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Padovani plays Paganini like a hero.

Blessed with a name of operatic resonance, the young Swiss- Italian violinist Manrico Padovani plays like a hero in this marvellous concerto. Marvellous, that is to say, when attacked with such technical brio, tonal lustre and musicality.

Padovani commands a superbly equalised scale and does not lean too much on the G-string, although he rightly makes more of it in the central Adagio espressivo, where Paganini is depicting a prisoner in a dungeon.

Spiccato is splendidly precise; staccato is evenly audible; left-hand pizzicato pings nicely; harmonics all ring out; but cantilena is also beautifully flexible, with sensitive dynamic variations that make the melodies really touching.

Padovani clearly enjoys the Sauret cadenza, as do I, even though it uses non-Paganini effects. The finale has real bounce, with variations of colour in the episodes. The DVD is very plainly filmed and there seems to be no audience, even though everyone is giving a real performance.

The little orchestra is tidy and adequate but backwardly placed, something even more apparent on the audio CD. Sound quality is excellent on both discs. Do you need just 38 minutes of music in two formats? In any case, Padovani, a pupil of Aida Stucki, is certainly worth a hearing. The Strad Magazine, January 2011; TULLY POTTER

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