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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, full name Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 â 5 December 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. His over 600 compositions include works widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Mozart is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and many of his works are part of the standard concert repertoire.
Mozart's music, like Haydn's, stands as an archetypal example of the Classical style. His works spanned the period during which that style transformed from one exemplified by the style galant to one that began to incorporate some of the contrapuntal complexities of the late Baroque, complexities against which the galant style had been a reaction. Mozart's own stylistic development closely paralleled the development of the classical style as a whole. In addition, he was a versatile composer and wrote in almost every major genre, including symphony, opera, the solo concerto, chamber music including string quartet and string quintet, and the piano sonata. While none of these genres were new, the piano concerto was almost single-handedly developed and popularized by Mozart. He also wrote a great deal of religious music, including masses; and he composed many dances, divertimenti, serenades, and other forms of light entertainment.
The central traits of the classical style can be identified in Mozart's music. Clarity, balance, and transparency are hallmarks of his work.
Digimon (デジモン Dejimon?), short for "Digital Monsters" (デジタルモンスター Dejitaru Monsutā?), is a Japanese media franchise encompassing anime, manga, toys, video games, trading card games and other media. The franchise's eponymous creatures are monsters of various forms living in a "Digital World", a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks.
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (May 7 1840 â November 6 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. While not part of the nationalistic music group known as "The Five", Tchaikovsky wrote music which, in the opinion of Harold Schonberg, was distinctly Russian: plangent, introspective, with modally-inflected melody and harmony.
Aesthetically, Tchaikovsky remained open to all aspects of Saint Petersburg musical life. He was impressed by Serov and Balakirev as well as the classical values upheld by the conservatory. Both the progressive and conservative camps in Russian music at the time attempted to win him over. Tchaikovsky charted his compositional course between these two factions, retaining his individuality as a composer as well as his Russian identity. In this he was influenced by the ideals of his teacher Nikolai Rubinstein and Nikolai's brother Anton.
Tchaikovsky's musical cosmopolitanism led him to be favored by many Russian music-lovers over the "Russian" harmonies and styles of Mussorgsky, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Nonetheless he frequently adapted Russian traditional melodies and dance forms in his music, which enhanced his success in his home country. The success in St. Petersburg at the premiere of his Third Orchestral Suite may have been due in large part to his concluding the work with a polonaise. He also used a polonaise for the final movement of his Third Symphony.
Guy Bergeron was born the 13th of October 1964 in Loretteville, Province of Quebec, Canada. He graduated in music: in 1990, 3rd cycle in composition at the Conservatoire de musique of Quebec; in 1986, collegial grade (DEC) in pop music, Cegep of Drummondville, and in 1984, collegial grade (DEC) in music, Cegep of Ste-Foy, with guitar as first instrument. He was also a student in jazz interpretation from 1992 until 1994 at the University of Montreal (electric guitar) and he studied computer-assisted music at the Musitechnic School in Montreal. He plays the guitar (classical, electric, acoustic, synthesizer), the banjo, the mandolin and the bass. He's been earning his living with music for more than 25 years, as a professional musician, a composer, an arranger and also as a studio engineer as he manages his own studio.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (German: , full baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.
Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty; at 17 he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and the Requiem. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.
Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate—the whole informed by a vision of humanity "redeemed through art, forgiven, and reconciled with nature and the absolute." His influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, of whom Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."
Gunnar Wennerberg (Lidköping 2 October 1817 – Läckö 24 August 1901), Swedish poet, composer and politician. His niece Sara Wennerberg-Reuter (1875–1959) was also a well-known musician; she was an organist and composer.
Wennerberg was the son of the vicar of the town of Lidköping in Västergötland, went to gymnasium in the cathedral town of Skara, and matriculated as a student at Uppsala University in 1837, where he studied natural sciences, Classical philology, Philosophy and Aesthetics. He received his filosofie magister degree in 1845 and became a docent of Aesthetics in 1846.
Wennerberg was remarkable in several ways, handsome in face and tall in figure, with a finely trained singing voice, and brilliant in wit and conversation. From the outset of his career he was accepted in the inner circle of men of light and leading for which the university was at that time famous. In 1843 he became a member of the secret society and musical club who called themselves The Juvenals, and for their meetings were written the trios and duets, music and words, which Wennerberg began to publish in 1846. In the following year appeared the earliest numbers of Gluntarne (or "The Boys"), thirty duets for baritone and bass, which continued to be issued from 1847 to 1850. The success of these remarkable productions, masterpieces in two arts, was overwhelming: they presented an epitome of all that was most unusual and most attractive in the curious university life of Sweden.
