/ Paganini-off

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Jon Stewart 23:15 Tue

So, which is the best of all the various sets of variations on Paganini's famous theme? The best on YouTube that is.

I'll start with this version of Liszt's by a YouTuber, 'cause I like the format (it ain't the best, but it's still bloody good).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR98AEAgnYQ

I don't normally like the mixture of classical music and competition, but for this piece, it's entirely appropriate. So come on, who's going to be the winner?

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DenzelLN 23:53 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I have no idea but thanks for the link!

I have had a look to see if Lisitsa had an offering, doesn't seem she has.

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Jon Stewart 00:13 Wed
In reply to DenzelLN:

> I have had a look to see if Lisitsa had an offering, doesn't seem she has.

She's awesome. Pity she's not recorded the Brahms set, it's better than Liszt's (even Liszt admitted it).

Here's the original Paganini:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ307sM0t-0

There's some well-known arrangements, and there must be hundreds of obscure ones on different instruments/ensembles/genres, etc. If we're lucky, some weird and wonderful ones could come out on this thread...

Edit:

Val does a wicked Campanella, which is no.3 of Liszt's 6 Etudes after Paganini.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY_eIIFqNxg

Post edited at 00:21
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In reply to Jon Stewart:

Surely, surely it's Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a theme of P?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c33q87s03h4

Post edited at 00:29
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Jon Stewart 00:29 Wed
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Is it though? I kind of like it, but there's something cloying (even if those variations are intended with some humour, perhaps). Post the link and I'll give it another go!

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've just added a link above with a couple of musicians talking about it and playing excerpts. Perhaps I hugely biassed because this was one of the very first pieces of classical music that captured my imagination at the age of 16. That, and his Second Piano Concerto.

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Jon Stewart 00:40 Wed
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Thanks!

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've just listened to that whole Proms performance. Just terrific. I happen to think that Rachmaninov (once you see him himself playing his own pieces on the piano, and listen to a lot of his work) is one of the all time greats, perhaps somewhere in the 4th - 6th position, if you know what I mean.

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ena sharples 01:21 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

not a variation, just the original 24th caprice, but worthy of inclusion by virtue of the truly astonishing playing-https- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8_atIRcuDg

just to put this in context, this was recorded when he was 12 years old. I'll say that again, 12. as was this, the first caprice- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4_gz7yk_gs

Post edited at 01:26
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kamala 01:22 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

If you'd like "obscure", try this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N25VDSjJ83E

(It's so long because he goes through it twice, once with the sheet music showing.) I like it but I'm biased as I (sort of) play the instrument.

If you want a more mainstream version to play along to...:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcL0IsklM3M

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Jon Stewart 09:54 Wed
In reply to kamala:

Just the ticket! 

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DenzelLN 10:14 Wed
In reply to kamala:

> If you want a more mainstream version to play along to...

That'd be a miracle!

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jcw 17:53 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Lutoslawski, two versions. I've heard the piano and orchestra version two or three times and found it quite enjoyable. 

Incidentally in case some may not realise the famous gorgeous variation of the Rachmaninov is the theme inverted and played in the major. 

Post edited at 17:59
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kamala 18:43 Wed
In reply to DenzelLN:

I might have been smiling the tiniest of ironic smiles as I typed that...

Some great links here, thanks to Jon for starting the thread!

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cb294 19:03 Wed
In reply to Jon Stewart:

What about Yngwie Malmsteen? The videos on youtube are unfortunately not that great, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJkLpEPYJdg

CB

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Jon Stewart 21:14 Wed
In reply to jcw:

> Lutoslawski, two versions. I've heard the piano and orchestra version two or three times and found it quite enjoyable. 

I'll have a look for those.

> Incidentally in case some may not realise the famous gorgeous variation of the Rachmaninov is the theme inverted and played in the major. 

I didn't know that until I watched the intro by Stephen Hough on the Proms vid from Gordon. Got much more out of this performance, cracking stuff.

Here's the Brahms. Magic!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUe_aR5ZIE4

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jcw 10:37 Thu
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'm in locked down total isolation in Paris with no access to most of my belongings.But at least with a piano and quite a lot of my piano music: so not much good at watching the links or creating them. Haven't heard the Brahms for ages but it is perhaps the best of the lot. If you are a Hough enthusiast try his recording of two of the Hummel concertos: even he had to admit it made him sweat. And if you want to start another thread, but not on this one, try the number of composers who used the medieval Dies Irae. To give you a lead, starting  with Zimmerman and Osawa doing Liszt's Totentanz which will make your hair stand on end.

Thanks for a civilized post among the mass of pretty rubbish stuff appearing on this site at present

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Jon Stewart 11:50 Thu
In reply to jcw:

> I'm in locked down total isolation in Paris with no access to most of my belongings.

Oh no! That makes the UK situation look like a err, walk in the park.

