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Mozart's Attic - Niccolo Paganin, Harold in Italy

Nicolo Paganini
Niccolo Paganin

Niccolo Paganini, perhaps the most flamboyant and famous violinist of his time, acquired a new viola — a different instrument for him — and he wanted to show it off. But concert music for viola is pretty scarce: virtuoso music even more so. Paganini’s solution was to commission Hector Berlioz to write a concert showpiece.

The work never became the viola tour de force that Paganini was seeking, but Berlioz kept writing, and the result was Harold in Italy, a symphonic work inspired by Lord Byron’s poem Childe Harold. It’s safe to say that Lord Byron would have been aghast. We’ll hear it this Sunday on Mozart’s Attic.

Mozart's Attic airs Sundays at 6:00 on WFIT 89.5 FM and streaming at WFIT.org.

Originally from central Massachusetts, Jay has called the Space Coast home for more than 30 years. He began his association with WFIT in the late '90s as a dumpster diver for office furniture in response to a broadcast plea for a new chair from a frustrated disc jockey. (WFIT has come a long way since.)