Paganini: 24 Caprices, Op. 1 (with accompaniment for all except No. 24 by Schumann)

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COMPOSERS: Paganini
LABELS: DG
WORKS: 24 Caprices, Op. 1 (with accompaniment for all except No. 24 by Schumann)
PERFORMER: David Garrett (violin), Bruno Canino (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 453 489-2
Schumann may have been a great admirer of Paganini, but he surely did the Caprices no favours by providing a piano accompaniment. Paganini’s technical wizardry and harmonic subtlety is undermined and hobbled by pedestrian plonks from the piano which have little to do with the spirit of the works.

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Significantly, the most satisfying playing from the 17-year-old violinist David Garrett comes in the final Caprice – the best-known one – where Schumann in fact provides no accompaniment. Which is not to imply there is anything wrong with the playing of the pianist, Bruno Canino, but to suggest that the piano part is simply superfluous. Garrett plays with great passion but the sound is wearing – a non-stop assault course for player and listener. Annette Morreau