Le Streghe, by Paganini

Paganini’s Opus 8, Le Streghe, is the source of The Witch’s Dance, my new song. A Wikipedia article on his fifth concerto notes that the melody also makes an appearance in that piece’s first movement – I must admit that while somewhat familiar with the fifth concerto, as I’ve started playing the theme I utterly missed that it is also the first trotted out in that work. Paganini often worked with variations on a theme, and Le Streghe, or The Witch is a great example. The showpiece is almost exactly 201 years old; he wrote it in 1813 and first performed it at La Scala (yes, Paganini was a very, very big deal in his own time) on October 29, 1813.

John Berger, writing at teachsuzukiviolin.com, notes that the simple melody that comprises the theme was written by Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Wikipedia adds that it was part of a ballet, and that Le Streghe was an instant hit with audiences. Timothy Judd, to whose blog I subscribe, links to a great performance of the work by Eugene Fodor, which I’ve included here. The main theme throughout is what I’m playing – in my own beginner Suzuki kind of way, of course.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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