“Whenever Manrico Padovani raises his soloist voice, his sound shines strong and wide, more like singing than speaking.“
Seoul Güri Philharmonic
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Niccolò Paganini is considered one of the greatest violinist of all times. The virtuosity of his performances and music, evidenced many times over, to this day are among the ultimate hurdles every violinist seeks to master. With his recording of two violin concertos and a sonata by Paganini, Manrico Padovani does exactly that – with outstanding results. By his side are three distinguished orchestras, and, with Boris Perrenoud and Howard Griffiths, two veritable conducting legends.
During his lifetime, Niccolò Paganini fueled an outright hype surrounding his persona. He was born on October 27th, 1782 in Genoa and passed away in Nice on May 27th, 1840. He was possibly the most virtuosic violinist in musical history, and definitely the most popular and most praised violinist of his times. But there were also critical voices, which looked at the “Devil’s violinist“ with some apprehension. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe himself said in a 1831 letter about Paganini: “The attention for this virtuoso is wrapped up in a mixture of whimsicalness and a desire for freedom. It is a manner without manners, because it leads, like a thread that grows thinner and thinner, into nothingness. It imitates music in the same way a fake oyster is swallowed peppered and acidulated.“ More entertainment than music, then? Fact is, Paganini must have been an extraordinary musician, otherwise he would not have been able to play his own pieces. And for today’s musicians, too, pure “showmanship“ does not suffice. Manrico Padovani, being among the most virtuosic violonists of his generation, is well aware of this, as he conquers Paganini’s works with playful lightness.
Paganini composed a total of six violin concerts, in addition to many concert pieces for violin and orchestra. His creations are filled with artistic and compositorical depth, to a degree well beyond his reputation, which has often been shortened to his exorbitant virtuosity, proving that he did not simply compose for the bravado of a career as a traveling violin wizard, as one might think. This also becomes clear in the first two violin concerts written by him, in which the stylistic borders of this format are balanced in a strongly individualistic way. He not only created two truly virtuosic works, but also serious contributions to the violin concert genre. Manrico Padovani dedicates himself to these works, as well as the Sonata con variazoni E major, with the necessary brilliance, but he also goes into depth and distinguishes himself as a musically and technically shrewd interpreter and performer. At his side are the Seoul Güri Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, both rich in tradition and awards. And with the support of conductor legends Howard Griffiths and Boris Perrenoud, nothing can go wrong. Together, they don’t simply celebrate Paganini, the virtuoso, they also give this music the importance and weight it deserves.
Born in Zurich to Italian parents, Manrico Padovani studied under Aida Piraccini-Stucki in Winterthur and Herman Krebbers in Amsterdam and received important impulses from Ruggiero Ricci, Franco Gulli, and Karlheinz Stockhausen as well as Viktor Pikaizen and Boris Belkin. Famous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter supported him through her foundation by inviting him to perform on a European tour with her. He won prizes and awards at the Internationaler Musikwettbewerb Vienna, the Internationaler Meisterwettbewerb Ruggiero Ricci in Berlin, the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and the Nippon Music Foundation in Tokyo. Following his debut at Lucerne Festival and the Great Hall of the Basel Casino, he performed throughout all of Europe, in America, and in Asia, in concert halls like the Goldene Saal of the Vienna Musikverein, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Philharmonie Cologne, KKL Luzern, playing with orchestras like the Prague Philharmonics, Stuttgart Philharmonics, Sinfonia Varsoviae, Sinfonieorchester Basel, and with conductors like Rudolf Barshai, Marina Viotti, Andrei Boreiko, Peter Altrichter and many others.
Manrico Padovani is considered one of the biggest talents in Switzerland, and he was the first Swiss violinist to perform the entire cycle of 24 caprices by Paganini in one single evening. A special highlight of his career was his performance in front of Pope Benedict XVI and an audience of 8,000 in the Sala Nervi in the Vatican. Numerous recordings were published on international labels. His latest recording “Beethoven – Werke für Violine und Orchester live“ was nominated for the German Opus-Klassik-Preis 2021. With his series “24 Pills of classical music,“ he has reached nearly 1 million views on his Facebook channel, and was invited by Radio Svizzera Italiania in 2023 to produce fifteen episodes for the series “Bis d’autore.“ On this recording, Manrico Padovani plays on a precious Del Gesù-Vuillaume violin, Paris 1861. He also performs on the important instruments by Joseph Gagliano, Naples 1780, and Antonio Stradivari 1722.