Paganini Sonata No. 12 E Minor

Edited: January 28, 2020, 8:11 PM · I have the International Music edition. Was this piece originally for the violin and guitar? Are there clues that Paganini composed the piece on either the violin or guitar or both? I was curious if he used the guitar to compose in a similar fashion as his contemporary Berlioz (who I’ve read did not study the piano).

Replies (10)

January 28, 2020, 8:30 PM · As I searched through Imslp , the original version might be violin and guitar. The Violin and Piano version might be arranged by other editors. But I am not sure because I can't much info about it , hope this helps!
January 28, 2020, 11:46 PM · Paganini did play some piano as well, but he was famous during his lifetime for his guitar playing.
There are a lot of his pieces that he composed with the guitar in hand like Moto Perpetuo and Violin Concerto 6 (or 0).
January 29, 2020, 4:53 AM · According to the sleeve-note/booklet for the old Ricci recording, this was originally for violin and guitar. I remember this from the LP when I was a student, and it's reaffirmed in the booklet for the CD reissue.
Edited: January 29, 2020, 6:28 AM · Virtually All Paganini chamber music has a guitar in it.
Edited: January 29, 2020, 8:30 AM · Paganini's Opus 2 and 3 comprise two sets of sonatas for violin and guitar, with 6 sonatas in each set. The only sonata of the twelve that is in E minor is Op 3 Nr 6. I think that may be the one Raymond is referring to.

Virtually all of Paganini's compositions for violin and guitar have been recorded on 9 CDs by Luigi Bianchi and Maurizio Preda.

Edited: February 2, 2020, 6:11 PM · Thanks Trevor. Yes, that's correct. On, I found the E minor sonata (Opus 3) in a collection of six sonatas published by Ricordi. According to this edition, these sonatas were composed and dedicated to a girl named Eleonora.

On a side note, I recently came across a letter from Paganini where he characterizes two of Beethoven's late quartets as baroque in style. "Gli ultimi quartetti di Beethoven de quali ne ho intesi due mi sembrano molto barocchi." Any clues as to the two quartets he was referring to?

February 3, 2020, 9:05 AM · Raymond, I've not heard this before, but it's an interesting observation. I would hazard a guess that one of them might have been Op130. It has been described as a divertamento on the most exalted level - could also be considered as a 'suite' a la Baroque. Movements 2-4 and the replacement finale all have some characteristics of dance, as per a Baroque suite, and the Cavatina reminds one commentator of Bach in it's solemnity, depth and restrained expression. And the Grosse Fuge is of course a fugue, though most un-baroque.
Some of these comments could also apply to Op131 with its un-classical layout of 7 movements of variable length and musical weight. But the 'dance' content is lower. However both the first and last movements could be related to the baroque. A slow fugue possibly inspired by Bach in the same key, and a finale full of contrapuntal and fugal activity.
Just a guess - maybe someone will confirm or correct me.
February 3, 2020, 6:11 PM · Raymond, I cannot find any trace on of the scores of Paganini's Op 2 and 3. Mysterious. I seem to remember seeing them on that website some time ago, so perhaps they have been removed for some reason (or my memory is at fault).

Paganini's 30 or so "Lucca" sonatas aren't on IMSLP either, which is a pity. In the Paganini catalog they are MS 9-15 in the MS classification system (rather than the opus system). The Lucca sonatas date from about the same time as Op 2 and 3 when he taught and directed music at the Court of Lucca. They were composed for, and dedicated to, his pupils the high-born young ladies of the Court - one was related to Napoleon - and he would probably have accompanied them on the guitar. These delightful 2-movement sonatas (those few I've seen) are less difficult (grade 5-6 perhaps?) than those of Op 2 and 3, and give some indication of the standard his pupils may have reached.

February 3, 2020, 11:18 PM · Opus 2:

Opus 3:

Edited: February 4, 2020, 6:09 PM · Mattias, many thanks for that very useful information. It shows another way of of finding one's way around the maze that is IMSLP!

I recollect that some years ago Paganini Op 2 (at least) was on the main composers page under Paganini, and now for reasons known only to IMSLP Opp 2 and 3 have been moved to a different, and not entirely obvious, search category.

It still doesn't look as if IMSLP have any of the "Lucca" sonatas MS 9-15. These 30 short sonatas, which are generally easier than Opp 2 and 3, are among the few Paganini pieces that are playable by the average amateur ("Hey Mom, I can play Paganini!"), and really need to be uploaded to IMSLP.

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