Carlos Gardel (11 December 1890 – 24 June 1935) was a singer, songwriter and actor, and is perhaps the most prominent figure in the history of tango. The unerring musicality of Gardel's baritone voice and the dramatic phrasing of his lyrics made miniature masterpieces of his hundreds of three-minute tango recordings. Together with lyricist and long-time collaborator Alfredo Le Pera, Gardel wrote several classic tangos, most notably "Mi Buenos Aires querido", "Por una cabeza" and "El día que me quieras".
Gardel died in an airplane crash at the height of his career, becoming an archetypal tragic hero mourned throughout Latin America. For many, Gardel embodies the soul of the tango style. He is commonly referred to as "Carlitos", "El Zorzal" (The Song Thrush), "The King of Tango", "El Mago" (The Magician) and "El Mudo" (The Mute).
Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), better known by his stage name Bruno Mars, is an American singer-songwriter and music producer. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age. After performing in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood, he decided to pursue a musical career. Mars began producing songs for other artists, joining production team The Smeezingtons.
He became recognized as a solo artist after lending his vocals and co-writing the hooks for the songs "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B, and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy. He also co-wrote the hits "Right Round" by Flo Rida featuring Kesha, "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan, and "Fuck You!" by Cee Lo Green. In October 2010, he released his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. Anchored by the singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade", the album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. He has been nominated for seven Grammys at the 53rd Grammy Awards, which will be held on February 13, 2011.
Ludwig van Beethoven (16 December 1770 - 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most respected and influential composers of all time.
Born in Bonn, then in the Electorate of Cologne (now in modern-day Germany), he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Beethoven's hearing gradually deteriorated beginning in his twenties, yet he continued to compose masterpieces, and to conduct and perform, even after he was completely deaf.
Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685, O.S.31 March 1685, N.S. – 28 July 1750, N.S.) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France.
Revered for their intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty, Bach's works include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas, The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B minor, the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion, the Magnificat, A Musical Offering, The Art of Fugue, the English and French Suites, the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the Cello Suites, more than 200 surviving cantatas, and a similar number of organ works, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, as well as the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes and Organ Mass.
Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque style, and as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Carl August Nielsen (9 June 1865 – 3 October 1931), widely recognised as Denmark's greatest composer, was also a conductor and a violinist. Brought up by poor but musically talented parents on the island of Funen, he demonstrated his musical abilities at an early age. While it was some time before his works were fully appreciated, even in his home country, Nielsen has now firmly entered the international repertoire. Especially in Europe and the United States, Nielsen's music is ever more frequently performed, with interest growing in other countries too. Carl Nielsen is especially admired for his six symphonies, his Wind Quintet and his concertos for violin, flute and clarinet. In Denmark, his opera Maskarade and a considerable number of his songs have become an integral part of the national heritage. While his early music was inspired by composers such as Brahms and Grieg, he soon started to develop his own style, first experimenting with progressive tonality and later diverging even more radically from the standards of composition still common at the time. For many years, he appeared on the Danish hundred-kroner banknote.
Nielsen is best known for his six symphonies. Other well-known pieces are the incidental music for Adam Oehlenschläger's drama Aladdin, the operas Saul og David and Maskarade, the three concertos for violin, flute and clarinet, the Wind Quintet, and the Helios Overture, which depicts the passage of the sun in the sky from dawn to nightfall. Most Danes can sing many of the numerous songs by various poets, set to music by Carl Nielsen.
The music initially had a neo-classical sound but became increasingly modern as Nielsen developed his own approach to what Robert Simpson called progressive tonality, moving from one key to another. Typically, he would end on a different key, sometimes as the outcome of a struggle as in his symphonies. His frequently blended melodic passages inspired by folk music with more complicated stylings including counterpoint and modern variations.
Like his contemporary, the Finn Jean Sibelius, he studied Renaissance polyphony closely, which accounts for much of the melodic and harmonic "feel" of his music.
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (17 June 1882 – 6 April 1971) was a Russian-born, naturalised French, later naturalised American composer, pianist, and conductor.
