Classical Music CDs, DVDs

Paganini 24 Capricci - Caprices

One of today's most versatile violinists presents a new account of Paganini's Caprices ? an unsurpassed compendium of technical difficulties ? played as "improvised character pieces". Zehetmair reveals extraordinary technical perfection coupled with uniquely imaginative insight and a sense of musical drama.

Conductor, chamber musician, ardent pioneer of contemporary composition and an adventurous soloist, Thomas Zehetmair is certainly the most versatile artist among the performers of the Caprices by Niccol? Paganini (1782-1840), the set of 24 hair-raisingly difficult violin studies that established new standards of the instrument's technical possibilities.

Zehetmair's overwhelming and critically acclaimed ECM recording of the Sonatas for unaccompanied violin by Ysa?e, released in 2004, offered ample proof that alleged virtuoso pyrotechnics can be surprisingly multifaceted and complex when approached by a musician with a rare awareness of stylistic layers and expressive traditions. His (long deleted) Teldec version of the Capricci from the early 90s quickly won benchmark status. In 2007 he went to the Austrian monastery of St. Gerold to record a second ? even more ambitious ? interpretation whose improvisational freedom conveys all the demonic and haunting aspects of the music.

Both Zehetmair's solo records and his quartet albums on ECM have met with unanimous praise in recent years ? especially the Zehetmair Quartet's Schumann disc which was Gramophone's Record of the Year.

(Ecm) 002894763318

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