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Superstar Syndrome

Can you guess this piece? Here's a hint: a devil of a player

The technique of this composer and performer was so frightfully good that many claimed that he was in league with the Devil. Giving his first public recital at the age of 12, early success proved to be nearly insurmountable. His favorite violin was the so-called il cannone, or the “cannon,” crafted by famed violin maker Guarneri. His flashy first violin concerto is filled with deft maneuvers like left hand pizzicato, rapid thirds, and an abundance of harmonics. These techniques led many of his contemporaries to call the concerto unplayable. This criticism only seems to have helped cement his reputation as a peerless performer.

Music Heard On This Episode

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3: Allegro con brio
Vienna Philharmonic/Pierre Monteux — Beethoven Symphonies (London, 1994)
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Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3: Allegro con brio
Vienna Philharmonic/Pierre Monteux — Beethoven Symphonies (London, 1994)
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Leonard Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs
New World Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas — New World Jazz (RCA, 1998)
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Antonio Vivaldi: Mandolin Concerto
Parley of Instruments/Paul O'Dette, mandolin/Roy Goodman — Music for Lute and Mandolin (Hyperion UK, 1993)
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Johnny Cash: Man in Black
Johnny Cash — The Legend of Johnny Cash (Hip-O Records, 2005)
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Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto: Allegro
Los Angeles Philharmonic/Joshua Bell, violin/Esa-Pekka Salonen — Sibelius/Goldmark Violin Concertos (Sony, 2000)
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John Adams: Harmonielehre
City of Birmingham Sym./Simon Rattle — Harmonielehre/Chairman Dances (EMI Classics, 1994)
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Louis Mareau Gottschalk: The union: Paraphrase on National Airs
Lambert Orkis, piano — Music for Piano (Bridge, 2006)
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Giacomo Puccini: Turandot: Nessun dorma
London Philharmonic/Luciano Pavarotti/Zubin Mehta — 20 Great Tenor Arias (Decca, 1998)
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Louis Gugliemi: La vie en rose
Edith Piaf — La Vie en Rose: 1940-1946 (Pearl, 1997)
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George Gershwin: Variations on "I got rhythm"
Cincinnati Pops Orch/Erich Kunzel — Gershwin Centennnial Edition (Telarc, 1998)
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Nicolo Paganini: Violin Concerto: Allegro maestoso
Vienna Symphony Orch/Schmuel Ashkenasi, violin/Heibert Esser — Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 "La campanella" (Deutsche Grammophon, 1990)
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Tan Dun: Ghost opera
Kronos Quartet — Ghost opera (Nonesuch, 1997)
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Otis Blackwell: Great balls of fire
Jerry Lee Lewis — Great Balls of Fire & Other Hits (Rhino Flashback, 1997)
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