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Caprice no. 1


Finally, here we are at the beginning! Until taking the plunge with this project, I had always avoided Caprice no. 1. It didn't make sense to me until I had studied period baroque music for a few years, and now it clicks. Beginning a piece with a slow, contemplative movement (as opposed to an upbeat one) is very Baroque in style, and by the classical era it was going by the wayside. This seems to be Campagnoli's throwback piece, a nod to earlier times. I also think it's a great way to begin a hefty book of caprices, as it hints at the diversity that can be found within every number.

The caprice consists of two mini movements. First, a Largo: a slow, harmonically driven section that cultivates bow control, followed by the Allegro, its flashy counterpart.

The Largo (mm. 1-28) again, is all about bow control. I have heard people play this REALLY slowly, but I don't think that's the point. (Remember, the literal translation of largo is "long" or "broad".) You need to find a tempo that still accommodates the original slurs marked in the music: particularly mm. 10 and 12. A tempo that is too slow will insure that you will have to break up the 16th-note slurs. I also find it interesting that Campagnoli includes more dynamic indications and shaping than possibly anywhere else in the book. Perhaps this is because of the lack of melody, but I also think he is directing the use of pressure and speed in the bow, especially in the first six measures.

The Allegro (mm. 29-47) is essentially a study in perpetual motion, and if you have read my previous posts, you know this is not my forte. I found it helpful to remember to relax into the slurs from m. 34. The absence of dynamic shaping in this section is more typical of what you will find in this book. Use your musical intuition and knowledge of harmony to come up with a convincing roadmap,


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