When he died in 1840, Niccolò Paganini was considered one of the greatest violinists in the world — a reputation that endures even today. His virtuosity as a guitarist isn’t as well-known today. But it was to his audiences.

Paganini would include some of his guitar pieces in his concerts and salons. Like Paganini’s violin compositions, the music is uniquely crafted for one performer — himself.

The music is challenging to play, but not to listen to. Sure, there are plenty of fireworks, but it’s all for a purpose. His melodic lines have the easy affability of Mozart’s (at least superficially).

Violinist Roberto Noferini ably handles Paganini’s music. He plays with energy and conviction. And he also plays with sensitivity. The phrasing, especially in the Six Preludes for violin and guitar are beautifully shaped.

Guitarist Giulio Tampalini perfectly compliments Noferini. No matter how complex the music, he plays with a sure, light touch.

Violinist Anna Noferini and cellist Andrea Noferini are also worthy of mention. The familial connection between the Noferinis gives their ensemble playing a chemistry that adds to the music’s appeal.

This isn’t the first recording of Paganini’s chamber music. But these performances make this of the better ones.

Niccolò Paganini: Chamber Music for Strings
Roberto Noferini, violin; Anna Noferini, violin II; Andrea Noferini, cello; Giulio Tampalini, guitar
Brilliant Classics