He is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential composers of 20th century music. He was a quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. He became a naturalised French citizen in 1934 and a naturalized US citizen in 1945. In addition to the recognition he received for his compositions, he also achieved fame as a pianist and a conductor, often at the premieres of his works.
Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (Russian Ballets): The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911/1947), and The Rite of Spring (1913). The Rite, whose premiere provoked a riot, transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure, and was largely responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary, pushing the boundaries of musical design.
After this first Russian phase Stravinsky turned to neoclassicism in the 1920s. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue, symphony), frequently concealed a vein of intense emotion beneath a surface appearance of detachment or austerity, and often paid tribute to the music of earlier masters, for example J.S. Bach and Tchaikovsky.
In the 1950s he adopted serial procedures, using the new techniques over his last twenty years. Stravinsky's compositions of this period share traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few two- or three-note cells, and clarity of form, of instrumentation, and of utterance.
He also published a number of books throughout his career, almost always with the aid of a collaborator, sometimes uncredited. In his 1936 autobiography, Chronicles of My Life, written with the help of Walter Nouvel, Stravinsky included his well-known statement that "music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all." With Alexis Roland-Manuel and Pierre Souvtchinsky he wrote his 1939–40 Harvard University Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, which were delivered in French and later collected under the title Poétique musicale in 1942 (translated in 1947 as Poetics of Music). Several interviews in which the composer spoke to Robert Craft were published as Conversations with Igor Stravinsky. They collaborated on five further volumes over the following decade.
Ferruccio (Dante Michelangelo Benvenuto) Busoni (April 1, 1866 – July 27, 1924) was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor.
Most of Busoni's works are for the piano. Busoni's music is typically contrapuntally complex, with several melodic lines unwinding at once. Although his music is never entirely atonal in the Schoenbergian sense, his mature works, beginning with the Elegies, are often in indeterminate key. He was in contact with Schoenberg, and made a 'concert interpretation' of the latter's 'atonal' Piano Piece, Op. 11, No. 2 (BV B 97), in 1909. In the program notes for the premiere of his own Sonatina seconda of 1912, Busoni calls the work senza tonalità (without tonality). Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt were key influences, though late in his career much of his music has a neo-classical bent, and includes melodies resembling Mozart's.
Some idea of Busoni's mature attitude to composition can be gained from his 1907 manifesto, Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music, a publication somewhat controversial in its time. As well as discussing then little-explored areas such as electronic music and microtonal music (both techniques he never employed), he asserted that music should distill the essence of music of the past to make something new.
Many of Busoni's works are based on music of the past, especially on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (see below). The first version of Busoni's largest and best known solo piano work, Fantasia Contrappuntistica, was published in 1910. About half an hour in length, it is essentially an extended fantasy on the final incomplete fugue from Bach's The Art of Fugue. It uses several melodic figures found in Bach's work, most notably the BACH motif (B flat, A, C, B natural). Busoni revised the work a number of times and arranged it for two pianos. Versions have also been made for organ and for orchestra.
Antonín Leopold Dvořák (September 8, 1841 – May 1, 1904) was a Czech composer of Romantic music, who employed the idioms and melodies of the folk music of his native Bohemia and Moravia. His works include operas, symphonic, choral and chamber music. His best-known works are his New World Symphony (particularly the slow movement), as well as his Slavonic Dances, American String Quartet, and Cello Concerto in B minor.
Dvořák wrote in a variety of forms: his nine symphonies generally stick to classical models that Beethoven would have recognised, but he also worked in the newly developed symphonic poem form and the influence of Richard Wagner is apparent in some works. Many of his works also show the influence of Czech folk music, both in terms of rhythms and melodic shapes; perhaps the best known examples are the two sets of Slavonic Dances. Dvořák also wrote operas (the best known of which is Rusalka); serenades for string orchestra and wind ensemble; chamber music (including a number of string quartets, and quintets); songs; choral music; and piano music.
Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni (January 28, 1757 – August 6, 1821) was an Italian violinist, composer and conductor. Bruni was born and died in Cuneo, Italy. During most of his life he resided, played and composed in Paris.
Levi Celerio (April 30, 1910 – April 2, 2002) was a Filipino composer and lyricist. Celerio was a prolific songwriter, with over 4,000 songs to his credit. He is perhaps best known for being a leaf-player, a feat for which he was put into the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1997, he was named National Artist of the Philippines for Music.
