Julia Fischer's recent recording of the Paganini 24 Caprices
has received praise from most quarters and even picked up an
Emmy nomination. And in my opinion the lauds are justified.
For decades violinists have taken the Caprices as etudes —
as if to say "yes, I am good enough to play that" and no more.
But in this performance Fischer has a fresh idea: To play them
as music, as the cutting edge Romantic Era musical compositions
they are, pieces which influenced greatly the likes of Schumann
and Liszt (who, by the way, was only 8 years old at the time
the Caprices were published in 1819). I find them wonderful
to listen to in this new guise; especially perhaps the No. 6
"Trill" caprice, which sounds like a fog moving over a lake
early in the morning.
The photo of Fischer and her violin on the album cover is
certainly the photographer's idea of a pose that would look
good compositionally within the frame. Because there is no
way that Fischer — or really anybody else for that matter —
plays with the violin thrown that far back over the left
This is how Fischer holds her violin.
And that is how she plays Paganini.