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Violinist Manrico Padovani. Niccolò Paganini - CD Review, January 29th-30th, 2024

l. Concerto No. 1 op. 6 in D major (Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra from Craiova, conductor Boris Perrenoud).

II. Variations on a theme by Joseph Weigl (Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, conductor Howard Griffiths); Concerto No. 2 op. 7 in B minor La Campanella (Güri Philharmonic Orchestra, South Korea)

In premiere on Radio Romania Muzical, we present an album featuring recordings of the 50-year-old Swiss violinist Manrico Padovani, who has performed on major stages worldwide, including Romania with the Symphactory Orchestra from Bucharest and the Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra from Craiova. He has recorded 14 albums to date, covering a vast repertoire from Baroque to modern creations, and he is the first Swiss violinist to perform all 24 Paganini caprices in a single event.

Born in 1973 in Zurich, Manrico Padovani studied in Winterthur and Amsterdam, guided in the early stages of his career by teachers including Ruggiero Rici, Herman Krebbers, and Anne Sophie Mutter. He has won international awards in competitions held in Vienna, Berlin, Siena, and Tokyo. Following his debut at the prestigious Lucerne Festival, Manrico Padovani was invited to perform concerts and recitals on significant stages across Europe, Asia, and North America. The musician plays valuable instruments, including a Joseph Gagliano violin, an 18th-century Stradivarius, and a Del Gesu Vuillaume violin created in Paris in 1861, the latter being the instrument used in his recent recording of concert pieces by Niccolo Paganini.

As Manrico Padovani confesses, at the age of 12, the violin became the center of his universe after watching a film about the life and career of the famous violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini. Inspired by Paganini, Manrico Padovani became a talented violinist, acclaimed by the public and appreciated by critics. This year, on January 19, he released an album featuring Paganini's compositions, recordings from concerts performed with different orchestras: Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra from Craiova, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and Güri Philharmonic Orchestra from South Korea.

The album includes Concerto No. 1 op. 6 in D major, Variations on a theme by Joseph Weigl, and Concerto No. 2 op. 7 in B minor La Campanella by Niccolo Paganini.

Regarding Concerto No. 1 op. 6 in D major, violinist Manrico Padovani stated in an interview for Radio Romania Muzical: "This concerto has always been one of my favorites. The differences between this score and others are the few moments of recitative, which offer the soloist many opportunities for expression. There is also a challenging moment: the double harmonics in the third movement. No one can guarantee whether they will come out as intended or not, no matter how much you've studied them beforehand. The second movement of the concerto is perhaps the most dramatic of all Paganini's compositions. Every time I play this part, it conveys a lot of emotion," confesses violinist Manrico Padovani, who highlights these features of Nicolo Paganini's Concerto No. 1 in D major, with the precious support of the Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Boris Perrenoud.

On the same album, the Sonata con variazioni in E major is included, composed by Niccolò Paganini in 1824 based on the aria Pria ch'io l'impegno from Joseph Weigel's opera L'amor marinaro - a representative example of this concertante genre from the early Romantic period. It is a highly technically challenging piece for the soloist, featuring arpeggios, parallel thirds and sixths, dizzying pizzicati, and various timbral effects that add color to the composition. Niccolò Paganini performed this work in public for the first time at the Sant'Agostino Theater in Genoa almost two centuries ago, on May 21, 1824. He then kept the score in his personal archive, and it was only published in 1922. The recording of the work with orchestral accompaniment is a rarity, considering that the version for violin and piano was more well-known until now. Manrico Padovani presents us with this piece in a recording made with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, conducted by Howard Griffiths.

Concerto No. 2 La Campanella could not be missing from the repertoire of violinist Manrico Padovani's album, being one of the most well-known works of the Italian composer. In this score written in 1826, Paganini, renowned for his demonstrations of virtuosity and dazzling technique, focused more on the charm of melodic lines, especially in the second part Adagio, framed by two fast movements Allegro and Rondo a la clochette or Campanella, with the latter giving the title to the work. With moments of intense expressiveness and a touch alternating between strength and subtlety, violinist Manrico Padovani delivers a remarkable interpretation of Paganini's Concerto in B minor, with the support of the Güri Philharmonic Orchestra from Seoul conducted by Boris Perrenoud.

Larisa Clempuº