Anyone playing the violin cannot get around the music of Paganini. Paganini is usually associated with the impossible. Yet the 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 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)
Total time: 01:13:30
van der Hul
B&W 803 diamond series
Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Rens Heijn custom design
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|Release Date||August 18, 2015|
What a violinist!
As part of Channel Classics’ “Channel of China” series, this must be viewed as a compulsory purchase by all who admire the art of transforming technically dazzling pieces into lyrical works of art. Of the 8 works presented here, almost all are arrangements by one F. Kreisler, one is arranged by G. Kinsky and F. Rothschild leaving 2 “pure” (violin only) Paganini works; the arrangements are all for violin and piano.
It is very difficult to single out highlights from this album but surely one must be the quite frankly jaw-dropping performance given by Ning Feng of the Variations on God Save the King. It really has to be heard to be believed.
Nor is Feng’s sole claim to accolades his technique; his ample ability to phrase a melody can be heard to great effect in the Cantabile. Feng has clearly formed a good relationship with his accompanist Thomas Hoppe on this album and Hoppe manages to bring the most out of the meagre piano parts and manages to negotiate every twist and turn that is thrown his way with ease.
The sound is fortunately well up to the house standard that Channel Classics have set themselves. Though it is much closer than other recordings in their catalog, yet it should come as no surprise that Feng withstands such scrutiny with astonishing ease.
The notes are also well written with some interesting trivia that goes beyond ‘Paganini was the devil’. Included in them is a highly apposite phrase “It [Paganini’s music] is reserved for a small, select group of master violinists” Feng deservedly belongs in this group and few, if any, other violinists who are represented on DSD recordings also merit such membership so clearly.
A stunning début and one that will hopefully be followed up before too long.
(…) 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.
(…) 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!!
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.
(…) 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!
Ein Ausnahmetalent (…) Feng ist ein Meister der Virtuosität. (…)
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