OneRepublic is an American Rock band formed in Colorado. After a few years of moderate success, they have since drawn mainstream attention with the release of their single "Apologize," which has sold in excess of 7 million singles worldwide. The song, according to SoundScan Data, is one of only two songs that have reached 3 million legal downloads in history. A remix of "Apologize" was featured on Timbaland's Shock Value and the band's debut album, Dreaming Out Loud, produced by Greg Wells. Their debut album was released in the United States on November 20, 2007, with international release dates staggered throughout early 2008. As of June 14, 2008, Dreaming Out Loud had sold 761,298 copies in the U.S. with the bands total album sales coming to over 1.5 million worldwide so far. The band's second single, "Stop and Stare," has also crossed the 2 million mark in terms of worldwide single sales. Their third single, "Say (All I Need)", has been released in the UK and in the U.S. Their fourth single will be "Mercy", as stated by OneRepublic's MySpace page. The video has been streamed on Youtube.com.
Ryan Tedder – Lead vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Glockenspiel, Drums (2002–present)
Zach Filkins – Guitar, vocals (2002–present)
Drew Brown – Guitar, Bass Guitar, Glockenspiel (2002–present)
Eddie Fisher – Drums, percussion (2005–present)
Brent Kutzle – Bass guitar, keyboards, cello, vocals (2007–present)
Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (October 24, 1925 – May 27, 2003) was an Italian composer. He is noted for his experimental work (in particular his 1968 composition Sinfonia for voices and orchestra and his series of numbered solo pieces titled Sequenza) and also for his pioneering work in electronic music.
Berio's electronic work dates for the most part from his time at Milan's Studio di Fonologia. One of the most influential works he produced there was Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) (1958), based on Cathy Berberian reading from James Joyce's Ulysses. A later work, Visage (1961) sees Berio creating a wordless emotional language by cutting up and rearranging a recording of Cathy Berberian's voice.
In 1968, Berio completed O King a work which exists in two versions: one for voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, the other for eight voices and orchestra. The piece is in memory of Martin Luther King, who had been assassinated shortly before its composition. In it, the voice(s) intones first the vowels, and then the consonants which make up his name, only stringing them together to give his name in full in the final bars.
The orchestral version of O King was, shortly after its completion, integrated into what is perhaps Berio's most famous work, Sinfonia (1967–69), for orchestra and eight amplified voices. The voices are not used in a traditional classical way; they frequently do not sing at all, but speak, whisper and shout. The third movement is a collage of literary and musical quotations. A-Ronne (1974) is similarly collaged, but with the focus more squarely on the voice. It was originally written as a radio program for five actors, and reworked in 1975 for eight vocalists and an optional keyboard part. The work is one of a number of collaborations with the poet Edoardo Sanguineti, who for this piece provided a text full of quotations from sources including the Bible, T. S. Eliot and Karl Marx.
Joseph-Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer of Impressionist music known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire.
Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs and Gaspard de la Nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his orchestral music, including Daphnis et Chloé and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, uses a variety of sound and instrumentation very effectively.
Ravel is perhaps known best for his orchestral work, Boléro (1928), which he considered trivial and once described as "a piece for orchestra without music."
According to SACEM, Ravel's estate earns more royalties than that of any other French musician. According to international copyright law, Ravel's works are public domain since January 1, 2008 in most countries. In France, due to anomalous copyright law extensions to account for the two world wars, they will not enter the public domain until 2015.
The Killers are an American rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada. Formed in 2002, the group consists of Brandon Flowers (vocals, keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitar, vocals), Mark Stoermer (bass guitar, vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr., (percussion, drums) with Ray Suen often providing support during live performances.
Part of the post-punk revival movement, The Killers draw influence from music styles of the 1980s and 1990s. The group's debut album, Hot Fuss (2004) brought the band mainstream success. The Killers' second album, Sam's Town, was released in 2006, and the compilation album Sawdustk containing B-sides, rarities, and new material, was released in 2007. The band's first two albums have sold in excess of 12 million copies worldwide combined. The group is currently working on their third album, entitled Day and Age, which is being produced by Stuart Price.
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born, and generally known in English-speaking countries, as Felix Mendelssohn (February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847) was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.
The grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, he was born into a notable Jewish family, although he himself was brought up initially without religion, and later as a Lutheran. He was recognized early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his abilities. Indeed his father was disinclined to allow Felix to follow a musical career until it became clear that he intended to seriously dedicate himself to it.
