Playing on Niccolò Paganini's Violin: Il Cannone

Published on 2 May 2020 at 00:11

Paganini passed away in 1840 and bequeathed his violin to his native city; Genoa. It is in exhibition at the Genoa town hall where it has been preserved since his death, but violinist Shlomo Mintz had the unique opportunity to give a concert on Paganini's violin "Il Cannone" by Guarneri del Gesù.

The violin was built in 1743 by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù and the instrument, preserved as a museum piece, was carefully restored in 1937. Since then, the signature of the restorer can be found next to the signature of the maker. Paganini called the instrument "Il Cannone" or "My Cannon", due to its powerful sound that impressed the audience while giving his concerts. In the 17th and 18th century, the craft of violin making experienced a Golden Age in Italy. Even with all the new technologies that have been developed in violin making, instruments of Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri are still unsurpassed.

The unique occurrence of playing this exceptional instrument, was granted to the Dutch city "Maastricht", in 1997. The violinist that had the honor to play on this historic piece of art, was the violinist Shlomo Mintz. Paganini left behind a sizable oeuvre. His famous 24 Caprices and his renowned first violin concerto, are considered the highlights of his oeuvre and therefor, Paganini's first violin concerto is played by Shlomo Mintz.

This rare occurrence has of course been recorded, so you can watch the concert below.

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