> If you are a Hough enthusiast try his recording of two of the Hummel concertos: even he had to admit it made him sweat. And if you want to start another thread, but not on this one, try the number of composers who used the medieval Dies Irae. To give you a lead, starting  with Zimmerman and Osawa doing Liszt's Totentanz which will make your hair stand on end.

Good idea! It's in the Rachmaninov already, that could be long thread. I have been debating settling down to Totentanz, but it just seemed a little goulish right now. I have an elderly neighbour in "shielding"...maybe I shouldn't turn it up full blast?

> Thanks for a civilized post among the mass of pretty rubbish stuff appearing on this site at present

If ever there was a time to share music and culture, this is it!

Post edited at 11:53
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Blue Straggler 18:09 Thu
In reply to jcw:

> Thanks for a civilized post among the mass of pretty rubbish stuff appearing on this site at present

I'll resist the temptation to post a clip of Steve Vai's Paganini-inspired "Devil guitar duel" at the end of the daft Ralph Macchio film "Crossroads" then  

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In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I'll resist the temptation to post a clip of Steve Vai's Paganini-inspired "Devil guitar duel" at the end of the daft Ralph Macchio film "Crossroads" then  

I’ll resist the temptation to add to that by linking to Yngwie Malmsteen videos too

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cb294 19:09 Thu
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

There aren't any good ones on youtube, unfortunately...

CB

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Blue Straggler 20:46 Thu
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

The Vai thing really was Paganini-inspired though, including rumours of Paganini selling HIS soul to the devil for “mad skillz”. Vai mimicked Paganini’s appearance and so on. Did Malmsteen do something Paganini-esque? I don’t follow these kinds of players 

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Doug 20:54 Thu

Dare I mention Ella Fitzgerald's ' Mr Paganini' ?

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In reply to Doug:

Only one of the very greatest singing voices of the whole twentieth century. She used her voice more like a subtle jazz instrument than a human voice. Just extraordinary (but outside the theme and scope of this thread).

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cb294 07:53 Fri
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just look at the low quality vid I posted above. Speed, more speed, and 17th century frilly shirts....

CB

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In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yep, there are a few YouTube vids of Yngwie referencing Paganini. He regularly does tours with Vai and Satriani.

He definitely falls into the ‘vacuous shredding’ camp. As Frank Zappa said about John McLoughlin, ‘A person woud be a moron not to appreciate McLaughlin's technique. The guy has certainly found out how to operate a guitar as if it were a machine gun’

Its probably something lacking in me, but John McLaughlin, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani leave me a bit cold. Bizarrely I really like Alan Holdsworth and have no explanation for that. 🤪

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Blue Straggler 09:31 Fri
In reply to cb294:

Thanks, sorry, I've been less able to view streaming media as I am mostly working from home with my office laptop set-up and the company has blocked all streaming media (I could use my personal MacBook or tablet but they are mostly put away. I guess I could use my phone!)

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Blue Straggler 09:32 Fri
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Thanks, I only think of the "more is more" legendary clip of Malmsteen in interview, when his name comes up  

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cb294 10:14 Fri
In reply to Blue Straggler:

No worries! Malmsteem was the first thing to come to my mind when reading the thread title, to me Paganini is the same. Pointless virtuousity. I was into that style for a time back in the 80s, but now I cannot stand it anymore.

CB

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In reply to cb294:

> No worries! Malmsteem was the first thing to come to my mind when reading the thread title, to me Paganini is the same. Pointless virtuousity. I was into that style for a time back in the 80s, but now I cannot stand it anymore.

> CB

Still listen to all my Jeff Beck albums, some of which I’ve had for more than 40 years. Virtuosity, but never seems to overplay.

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cb294 12:01 Fri
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Jeff Beck is OK, but I cannot listen to, say, Tony MacAlpine anymore without my toenails curling up...

CB

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Blue Straggler 12:05 Fri
In reply to cb294:

There are people who think Tommy Emmanuel is the best  

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Billy Connolly tells a story of the late Jimmy Reid [trade union leader] asking Billy to use his influence to get him 4 tickets to see Ella Fitzgerald in Glasgow. Billy managed to get 4. When he handed him to Jimmy Reid he handed Billy 2 back and said "These are for you." Billy explained that he didn't like jazz but Jimmy Reid persuaded him to go to the concert. Billy says it turned out to be one of the best nights of his life.

Post edited at 14:55
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Simon Caldwell 10:10 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'm surprised nobody has posted this yet, one of the few worthwhile pieces Lloyd Webber has produced

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxxfaGmyJ5g

or maybe they have and I've just not spotted it!

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Simon Caldwell 10:11 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Not variations as such, but here's Benny Goodman's take

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kmzyYrBei0

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Simon Caldwell 10:19 Sat
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Poul Ruders 2nd guitar concerto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8GTtJ3D6s

Boris Blacher
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpxaHs1X-4o

and my favourite, Philip Wilby's version for brass band
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOED6z0kQls

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Jon Stewart 11:23 Sat
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Great job! Currently enjoying the guitar concerto, thanks.

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