Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa on 27 October 1782 and from the young age of 12 he used to perform in the churches and theaters of Genoa. Paganini, with his talent, is considered the father of modern violinist technique and has become famous not only for his innate musical genius but also for his brilliant personality and the myths that inevitably surround his figure. He received the first musical teachings from his father, but only in 1795 he made his public debut, performing in the Sant'Agostino theater.
Among his most famous works, it is impossible not to mention the series of violin compositions, called the 24 Caprices. Initially, due to their difficulties, they were considered unfeasible, making the famous violinist even more admired and enigmatic. From various sources it appears that the Caprices are the result of three different periods of Paganini’s life, but they were officially published for the first time in 1820. Over the years, these musical compositions have occupied an increasingly central role in the musical teaching of the violin, to the point of being considered the perfect combination of virtuosity and technique. Paganini's 24 Caprices are still studied by violinists today, who see them as an important step in completing their musical education.
Nicolò PAGANINI - Capriccio n°1 - 24 Capricci
Paganini's violin itself has taken on a mysterious aura over time and has attracted the curiosity of both historical and musical lovers. It was a "Guarneri del Gesù", manufactured in 1743, and represented for Paganini a part of himself. The violinist was deeply attached to his instrument, so much so that he affectionately called it "my cannon" for the fullness of the sound. The parts of this historical instrument are still intact, with only the signs of the time and usages. Today, this relic is in Palazzo Tursi, in Genoa, since, by order of Paganini himself, the instrument, after his death, was donated to his hometown, to be "perpetually preserved".
Paganini did not simply become a musical legend for Italian culture. The imprint that he managed to give to the country was so decisive that it also occupied a place in the Italian spoken language. In fact, one of the most famous anecdotes on musical genius concerns a concert in 1818, which took place at the Carignano Theater in Turin. There, after an impeccable concert by Paganini, Carlo Felice, King of Sardinia and Duke of Savoy, amazed by the skills of the violinist and enchanted by the beauty of the composition, asked the master to repeat one of his pieces. Paganini, also known for his ability to improvise many pieces, refused the request, replying in turn: "Paganini does not repeat". The answer given became so iconic that it is still used today in Italy to refuse the repetition of a gesture or phrase.
Therefore, it is recommended, when you are tired of repeating the same things over and over, to start with a "Paganini does not repeat" to feel close to his imposing figure and to remember him every time for the greatness of his words, his concerts and his dazzling personality.
by Agnese Coco
21 September 2020