Mozart's Attic - Niccolo Paganin, Harold in Italy
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.