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I have heard the angels sing proclaimed Franz Schubert upon hearing music from Niccolo Paganini composer of 24 violin caprices Witchs Dance Perpetual Motion the orchestral Concerto in D Major Carnival of Venice and La Capanella Niccolo Paganini has been called the greatest violin player of all time He was not only the toast of all Europe he was a legend in his own time His fab- ulous command of his instrument was no legend nor was it legend that no au- dience failed to succumb to a kind of spell in the presence of his musical genius Not only his playing but his cadaverous appearance on the stage aroused awe and terror His pale long face with its hollow cheeks and lips curled into a sardonic smile the piercing expression of his eyes fed the rumor that he was the son of the devil The word spread that the G string of his violin was made from the intestines of a murdered mistress Despite all of this he was worship- ed wherever he went Women pursued him musicians followed him from town to town Paganinis father raised his son with cruelty and relentless practice sessions Aware that he had a prodigy on his hands and eager to capitalize he kept Niccolo from any schooling His mother added to his fervour with the frequent recital of a dream where an angel promised her that her son
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