Etudes de concert composées d’après des Caprices de Paganini op.10, composed 1833
Allegro molto, A flat major
Non troppo lento, G minor
Vivace, G minor
Maestoso, C minor
B minor
Sostenuto, E minor 
Robert Schumann experienced Paganini at a concert in Frankfurt, who “was a great stimulation to my diligence, if he was also wanting in noble, priestlike, artistic repose.” The Etudes are piano arrangements of a number of Paganini’s Caprices for solo violin. Schumann found his composition “Paganini-like,” “with the exception of the bass lines, the dense German middle voices, and above all the fullness of the harmony and occasionally the increased suppleness of form.” The Caprices for violin, “which are conceived and carried out with a rare freshness and agility,” attempt “to strengthen rather than dissipate the richer setting that the pianoforte requires.” “With the addition of ‘de concert’ I hoped to differentiate from…earlier examples, for their brilliance certainly recommends them to public performance.” “By the way, I find Number 2 especially beautiful and delicate. It alone is sufficient to secure Paganini first place among the newer Italian composers. Florestan refers to it as an Italian river that flows onto German soil.” “The funeral march of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony was in my mind when I was working on Number 4. This may well be evident to listeners. The movement is pure romanticism.” —Excerpts from Schumann’s own comments about this work, from Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (1934).
Translation: William Melton
© Franz Vorraber