Tanja Becker-Bender (violin)
Paganini’s 24 Caprices Op 1 were considered simply unplayable by most contemporary violinists, but the composer himself bestrode their difficulties with contemptuous ease. A forerunner and inspirer of his younger contemporaries Chopin, Liszt and Berlioz, Paganini was the archetype of the virtuoso performer. His technique was so phenomenal, and his saturnine presence so magnetic, that he was popularly believed to be in league with the Devil. He communicated a new vision of what the violin could achieve.
Virtuoso violinists are plentiful these days, but the challenges posed by the Caprices are still daunting and it is a rare performer who can achieve such insouciant brilliance in this repertoire as the young German violinist Tanja Becker-Bender has in her debut recording for Hyperion.