Paganini’s Disciples-Ernesto Camillo Sivori

Posted on December 28th, 2009 by


Ernesto Camillo Sivori (1815-1894)

Ernesto Camillo Sivori

Ernesto Camillo Sivori

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1843-Eliza Wesley Scrapbook. World Premiere Recording 2005.

Produced and Engineered-Jonathan Haskell (astounding sounds)

Excluding the small works written for the young Sivori, we have no accounts of Paganini writing a work for another violinist to perform.Sivori’s father had certainly hope more than the slight works which he composed for him. In June 1823, he noted that he had received a letter from him, asking that Paganini write a concerto for his son.

The only complete surving work dedicated to Sivori is Paganini’s 12th Cantabile e Waltz (MS 45) dedicato al Bravo Ragazzino Sig Camillo Sivori. The remaining eleven Cantabiles are lost, except an accompanying viola part.

One decidedly apocryphal story about Sivori, which is a good indication of how the rumours of the supernatural, swirling around Paganini made it of paramount importance that any rival or successor had a story to rival them.

“It has often been said that Sivori was born immediately after his mother returned from a concert, at which she heard Paganini for the first time, and that premature confinement was induced by the excitement attendant upon hearing the greatest violinist the world ever saw. It is quite comprehensible, and the omen was unquestionably a good one for Sivori.”

One of the strangest stories is that Sivori came to Nice, to play to Paganini as he lay dying. Paganini was famous for the hypersensitivity of his ears, and in extremis, this had become so exaggerated that any sound was painful to him. So Sivori played from the adjacent room. This has a curious irony, as Paganini, had first auditioned for the sick Alessandro Rolla by picking up this violin and playing which the composer lay in the next room. Apparently Paganini managed to whisper, revealingly:

 “You will be the only survivor of my style. Go to Paris, Study there-there all great artists beget their reputations. Go to Paris. After Paris there is nothing.”


Sources: Letter to Paganini, from Sivori Pere , Erhrlich P. 26, Day P 264