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Bronislaw Huberman - Paganini: La campanella

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Published on Jan 22, 2011

Recorded 1923. Paul Frenkel, piano

The Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman (1882-1947) made his début as soloist in a Spohr violin concerto at the age of seven. In Berlin Joachim would not accept him as a pupil, since he was never willing to teach child prodigies, but Huberman studied with there with Joachim's assistant and with various teachers, including Marsick in Paris, while consolidating his career as a virtuoso. He aroused great enthusiasm in Vienna, where he appeared in 1895 with Adelina Patti in her farewell concert, and in 1896 played Brahms's Violin Concerto in the approving presence of the composer. After 1933, when he refused to appear any more in Germany, he turned his attention to the establishment of an orchestra in Palestine, which after his death became the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

La campanella (meaning "The Little Bell") is the nickname given to the third of six Grandes études de Paganini ("Grand Paganini Etudes"), S. 141 (1851), composed by Franz Liszt. This piece is a revision of an earlier version from 1838, the Études d'exécution transcendente d'après Paganini, S. 140. Its melody comes from the final movement of Niccolò Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, where the tune was reinforced by a little handbell.

Paganini was the greatest violinist of his age, exercising a strong influence on the developing technique of violin-playing and, through his virtuosity on the instrument, on the ambitions of performers on other instruments. Born in Genoa in 1782, he studied there, at first with his father. He spent eight years, from 1801, at Lucca, later as solo violinist to the court of Napoleon's sister, installed there as ruler by her brother. From 1810 he travelled as a virtuoso, at first in Italy and then, from 1828, abroad, causing a sensation wherever he went, his phenomenal technique giving rise to rumours of diabolical assistance. His career went into partial decline from 1834, followed by a significant deterioration in health. He died in Nice in 1840.

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