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Caprice No. 24 (Paganini)

Kyoko Yonemoto playing Caprice No. 24 in A minor

Caprice No. 24 in A minor is the final caprice of Niccolò Paganini's 24 Caprices, and a famous work for solo violin. The work, in the key of A minor, consists of a theme, 11 variations, and a finale. His 24 Caprices were probably composed in the period between 1805 to 1809, while he was in the service of the Baciocchi court.

It is widely considered one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the solo violin. It requires many highly advanced techniques such as parallel octaves and rapid shifting covering many intervals, extremely fast scales and arpeggios including minor scales in thirds and tenths, left hand pizzicato, high positions, and quick string crossing.


  • Variations on the theme 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Variations on the theme

The caprice has provided a rich seam of material for works by subsequent composers. Compositions based on it, and transcriptions of it, include:

  • Aria – used as a basis for the main riff in the song "Igra s ognyom" ("Playing with fire") from the 1989 album of the same name. The plot of the song concerns a fictional violinist who is based on Paganini;
  • Angra – Used the main theme for an interlude on electric guitar on the song "Angels Cry", from the album of same name;
  • Leopold Auer – arranged it for violin with piano accompaniment, and added some variations of his own;
  • Rafał Augustyn - Paganini Variations for solo piano (1987-1989) (reference:;
  • BanYa – "Caprice of Otada" is based on Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and is used in Pump it Up NX2;
  • Alison Balsom – recorded a version transcribed for trumpet;
  • James Barnes – "Fantasy Variations on a Theme by Niccolo Paganini", a wind band arrangement with each variation as a solo for a particular section;
  • Boris BlacherVariations on a Theme by Paganini (1947), for orchestra;
  • Hans BottermundVariations on a Theme by Paganini;
  • Johannes BrahmsVariations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35 (1862–63), for solo piano (2 books);
  • Charles CamilleriPaganiana, for two pianos;
  • Eliot Fisk – transcribed all 24 Caprices for solo guitar;
  • Ignaz Friedman – Studies on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 47b (1914);
  • David Garrett – "Paganini Rhapsody" (2007);
  • Benny GoodmanCaprice XXIV;
  • Helloween – Used in the opening guitar solo of Future World on the High Live album;
  • Toshi IchiyanagiPaganini Personal for marimba and piano;
  • The Great Kat – adapted the 24th Caprice for electric guitar;
  • Lowell LiebermannRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra (2001);
  • Franz Liszt – the sixth and last of his Études d'exécution transcendante d'après Paganini for solo piano, S.140 (1838) – revised and republished in 1851 as Six Grandes Études de Paganini, S.141;
  • Andrew Lloyd WebberVariations (1977), Variations (album) originally for cello and rock band, and used as the theme for The South Bank Show, later also arranged for cello and orchestra; Song & Dance – the Dance part is a reworked version of Variations;
  • Witold LutosławskiVariations on a Theme by Paganini (1940–41), for two pianos; in 1978 he made a version for piano and orchestra;
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – Used the main theme for an interlude on electric guitar on the song "Prophet of Doom", from his album War to End All Wars;
  • Nathan MilsteinPaganiniana, an arrangement of the 24th Caprice, with variations based on the other caprices;
  • Robert Muczynski – "Desperate Measures" Paganini Variations, Op.48;
  • Pavel NecheporenkoVariations on a Theme by Paganini, transcribed for unaccompanied balalaika;
  • Jeff Nelsen – Performed Caprice No. 24 on French Horn with Canadian Brass;
  • Paolo PessinaPaganini Variations, for Violin (and Piano 'ad libitum') "to Ruggiero Ricci", Op. 25 (1997);
  • Gregor PiatigorskyVariations on a Paganini Theme, for cello and orchestra, later arranged for cello and piano;
  • Simon Proctor – "Paganini Metamorphasis" for Solo Piano;
  • Frank ProtoCapriccio di Niccolo for Trumpet and Orchestra (1994). Nine Variants on Paganini for Double Bass and Orchestra, also for Double Bass and Piano (2001). Paganini in Metropolis for Clarinet and Wind Symphony (2001), also for Clarinet and Orchestra (2002);
  • Manuel Quiroga – 9 Variations on Paganini's Caprice No. 24; 12 Variations on Paganini's Caprice No. 24; both for violin and piano;
  • Sergei RachmaninoffRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (1934), a set of twenty four variations for piano and orchestra;
  • George Rochberg – 50 Caprice Variations (1970) for solo violin;
  • Poul RudersPaganini Variations : Guitar concerto no. 2 (1999–2000), twenty-two variations for guitar and orchestra;
  • Ehsan Saboohi – "Metamorphosis on Theme of Paganini for Piano Solo" (2009);
  • Fazıl SayPaganini Variations for solo piano;
  • Stanisław Skrowaczewski – Concerto Nicolò for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra (2003);
  • Joe Stump – used the main theme for an interpretation on the song "Paganini's Revenge" on the album Guitar Dominance. The track also incorporates elements from Paganini's 5th Caprice;
  • Karol Szymanowski : No. 3 from Trzy kaprysy Paganiniego (3 Caprices de Paganini), Op. 40 (1918); transcriptions for violin and piano;[1]
  • Pipe organ. All except the last variation are for solo organ pedals;
  • Philip WilbyPaganini Variations, for both wind band and brass band;
  • Victor Wooten – "Classical Thump", "A Show Of Hands";
  • Hans Wurman – "13 Variations on a Paganini theme" for synthesizer on The Moog Strikes Bach (1969);
  • Eugène YsaÿeVariations on Paganini's Caprice No. 24, for violin and piano, op. posthumous.

See also


  1. ^ Karol Szymanowski – by Neal Galanter

External links

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