Notes and Editorial Reviews
Paganini’s 24 Violin Caprices have been attracting flute virtuosos on disc, each approaching the original text’s idiomatic challenges in a different way. For example, Patrick Gallois’s arrangements employ a myriad of twentieth-century flute techniques like circular breathing, flutter tonguing, and humming into the instrument. By contrast, Bonita Boyd recorded nineteenth-century flutist Julius Herman’s transcriptions, which adhere more closely to the era’s performance practices yet are based on heavily edited texts that are not always accurate.
Marina Piccinini’s edition, however, is based on Paganini’s Urtext, and is similarly conserva- tive from the standpoint of flute technique. She also contends that normal breathing
allows the ebb and flow of Paganini’s phrasings to emerge more naturally. Collectors may be taken aback at her total timing of more than a hundred minutes for a work that usually requires seventy-two. This has less to do with tempos (which are not unusually slow) as it does with the flutist’s small fluctuations in pulse, agogic stresses, tenutos, accentuations, and other expressive gestures. Furthermore, Piccinini’s softer-grained articulation and tendency to shape phrases in asymmetrical note groupings radically differ from Boyd’s rhythmic drive and technical ebullience, yielding a high degree of textural diversity and harmonic tension.
While some listeners may find Boyd’s Paganini more incisive and direct, Piccinini’s intelligent musicality and command manage to reveal these familiar works in a new, thought-provoking light that transcends the question of instrument.
– Jed Distler, Listen Magazine Read less
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