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with the richest arpeggios and echoes, intermingled with new effects, that no language can describe. Though he withdrew amidst a confusion of huzzas and bravos that completely drowned the full orchestra, yet he was called for to receive the homage of the audience; and was so apparently affected, that he would have dropped had he not been supported by Laporte and Costa.
There was no trick in his playing; it was all fair, scientific execution, opening to us a new order of sounds, the highest of which ascended two octaves above C in alt.'
A German writer observes, 'He is the first artiste on his instrument alive. He has thrown to an immeasurable distance the whole fiddling world of Germany. His native Italy lays all its bows and strings, with adoring homage, at his feet. The French violinists tremble for their fame as he approaches to their confines; and the first flourish of his bow is dreaded as the earthquake which is to shake the Conservatoire over the heads of its learned professors.'
With a weak organization, Paganini is one of the most forcible examples of the almost superhuman strength which results from the exaltation of mind produced by genius. When he seizes the violin, it seems that a star descends on him, and inspires him with fire from heaven. He instantly loses his weakness-a new existence opens to him; he is another creature; and during the musical action, his strength is more than quintupled. After having performed a concerto, his symptoms are those of a man under an attack of epilepsy: his livid and cold skin is covered with a profuse perspiration; his pulse is scarcely to be felt; and when questioned on any subject, he answers only in monosyllables. The night after his concert he never sleeps, and continues in an agitation which sometimes lasts for two or three days. These facts have been communicated by Dr. Bennett, who attended Paganini during his stay in Vienna.*
The murder of his wife, and the story of his imprisonment, being still involved in mystery, induced a particular friend to press him for an explanation how he had acquired the magical power upon this instrument. He replied,—'I was playing at the court of Lucca, to the princess (Napoleon's favorite sister,) and another fascinating creature, that must be nameless, who, I flattered myself, felt a penchant for me, and was never absent from my performance; on my own side, I had long been her admirer. Our mutual fondness became gradually stronger and stronger; but we were forced to conceal it, and by this means its strength and fervor were greatly enhanced. One day I promised to surprise her at the next concert, with a musical joke, which should convey an allusion to our attachment; and I accordingly gave notice at court that I should bring forward a musical novelty, under the title of a
• Imbert de Laphaleque.
Love Scene. The whole world was on tiptoe; and on the evening appointed I made my appearance, violin in hand. I had previously robbed it of the two middle strings, so that none but the E and G remained; the first string being designed to play the maiden's part, and the lowest the youth's. I began with a species of dialogue, in which I attempted to introduce movements analogous to transient bickerings and reconciliations between the lovers. Now my strings growled, and then sighed; and anon, lisped, hesitated, joked, and joyed, till at last they sported with merry jubilee. Shortly both souls joined once more in harmony, and the appeased lovers' quarrel led to a Pas de deux, which terminated in a brilliant Coda. This brilliant fantasia of mine was greeted with loud applause. The lady, to whom every scene referred, rewarded me by looks of delight, and full of sweetness; and the princess was charmed into such amiable condescension, that she loaded me with encomiums; asking me, whether, since I could produce so much with two strings, it would not be possible to gratify them by playing only on one. I yielded instant assent.
The idea tickled my fancy; and as the Emperor's birth-day was at hand, I composed a sonata for the G string, which I entitled ' Napoleon ;' and played before the court with so much effect, that a cantabile, given by Cimarosa, fell without producing any impression upon the hearers. This is the genuine and original cause of my predilection for the G
string. People were afterwards importunate to hear more of this performance, and in this way I became day by day a greater adept in this mystery of handling the bow.'* How little the ancients were aware of these effects! Corelli, who was the greatest performer and composer of his day, has not even called into action the fourth string either of the viola or violoncello, upon which this genius, Paganini, produces such new and surprising effects.
The compass of the violin has risen, with its execution, to a boundless height. In the time of Lully, scarcely a note was struck out of the fixed position of the hand, as it was not uncommon, when the note C above the lines occurred, for the leader to cry out Gar l'ut,' (mind the C,) as a difficulty which required an effort to overcome.
We need go no farther back than the time of Giardini, to show the rapid advances which execution has made. The prince of Wales laid before this great performer, at Carlton-house, the first set of Pleyel's quartetts (then just published,) desiring to hear them. Giardini commenced, but was so completely set fast in one of the movements, as to shut the book, and declare that they were too difficult for any person to perform ! | At the present * Harmonicon, No. XXXV.
† The whole of his Sonatas may be performed without either of these strings.
† Corelli, when at the court of Naples, on being pressed by Scarlatti to perform his first concerto, excused himself by saying, there
day we have ascended two octaves higher in the scale than a previous age attempted, and have acquired a rapidity and distinctness of execution then deemed impossible. These attainments, however, are not those which confer upon the violin its highest powers; its expression, in the hands of a master, entitles it to our admiration, and claims for it a command and rank above every other instrument in the orchestra.
UNQUESTIONABLY we derive many hints for musical composition from the song of earliest birds'-from the sweet warble of their wood-notes wild. In the summer time, the inquisitive and restless robin is early up, to wake the morn
was not sufficient time for the repeated rehearsals it would require to perfect the ripieno parts, before he could consent to bring it before the court. The compositions of this great man are extraordinary for the age in which he lived. As specimens of harmony, they are pure and without alloy; and their correctness proves what has been said of him, that he spent his life in finishing them.