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Paganini's Daemon: A Most Enduring Legend [DVD]

Album Summary

>Paganini, Niccolò : Work(s)
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Christopher Nupen: King of the music documentary." Gramophone Magazine

Christopher Nupen presents a film about the man who made himself the most talked about, the most controversial, the most famous and the most successful classical soloist that the world of music has ever known - Niccolo Paganini. In the process he also created the most elaborate and enduring legend but, as so often with legends, the excitement and the chatter obscured the true figure of both the man and the artist. In the film on this DVD, Christopher Nupen looks at the legend and the strange man who created it with his dazzling combination of technical brilliance, supreme showmanship, Italian melody and unbridled manipulative skill - a man whose extraordinary personality unsettled even the most sophisticated and educated minds and provoked wildly contradictory opinions.

"Sell all you possess, pawn everything, but go to hear him. This is the most astounding, the most surprising, the most wonderful, the most miraculous, the most triumphant, the most bewildering, the most incredible, the most extraordinary and the most unexpected thing that ever happened. In a dream Tartini saw a devil playing a diabolic sonata - that devil was surely Paganini.", François Castil-Blaze

"Oh foolish world. O wondrous taste. I have never been so let down as by this so-called virtuoso. I cannot understand how, after hearing Romberg, Rode, Spohr, and Lafont, anyone can listen for one moment to such trickery. It was more like a twittering of sparrows than any legitimate musical sound.", Hamburgisches Handelsblatt

The film on this DVD is an attempt to present a true picture of the man and the musician. It presents Paganini's music, shot and edited in the style developed by Christopher Nupen and his colleagues for their prize winning DVDs about Sibelius, Schubert and Tchaikovsky and combines it with extracts from Paganini's letters and quotations from both his admirers and his many detractors.

Interpreters, unrepeatable stuck in his spare time to composers-that would be beatified by Romanticism, The carnal and the spiritual, the mundane and the mystical, the artificial and the real of his music are manifested throughout the documentary, and his unwavering faith that made him become, and the old man in a Franciscan warty. The director tiptoes through the pearls of his catalog, including the latest and most significant, obsessed with exploring doors that nobody had passed (then shut with a bang the Debussy, Bartok, Satie and Messiaen). Music that are essentially pure sound bliss, with that magical aura of reflection of what was once a lifetime.

MusicWeb International
Naturally the traditional arc of such a life is mirrored here. Birth into poverty, relentless practice, a semi-tyrannical father, an escape into luxury, and the comforts of debauchery, followed by over-ambition, poor judgement, crippling court-cases, physical disintegration, and death. But with Paganini everything was taken to excess. This documentary presents this quality as his 'daemon', possibly correctly. It's a handsome film, doubtless partial, but well worth watching.


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Works Details

>Niccolò Paganini (1782 - 1840) : Work(s)
  • Performer: Gidon Kremer (Violin)
  • Conductor: Lawrence Foster
  • Ensemble: Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana
  • Period Time: Romantic