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Caorice no. 3

Here is another caprice that ends on a half-cadence: its resolution can be found at the beginning of Caprice no. 4. I find it curious that Camapagnoli ends a string of the first caprices on half-cadence question marks. My hypothesis is that he composed the first few works as a set, and played them back to back.

In any case, Caprice no. 3 was a fun change from numbers 1, 2, and 4 (I recorded this set together in October 2015). It's more joyous and carefree, and is a pure exercise in finger/ bow dexterity and position work. As I was practicing, I noticed that my shifts had to be extra clean with no hint of sliding, such as the shift to third position in the middle of m. 4. This lead to a very mechanical approach: lots of slow practice to focus on finger placement, even rhythms, and ever-shifting bow patterns (note the passage from mm. 9-16).

Aside from that, the only other thing to note is the bowing reversal that happens in the middle of m. 25 and takes effect all the way to the end. Here, he writes poussé (push), I interpreted that to mean that one should take a slower tempo from the marking and speed up until the next measure, since it would be virtually impossible to play at a faster tempo than my original. I also added a comma after the downbeat of m. 26, to re-establish the dominant beat.

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Caprice no. 16

Caprice no. 16 was a bear for my left hand, which I contorted in ways I previously thought impossible. I disliked it for a long time because frankly, I couldn't make it sound good. The very first chord in particular, with the extended fourth finger, is just barely playable for me on a 16.5-inch viola. However, after clearing the hurdles, I've decided it's one of my favorite caprices. 

The key of E Major sounds mellow, rich, and joyful. especially on the return of the "A" section after the C-sharp minor section (mm.17-end). Campagnoli certainly does interesting things with the bariolage stroke, especially in mm. 9-16 where he staggers the slurs. This makes it extra tricky for the left hand, as if any more challenges were needed in a piece like this! I found it most helpful to emphasize the bottom note of each chord, to keep the line going and also to keep my bow and left hand on the from getting distracted by other technical complications.

Caprice no. 2

Caprice no. 2 is a loose semblance of a Theme and Variations. While short, there is still a lot of material packed into a few minutes, and I find it's a great all-encompassing etude for warming up and hitting your double-stops, triplets and bariolage.

The Theme (m.m. 1-8) has a song-like quality, and it is helpful to practice without the double and triple-stops to get an idea of the flow for the melody. It is quickly followed by a bariolage section (m.m. 9-16) in the relative minor key of e , which I think does well in a more hushed, mysterious tone, building up to the forte in m. 15.

Measures 17-22 are a bit curious with the break from the traditional eight-bar phrase to a four-measure phrase repeated, followed by a three-measure phrase (also repeated). The end of this section marks the end of the theme/variations, as the character, form and key shift going into the triplet section.

It helps to think of thepiu moto (mm. 25-44) in groups of two measures, like it were written in 6/…

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&…