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NICCOLO PAGANINI - 24 Caprices - Arranged for solo flute - Marina Piccinini (Flute) - 822252228427 - Released: April 2014 - Avie AV2284

Everyone knows how fiendishly difficult it is to play the Niccolo Paganini Caprices on the violin, the actual instrument they were composed for. So imagine how much harder it must be to play them on the flute. The technical demands, while striving to be as musical as possible, must become downright diabolical. Not only does it require a fully mastered breathing technique, but also a tight control on speed and dynamics in order to give each note its proper value and weight. Not only was I skeptical of Marina Piccinini's ability to pull this off, but also confident that the whole effort would be unpleasant, musically speaking that is.

Quite the opposite impression came through following a few listening sessions. This is actually brilliantly executed and dazzling in its effect. Marina Piccinini herself said: "I was drawn to transcribe and record all the Caprices as a challenge and stimulus for my own development, a path towards pushing the envelope outside my personal comfort zone." Well, I believe that by doing so, she has also thrown down the gauntlet to anyone who plays the flute to aspire to become the best they can be. Flute players will realize, after listening to this recording, that even the inconceivable is possible.

Only one question remains: What can Marina Piccinini possibly do for an encore?

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2014