Early success in Germany was followed by travel throughout Europe; Mendelssohn was particularly well received in England as a composer, conductor and soloist, and his ten visits there, during which many of his major works were premiered, form an important part of his adult career. His essentially conservative musical tastes however set him apart from many of his more adventurous musical contemporaries such as Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz. The Conservatory he founded at Leipzig became a bastion of this anti-radical outlook.
Mendelssohn's work includes symphonies, concerti, oratorios, piano and chamber music. He also had an important role in the revival of interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. After a long period of relative denigration due to changing musical tastes and antisemitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his creative originality is now being recognized and re-evaluated. He is now among the most popular composers of the Romantic era.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (pronounced /ˈvɑːɡnər/, German pronunciation: ; 22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, theatre director and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or "music dramas", as they were later called). Wagner's compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs: musical themes associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. Unlike most other opera composers, Wagner wrote both the music and libretto for every one of his stage works. Famous extracts from his operas include the "Ride of the Valkyries" and the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, popularly known as the wedding march "Here Comes the Bride".
Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works such as The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser which were in the romantic traditions of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner transformed operatic thought through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"). This would achieve the synthesis of all the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, and was announced in a series of essays between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised this concept most fully in the first half of the monumental four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. However, his thoughts on the relative importance of music and drama were to change again and he reintroduced some traditional operatic forms into his last few stage works including Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Wagner pioneered advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and quickly shifting tonal centres, which greatly influenced the development of European classical music. His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music. Wagner's influence spread beyond music into philosophy, literature, the visual arts and theatre. He had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which contained many novel design features. It was here that the Ring and Parsifal received their premieres and where his most important stage works continue to be performed today in an annual festival run by his descendants. Wagner's views on conducting were also highly influential. His extensive writings on music, drama and politics have all attracted extensive comment; not least for their frequently antisemitic content.
Wagner achieved all of this despite a life characterised, until his last decades, by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors. His pugnacious personality and often outspoken views on music, politics and society made him a controversial figure during his life. He has remained one to this day. The impact of his his ideas can be traced in many of the arts throughout the twentieth century.
Niccolò Paganini (27 October 1782 – 27 May 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His caprice in A minor, Op. 1 No. 24 is among his best known of compositions, and serves as inspiration for many prominent artists.
Paganini composed his own works to play exclusively in his concerts, all of which had profound influences on the evolution of violin techniques. His 24 Caprices were probably composed in the period between 1805 to 1809, while he was in the service of the Baciocchi court. Also during this period, he composed the majority of the solo pieces, duo-sonatas,trios and quartets for the guitar. These chamber works may have been inspired by the publication, in Lucca, of the guitar quintets of Boccherini. Many of his variations (and he has become the de facto master of this musical genre), including Le Streghe, The Carnival of Venice, and Nel cor più non mi sento, were composed, or at least first performed, before his European concert tour.
Playbill of Paganini's concert at the Covent Garden in 1832. Note that all solo pieces were of his composition, which was typical of all his concerts.
Generally speaking, Paganini's compositions were technically imaginative, and the timbre of the instrument was greatly expanded as a result of these works. Sounds of different musical instruments and animals were often imitated. One such composition was titled Il Fandango Spanolo (The Spanish Dance), which featured a series of humorous imitations of farm animals. Even more outrageous was a solo piece Duetto Amoroso, in which the sighs and groans of lovers were intimately depicted on the violin. Fortunately there survives a manuscript of the Duetto which has been recorded, while the existence of the Fandango is known only through concert posters.
However, his works were criticized for lacking characteristics of true polyphonism, as pointed out by Eugène Ysaÿe. Yehudi Menuhin, on the other hand, suggested that this might have been the result of his reliance on the guitar (in lieu of the piano) as an aid in composition. The orchestral parts for his concertos were often polite, unadventurous, and clearly supportive of the soloist. In this, his style is consistent with that of other Italian composers such as Paisiello, Rossini and Donizetti, who were influenced by the guitar-song milieu of Naples during this period.
Paganini was also the inspiration of many prominent composers. Both "La Campanella" and the A minor caprice (Nr. 24) have been an object of interest for a number of composers. Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Boris Blacher, Andrew Lloyd Webber, George Rochberg and Witold Lutosławski, among others, wrote well-known variations on these themes.
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