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. 41

I couldn't think of a better way to end an epic book of caprices. Caprice number 41 is a grand bookend for a grand project. I used to think number 17 was my favorite, but this piece took the cake once I discovered it. It is joyful and stately. And the sonority it draws out of the instrument makes the solo viola sound like a chamber group.  Perhaps it's the crescendo of energy and sound output. This can heard and also clearly seen in the music, at about  measure 26 , going on to the end of the piece. Double-stops and bariolage, and sometimes both at once, make the viola into a mini-organ. This was my favorite section to play because I felt awash in sound.  This piece mostly tries to be a fugue, but also reaches for something greater. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the fourth movement of Hindemith's Op.11, No.5 sonata (another favorite of mine). The Hindemith obviously came later, and is much longer and more fantastical. But both pieces give you the feeling that you have bee

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. 24

I love number 24 for its completeness. Its form is reminiscent of many Baroque compositions, where short movements are packaged together (often alternating slow/fast tempi) to collectively make a piece that is about the same length as a long pop song. Campagnoli utilized the variation to include many different techniques: double-stops, bass and treble voicing, fast passagework, and string crossings. I am glad the fast movements were not any longer. The single take recording was quite a challenge!