disc, it could also have been called “.. and Mr Kreisler”.

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