Niccolò Paganini, an Italian violinist and street performer, was one of the most famous virtuoso of all time and some people believe that he was a metaphorical musical god while the others think that he traded with devil to get such talent and virtuosity. He was also known for his speed in playing violin with 12 notes played per second. Is he really a god or devil? In today’s topic, lets unveil this violin master’s backgroud story.
Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa, Italy, on October 27, 1782 as the third of six children born to Teresa and Antonio Paganini. His father knew how to play mandolin and taught Paganini when he was 5 years old. Paganini’s talent was quickly recognized, and his father sent him to study with various local violinists, including Giovanni Servetto and Giacomo Costa.
In 1794, 11 years old Paganini had his first public violin performance at Genoa. He then seeked guidance from Ferdinando Paer and Gasparo Ghiretti who had influenced his style of later composition. With hardwork in practicing which it was said that he practiced for 15 hours a day, Paganini gained more frame by traveling to local cities including Livorno and Parma to display his unparrelled violin skills. However, he indulged himself in gambling, womanizing and alcohol as he became famous locally. After he paused his career for a while, he got a great opportunity in 1805. At that time, Napoleon annexed Lucca which was state of Italy, and gave control to his sister princess Elisa Baciocchi.
Paganini quickly earned favor of Baciocchi and became the violinist of her court. He also gave private lessons to Baciocchi’s husband Felice. It was speculated that he composed masterpiece solo “24 Caprices” at this time. However, he soon left Baciocchi and resumed his traveling virtuoso life.
For the next few years, Paganini traveled throughout the Geona and Parma region and in 1813, his concert in La Scala, Milian was a huge success. Many audiences found his music concert attractive. Some people cried when he executed tender passages and some believed that they had seen the devil helping Paganini with his performance. In 1827, Pope Leo XII honoured Paganini with the Order of the Golden Spur. Paganini soon spreaded his frame through the Europe with his violin concert began in Vienna and stoped at major countries in Europe including Germany, France and Poland.
Paganini’s health soon decline after his extravagant lifestyle and frequent concert schedule. It was said that he suffered Marfan syndrome and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome. However, many people believed that because of those syndrome, Paganini was able to play violin like a devil with long fingers and extraordinary flexibility. Plus he always weared black suit and his pale skin made him looked unnormal. Thus, he had nickname of ‘Rubber Man’ and ‘Devil Violinist’. He was later on diagnosed with syphilis in 1822 and as his got treatment withmercury, his health became worse. In 1834, he was treated for tuberculosis, which ended his concert and returned to Geona.
Eventhough his health drastically declined, he still devoted himself in teaching his violin techniques and publishing his music compositions. He taught a young virtuoso called Apollinaire who was only 11 years old and found his violin skills impressive. In 1840 May 27, he died of larynx cancer in Nice, France. However, Paganini died without receiving the last rites and church in Geona refused to bury his body on consecrated ground because he was widely rumored with having relationship with devil. His body was finally buried in 1876, in a cemetery in Parma. The devil violinist settled but his music work and his skill of playing 12 notes per secound are still widely known today.
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