Skip to main content

Caprice no. 8



Caprice no. 8 is a delight! I've learned to savor these slower, singing numbers, as they give you the time and space to enjoy the sound of your viola. I did take the largo marking with a grain of salt however: I believe in movement, even with slower tempos.

This caprice is fairly straightforward. There are a few places that highlight Campagnoli's attention to detail, and underscore my belief that he meant exactly what he wrote. At mm. 5, 6, 17, 18, and others further on, he gives the bass notes only an eighth note, and an eighth rest as the melody continues to sing. This is to say, he is not leaving the choice to you as to whether you should hold the bottom line or not! Remember in Caprice no. 7, the bass notes have full value. The difference in the sound and character is distinct.

One of my favorite parts of this piece is the change from minor to major at m. 17. It is such a sweet moment, and he marks con espressivo to highlight the mood change.

In fact there are a surprising number of expressive and dynamic markings in Caprice number 8. Notice the dolce at measure 5, the outburst of dynamic markings from measure 25-end, and the abundance of hairpins throughout.

Clearly Campagnoli had some feelings for this piece in particular. I wonder if there was a story behind it!


Popular posts from this blog

Caprice no. 38

We're almost at the end of this book, and in Caprice number 38, Campagnoli takes his hat off to Rodolphe Kreutzer and his 42 Etudes for Violin (1796), by quoting Etude #2. And guess where it happens: at measures 41-42. Is this a coincidence of numbers? Knowing how deliberate Camapagnoli was, I think probably not. We don't know about the two composers' relationship, but it is very likely that they knew each other, and obvious that there was admiration. This all but confirms my theory that Campagnoli held the great Kreutzer in such regard that he wrote 41 caprices, one less than his contemporary. Many of Campagnoli's caprices have a strong focus on bowing. However, Caprice 37 is all about the left hand. And wow - did my left hand feel like it was going to fall off after recording this piece. (even though I was in great shape!) Having said that, it was very important to let my bow arm drive the momentum as much as possible. Almost all of our expression comes from the bow,

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. 20

Well, hello, Positions 1-7.... Caprice no. 20 is by far the MOST ANNOYING caprice I have encountered in the book so far. But, it's also the one that most improved my raw technique! In fact, I have never been made to hang out in seventh position unless I'm playing on the A string for some stratosphere work. So, it was a new experience having to traverse ALL the strings in these high positions. It was uncomfortable, and very tricky to eliminate extraneous noise, such as a plucked string when crossing over to the next one. Plus, getting a stellar sound way up there is a constant challenge! I had to pay extra attention to my bow: in order to make a good sound it had to be in exactly the right place with the perfect amount of tension and speed.