Hello Mr. Paganini (2007)


Ning Feng

Anyone playing the violin cannot get around the music of Paganini. Paganini is usually associated with the impossible and yet possible violin technique he invented, so much so that - because of their degree of complexity – a large part of his compositions is used for technical practice purposes. But meanwhile, the musical artistry in his works has often been overlooked or ignored. Undoubtedly, most of Paganini’s works are technically incredibly challenging, and his historical 24 Caprices are often used as the ultimate technical étude. Besides the 24 Caprices, Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento and God Save the King, the two theme pieces with variations for solo violin, are probably even more iconic in that all technical aspects of violin playing are demonstrated. Using the left hand pizzicato to accompany the theme, which is played at the same time using the bow, as well as the double harmonics, did not even appear in his 24 Caprices. But underneath all those dazzling skills, we should not forget about the music itself. I can hardly think of a Paganini piece without a beautiful and enjoyable Italian operatic aria. So, why not sing along? Therefore , I hope when listening to Paganini’s music on this recording, we can all appreciate not only the diabolic finger fireworks on the outside, but also the angel-like lyrical melodies on the inside.’ (from liner notes)

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Ning Feng

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition, following in the footsteps of violinists such as Kavakos, Kremer and Accardo.

Established at the highest level in China, Ning Feng performs regularly in his native country in recital, with their many local orchestras, and with major touring orchestras. Now based in Berlin and performing worldwide, Ning Feng has developed a reputation internationally as an artist of great lyricism and emotional transparency, displaying tremendous bravura and awe-inspiring technical accomplishment.

In recent seasons Ning has performed with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer, Russian State Symphony/Vladimir Jurowski, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Tang and in halls such as Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Great Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and Beijing’s NCPA. In recital he has played in prestigious series and festival such as Vancouver Recital Series and Hong Kong International Chamber, Prague Spring, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals.

In the 2013/14 season, Ning’s orchestral engagements include his debut with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra with Ivan Fischer, a return to the Hong Kong Philharmonic/van Zweden both in Hong Kong and Taipei, his debut with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra/Carneiro and concerts in China, Singapore, Taiwan and Macau with the Kaoshing Symphony and NCPA Orchestras. In recital, Ning Feng will perform in cities such as Hong Kong, Moscow, Boston and across China, and with Igor Levit and Sebastian Klinger he will perform piano trios across Germany, including at the Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg and Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festivals. Other festival appearances include his return to the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Kissinger Sommer Festival where he performs every year and where he will be an Artist-in-Residence in 2014.

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His most recent recording of the solo sonatas by Bartok, Prokofiev and Hindemith was released in August 2013. His previous disc, Solo, featuring works by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others, received a first-class review by Audiophile Audition: “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot. This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers… and there are really few violinists who are able to pull it off. Ning Feng is one of those who can, not only for his sterling playing but also because of the rabid intelligence behind the selection of pieces here. None of these works is anything less than enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. Milstein’s arrangement of the Paganiniana has never been bettered… this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible.” His recording of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will be released later in 2013.

Ning Feng plays a 1721 Stradivari violin, known as the ‘MacMillan’, on private loan, kindly arranged by Premiere Performances of Hong Kong.

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Hello Mr. Paganini (2007)


Ning Feng

    Opus Klassiek

(...) Feng peelt als God in Frankrijk speels, zwierig, charmant, poëtisch, maar ook op het scherpst van de snede, met groot virtuoos vertoon, in grote stijl. Thomas Hoope is in dit bijzondere veeleisende programma zijn ideale partner. Prachtig opgenomen.

    Classic Fm

(...) Feng maintains exceptional purity of intonation, with the minimum of noices off. Above all, even in the forced-harmonic acrobatics and dancing left-hand pizzicatos he always sounds as though he is enjoying himself enormously. Thomas Hoppe accompanies with discretion and the engineering is as unimpeachable as the playing itself The Strad Ning Feng, struts his stuff in 8 dazzling showpieces. An impressive calling card.

    International Record Review

(...) An enthralling, exciting recital (...) Lets have some more Paganin, Mr. Feng!!

    De Gelderlander

Ja hoor, een schot in de roos! Onder het speelse motto, Hello mr. Paganini' bedwelmt Feng de luisteraar 5 kwartier lang met technische hoogstandjes eb pure muzikaliteit. Zijn lyrische verbeeldingskracht horen we in Paganini's Cantabile, zij mieterse techniek in de variaties Nel cor più non mi sento.

    Audiophile Audition

(...) A fine introduction to a new talent playing formidable music with grace and affection. So, if you like Paganini, you will mighty pleased with this. If not, I am sure at least some of this recital will win you over. And at the very least, it serves as a fine welcome to a highly talented newcomer playing on an instruments made in 2005, if you can believe it!

    Hifi video test

Ning Feng is briljant!! (...) Allemaal juweeltjes uit de vioolliteratuur .

    HP de Tijd

Een cd met een hoge aaibaarheidsfactor. (...) De muziek klinkt bij Ning Feng delicaat en virtuoos.

    DomPost / New Zealand -

The Paganini pieces might be musically a bit insubstantial, but they are all designed to show off a master player, and Ning Feng stands out, even in an age full of dazzling young string players. His virtuosity is breathtaking but he also possesses a real sense for the poetic, and he makes a wonderfully pure sound as well. His accompanist Thomas Hoppe abets him, when needed, with real style and the recording, made in Eindhoven, is almost holgraphically realistic. Merit with the highest rating five stars


Feng kan lezen en schrijven met zijn Stefan-Peter Greiner viool uit 2005, die volgens mij net zo goed klinkt als een Guarneri of Stradivarius (die stokoude violen lijken een cultus op zich te zijn geworden). Paganini moet volgens zijn tijdgenoten een 'duivelskunstenaar' op de viool zijn geweest, wat ook wel blijkt uit de talloze aantal technische hoogstandjes die hij in zijn partituren heeft gestopt en waarop menige topviolist ook vandaag de dag nog steeds bijna zijn vingers breekt. Feng breekt niets in deze briljante Paganini- en Kreisler-arrangementen, die we menigmaal tijdens een recital als het epaterende nagerecht krijgen geserveerd, zoals Paganini's Non più mesta en La campanella, de laatste caprice uit zijn 24 Caprices op. 1, Nel cor più non mi sento van Paisiello en Kreislers I palpiti. Feng speelt als een god in Frankrijk, speels, zwierig, charmant, poëtisch, maar ook op het scherpst van de snede, met groot virtuoos vertoon, in grote stijl. Thomas Hoppe is in dit bijzonder veeleisende programma zijn ideale partner. Prachtig opgenomen!

[read full review]

    Rheinische Post

Ein Ausnahmetalent (...) Feng ist ein Meister der Virtuosität. (...)

Hello Mr. Paganini (2007)


Ning Feng

Cables: van der Hul
Digital Converters: Meitner AD/DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijn custom design
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Eindhoven Holland
Recording Software: Merging Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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80807: Hello Mr. Paganini
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Non Piu Mesta, Op. 12
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Caprice No. 24 From 24 Caprices, Op. 1
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Variations On God Save The King, Op. 9
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Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento
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Le Streghe, Op 8
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La Campanella - The Bell, Op. 7
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I Palpiti, Op. 13
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