Great Violinists And Pianists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.
Paganini possessed the oft-quoted attribute of genius, “the power of taking infinite pains,” but behind this there lay superlative gifts of mind, physique, and temperament.  He completely dazzled the greatest musical artists as well as the masses.  “His constant and daring flights,” writes Moscheles, “his newly discovered flageolet tones, his gift of fusing and beautifying objects of the most diverse kinds—­all these phases of genius so completely bewilder my musical perceptions that for days afterward my head is on fire and my brain reels.”  His tone lacked roundness and volume.  His use of very thin strings, made necessary by his double harmonics and other specialties, necessarily prevented a broad, rich tone.  But he more than compensated for this defect by the intense expression, “soft and melting as that of an Italian singer,” to use the language of Moscheles again, which characterized the quality of sound he drew from his instrument.  Spohr, a very great player, but, with all his polish, precision, and classical beauty of style, somewhat phlegmatic and conventional withal, critcised Paganini as lacking in good taste.  He could never get in sympathy with the bent of individuality, the Southern passion and fire, and the exceptional gifts of temperament which made Paganini’s idiosyncrasies of style as a player consummate beauties, where imitations of these effects on the part of others would be gross exaggeration.  Spohr developed the school of Viotti and Rode, and in his attachment to that school could see no artistic beauty in any deviation.  Paganini’s peculiar method of treating the violin has never been regarded as a safe school for any other violinist to follow.  Without Paganini’s genius to give it vitality, his technique would justly be charged with exaggeration and charlatanism.  Some of the modern French players, who have been strongly influenced by the great Italian, have failed to satisfy serious musical taste from this cause.  On the German violinists he has had but little influence, owing to the powerful example of Spohr and the musical spirit of the great composers, which have tended to keep players within the strictly legitimate lines of art.  Some of the principal compositions of Paganini are marked by great originality and beauty, and are violin classics.  Schumann and Liszt have transcribed several of them for the piano, and Brahms for the orchestra.  But the great glory of Paganini was as a virtuoso, not as a composer, and it has been generally agreed to place him on the highest pedestal which has yet been reached in the executive art of the violin.


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Great Violinists And Pianists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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