When Were the Paganini Caprices First Recorded?


Quick Answer

The Austrian violinist Ossy Renardy (born Oskar Reiss) was the first to record the entire 24 Caprices of Niccolo Paganini in 1940. The recordings were made for Remington Records, following Renardy's virtuoso performance at Carnegie Hall in 1939.

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Full Answer

Vienna-born Oscar Reiss first performed professionally at age 11. At 13 he joined a touring musical company for performances in Italy, and at the suggestion of his manager changed his name to the more Italianate Renardy. He fled Hitler's oppression in 1937 and first visited the United States the next year, where he performed on a tour of mid-west states. Then he played at The Town Hall on West 43rd Street in New York City. He made his Carnegie Hall debut on October 10, 1939. It was there, in the second half of the bill, that he dazzled the audience by playing all 24 of the Paganini Caprices in an arrangement for violin and piano. He was 19.

It wasn't until 1947 that Ruggiero Ricci recorded the Caprices as solo violin pieces, as they were originally written, for the Shellac record label.

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