Brahms, Johannes - Paganini Variations Op 35 Piano Solo
In the 19th century, Nicolò Paganini was the embodiment of the virtuoso. Many composers used his musical themes for their own creative work. Johannes Brahms likewise did not hesitate to use a work by Paganini the violin virtuoso as the basis for a composition for his own instrument, the piano, using the Capriccio no. 24 in a minor from Paganini’s op. 1 as his model. Brahms initially viewed the Variations, composed in 1862/63, merely as a “finger exercise” for himself, and had no intention of publishing them. After several years he fortunately decided otherwise, and thus with this Urtext edition pianists who are Brahms aficionados can enjoy an unusual virtuoso masterpiece. In contrast to the variations on the same theme by Chopin, Schumann and Liszt, those by Brahms offer a much richer, more novel spectrum of pianistic variations. Whether players find them to be “witches’ variations”, as did Clara Schumann, is a matter for them.