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Niccolò Paganini: Moto perpetuo in C, opus 11 – Violin Concerto n° 5 in A minor (orch. Federico Mompellio) – I palpiti, opus 13: Introductions and Variations on the theme ‘Di tanti palpiti’ from Rossini’s opera ‘Tancredi’
Ivan Pochekin (Violin), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky (Conductor)
Recording: Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company, KULTURA, Moscow, Russia (August 28-31, 2011) – 56’13
Naxos #8.570487 – Booklet in English

Intricacies of Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann were undoubtedly inspired by fellow Niccolò Paganini. Paganini followed in the footsteps of his father, demonstrating prolific capabilities at an early age, and ultimately brought violin a new standard of excellence featuring ambitious ornamentation and masterful technique. Listening to Paganini’s pieces is virtuosity extraordinaire.

The dizzying Moto perpetuo is like a whirling dervish of semiquavers paced to a presto metronome, a piece that knows no boundaries of letting up until the final note has been played. Muscovite Ivan Pochekin is undaunted by the tempo, and he never concedes defeat in what is, perhaps, the most stressful stringed composition in existence.

Paganini created only six concertos, and he was quite protective of his music. The Violin Concerto n° 5 in A minor has an interesting twist in that only the violin solo section survived. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Italian musicologist Federico Mompellio completed the orchestration, only to receive its premiere in 1959. The “Allegro maestoso” opens with majestic gravity that intermittently weaves a dialogue of flute and oboe during stretches of da capo. After sidelining for five minutes, Pochekin returns and ratchets up the movement with his own fiery rendition within the piece’s subsections.

“Andante un poco sostenuto” wallows with impressive pensive emotion that leads into Pochekin’s conception of the “Rondo: Andantino quasi allegretto” with its tarantella-like edge and spectacular arpeggios. The conclusive three minutes is where Ivan Pochekin shines the greatest with an array of dazzling staccatos in 6/8 rhythm which are mesmerizing and magnificent.

Finally, Niccolò Paganini uses Gioacchino Rossini’s Tancredi, the melodramma eroico of 1813, as inspiration for violin extensions by honing in on title role’s cavatina, ’Di tanti palpiti.’ The variations on a theme, contained within three defined segments, allow Pochekin to let his hand set fire to his strings once again, singing with splendid array of Paganini panache.

Ivan Pochekin absorbs himself within Niccolò Paganini’s musical magic, and he demonstrates a true sense of connection with this incredibly difficult music. Sharply tuned, Pochekin evinces a sensitive edge and empathetic connection.

Christie Grimstad




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