Sergey Malov - Hommage à Paganini album review: the spirit of Paganini is alive and well

Hommage à Paganini
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Artist: Sergey Malov, Pietro Locatelli, Domenico Gabrieli, Niccolò Paganini, Henri Vieuxtemps, John Corigliano, Petar Christoskov, Garth Knox, Jörg Widmann, Alfred Schnittke
Genre: Classical
Label: Pan Classics

Dynamic Russian virtuoso Sergey Malov’s homage to Paganini stretches from the 17th century to the 21st, from Domenico Gabrielli and Locatelli through Paganini and Vieuxtemps to John Corigliano, Peter Christoskov, Alfred Schnittke, Jörg Widmann and Garth Knox.

Malov uses four instruments, baroque and modern violins, viola, and violoncello da spalla, literally a shoulder cello, held up with a strap — watch him play it on YouTube.

It’s clear that the spirit of Paganini remains alive and well, whether in Corigliano’s Red Violin Caprices, a nostalgic, late-20th-century evocation of Paganini-like techniques, the folksy take of Bulgarian Christoskov’s Dunavsko Horo, the bouncing dance of Knox’s Up, down, sideways, round, or the more challenging visions of Schnittke and Widmann.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor