Notes and Editorial Reviews
A delightful feast of richly sumptuous morsels superbly performed.
Paganini is revered as probably the world’s finest ever virtuoso violinist but his chamber music compositions are almost totally ignored. In addition to his fame for composing for the violin it is often forgotten that he also played and composed a substantial number of works for the guitar. In fact, of the five opus numbers published during his lifetime only the op. 1 set of 24 Caprices for solo violin did not include the guitar.
Swiss composer Franz von Wartensee, an associate of Paganini, wrote in his memoirs, “Not everyone knows that Paganini was a first-rate guitarist, since he did not consider it worth the effort to present himself
publicly as such.” Paganini’s large output for solo guitar includes the set of 37 Sonatas, MS84 and the five Sonatine, MS85 together with a number of other individual scores. Today Paganini’s best known guitar works, with violin accompaniment, are probably the Sonata concertata, MS2 and the Grande sonata, MS3.
On this Dynamic disc the 43 Ghiribizzi for solo guitar were composed in Naples around 1820, writing in 1824 that, “The guitar Ghiribizzi were to be for a little girl in Naples.” The affable and happy-go-lucky character of these occasional, miniature pieces titled Ghiribizzi can be translated as meaning ‘whimsical trifles’. The Ghiribizzi are short works designed to be within the technical compass of the modest guitar player yet they maintain a consistent and abundant flow of stylish and attractive melody.
All but two of the 43 scores are composed in the major key; primarily in either A, C or D major. These undemanding, delightful and richly sumptuous morsels are predominantly brisk and lively, evocative of the joy and merriment of the carnival or the country dance. Ideally I would have preferred a more contrasting mood from the generally buoyantly and sparkling character. Only a small number of the Ghiribizzi, such as the Andantes No. 8 and No. 12, are of a more reflective and soothing nature. I admired the shifting moods of the Ghiribizzo No.10 Allegretto in C major and the confident posturing of No. 16 Larghetto in G major, ‘In Cor più non mi sento’. Especially memorable are the Ghiribizzi No. 17 D major Andantino, ‘Le Streghe’; No.20 Andante in C major, ‘Là ci darem la mano’ and No. 39 Allegretto in D major.
In some of them Paganini uses themes from his own works and those of others. For example the theme in the carnival-like Ghiribizzo No. 4 is taken from his Sonata for violin and guitar, Op. 4/6 and the affable No. 5 has the melody Non più mesta accanto al fuoco from Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola. In the brisk and optimistic Ghiribizzo No. 11 Paganini uses a theme from his popular Sonata a Preghiera (Moses Fantasy) for violin and orchestra, MS 23 that comes from Rossini’s opera Mosè in Egitto. The genial Ghiribizzo No.37 Adagietto con espressione in A major might indicate a possible connection to the Naples meeting that Paganini had with Rossini in 1820.
The 47 Ghiribizzi were recorded in 2007 at Bologna by the Italian-born and Florence-based guitarist Adriano Sebastiani who has developed a specialisation for the music of Paganini. The soloist is in supreme command of this delightful set. His way with articulation is outstanding imparting a vibrant colour to Paganini’s ‘whimsical trifles’. The sound quality is vividly clear with a fine sense of presence. At less than sixty minutes the playing time might be ungenerous but not so the amount of pleasure I took from listening to these performances.
-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Ghiribizzi (43) for Guitar, MS 43 by Niccolò Paganini
Adriano Sebastiani (Guitar)
Written: 1819-1820; Naples, Italy
Venue: Piano del Voglio, Bologna, italy
Length: 58 Minutes 0 Secs.
Notes: Piano del Voglio, Bologna, italy (01/05/2007 - 01/07/2007)
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