Marcin Markowicz studied with Christiane Edinger in Lübeck, Roman Lasocki and Krzysztof Jakowicz in Warsaw, and Roman Totenberg in Boston. He serves as a concertmaster of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and is the second violinist of the Lutosławski Quartet. Since 2005, he has been the Artistic Director of the Ensemble International Chamber Music Festival. Markowicz also performs as guest concertmaster of the Beethoven Academy Orchestra in Kraków and has been a lecturer at the Academy of Music in Katowice, since 2013.
Marcin Danilewski, who also serves as a concertmaster of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, graduated from the University of Music in Warsaw, having studied under K. Jakowicz and the Mozarteum University in Salzburg from the studio of I. Ozima. He has performed throughout Europe and in Japan. He currently serves as concertmaster of the Camerata Pontresina Orchestra, in Switzerland.
Music meant for dancing has long been associated with the Strauss family, whose members include Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. In fact, Johann Strauss, Jr. became the most significant composer of operetta in the German language. His operettas, waltzes, polkas, and marches have a strongly Viennese style and he is often considered the national composer of Austria. This Viennese tradition has been carried into the twentieth century by Franz Lehár, Oscar Straus, Carl Zeller, Karl Millöcker, Leo Fall, Richard Heuberger, Edmund Eysler, Ralph Benatzky, Robert Stolz, Emmerich Kálmán, Nico Dostal, and Sigmund Romberg.
Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa, Italy, on October 27, 1782. He was an Italian violinist and composer, considered a prodigy, he lived most of his life as a virtuoso, touring Europe. The ferocity with which he played, coupled with his elongated fingers and extraordinary flexibility, gave him a mysterious reputation and he has long been considered the greatest violinist of all time. Franz Liszt described one of Nicolò Paganini’s performances, “What a man, what a violin, what an artist! Heavens! What sufferings, what misery, what tortures in those four strings!”
Paganini composed his 24 Caprices for Solo Violin in groups of six, six, and twelve between 1802 and 1817. The Caprices reveal a composer seeking to offer the world an avenue for studying technical novelties, with each of the numbered études exploring a different skill. In fact, Paganini admitted, “I was enthusiastic about my instrument and studied it unceasingly in order to discover new and hitherto unsuspected effects.” When Paganini released his Caprices, he dedicated them ‘alli artisti’ (to the artists) although individual dedications were made in Paganini's own score, where he annotated between 1832 and 1840 a 'dedicatee' for each of the exercises. Additionally, the works became very popular works among other composers, Liszt, Robert Schumann, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Szimanovsky, Lutoslawski, Rochberg and Schnittke all wrote pieces based on them. The most famous perhaps being Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, op. 43 for piano and orchestra, which is based on the theme from Caprice No. 24.
Over time, several of the caprices received nicknames due to their popularity, such as The Hunt referring to the imitation of the horns in Caprice No. 9, and Devil’s Laughter referring to a sequence of descending thirds in the opening of Caprice No. 13. Pastoral, attributed to Caprice No. 20 for its use of the D string as a drone, approximating the sound of a bagpipe, and The Trill to No. 6, with the violinist playing a melody over a trilled accompaniment. No. 14 is known as The March because of its rhythmic patterns, and No. 1 as L’arpeggio. The first edition of Paganini’s études was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1854 with the editor also offering an edition with piano accompaniments by Robert Schumann. In 1860, another edition was issued in two books of 12 caprices each with additional piano accompaniment by Ferdinand David, the aforementioned editor.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator