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Caprice no. 22



I recorded Caprice no. 22  along with nos. 17 and 33, and even though it's not my favorite, this piece (and my former student) provided the inspiration for The Campagnoli Project. I had assigned it to a student who came back to me the following week, frustrated that she couldn't find a recording for reference online. After doing some research and finding the same results, I realized that many of the caprices were not recorded. Nearly two years later, this project was born. So this recording and post are dedicated to my former student Sara: thank you for your inspiration! I hope you and many other violists find this helpful.

No. 22 is more like a standard etude, with a less developed form and narrow technical focuses. It seems to follow in line with the concept of Kreutzer's Etudes (42 Etudes for solo violin), which is believed to be the model after which Campagnoli wrote his 41 Caprices for Viola.

The overriding technical focuses for Caprice No. 22 are:

The trill
Slurred Double-stops
Bariolage

The trill obviously takes center-stage in this caprice. An important part of developing your trill technique in this work is being able to use the fourth finger. There are just three places where this happen: measures 6, 31, and 49. Needless to say, trilling on the fourth finger on the viola is not the easiest feat- especially if you weren't made to do it regularly in the past. That was one of the biggest challenges for me, but I'm glad I didn't give into the strong desire to change the fingering.

An alternation of bariolage and slurred double-stops happens at mm. 20-24; 35-38; and once more at 66-67. I found the most challenging section to be the last: m. 67 in particular was very tricky with the fingering (using 2, 3, and 4 spaced in whole steps, while alternating between 2 and 4: intonation nightmare!). In addition bariolage is more difficult when you are holding the lower string and alternating on the upper string. In contrast, holding the upper string and oscillating on the lower string, as in m. 20, is much more ergonomic for the bow. My suggestion is to practice these sections on open strings, without the fingers. If you have never done this technique before, the hard part is getting the bow coordinated to obtain rhythmic precision.







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