Nicolo Paganini was perhaps the greatest violinist of all time and revolutionized and influenced violin playing more than anyone else in history. He popularized relatively unknown techniques such as left hand pizzicato, flying staccato and double harmonics and was a prolific composer in a time when to be considered a great artist, one also had to be a composer. None of his compositions except for his opus 1, the 24 caprices for unaccompanied violin were released in his lifetime to protect his secrets.
Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento literally means ‘in my heart I feel no more’ and was originally an aria from the opera La Bella Molinara by the Italian composer Paisiello. Paganini arranged the aria for violin, wrote an Introduction and Variations and premiered the piece in 1821 in Naples, Italy. It was very well received so he used it throughout Europe on his concert tours as an encore showpiece.
What are the challenges of playing Paganini’s music? First, there are the obvious technical challenges which are considerable but beyond that I think that the real challenge of playing his music is to create a profound quality and depth of emotion. That, I think, is the real test of playing his music.