Three Rivers Music Society

Three Rivers Music Society / Events / Mon 12 Jun 2023

A rare insight into true musical genius

A rare insight into true musical genius

Nicolo Paganini died more than 180 years ago but is still regarded as probably the most brilliant violinist the world has ever seen.

What made the Italian violinist-composer so special? And just how big a sensation did he create when he toured Britain in the 1830s?

A concert that will help to answer both questions will be held in Rickmansworth on Monday, June 12.

Thomas Bowes, one of England’s finest violinists, will demonstrate Paganini’s genius – and his own mastery of the violin – by playing the first 12 of the Genoa-born virtuoso’s Opus 1 Caprices.

And Steven Halls, programme director of Three Rivers Music Society, will offer some insights into the effect that Paganini’s performances had on British audiences by reading from contemporary accounts of his concerts.

Other violin virtuosos of the day declared the caprices utterly unplayable but Paganini, who could apparently play 12 notes a second and had exceptionally long fingers that allowed him to play three octaves in one hand span, proved that they were wrong. Paganini was also one of the first solo violinists to perform publicly without sheet music, choosing instead to memorise everything.

The concert will inevitably represent a serious test for Thomas Bowes and his violin – a rare instrument made by the great Nicolo Amati in 1659. Thomas is, however, well used to such challenges. His 2018 recording of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas was hailed by Gramophone Magazine as a “succession of miracles”.

Thomas has played on the soundtracks of more than 200 films and his Bach Pilgrimage, a series of solo violin concerts in churches around the country, has become one of the highlights of the musical year. He is also internationally regarded for his performances of concertos by Benjamin Britten, William Walton and Edward Elgar. Earlier this year, he recorded the Elgar Concerto at Abbey Road Studios, which were opened by Elgar himself in 1931.

The concert will be held in the Baptist Church, High Street, Rickmansworth WD3 1EH. It will begin at 7.30pm. Tickets £16 on the door, including free concert programme and refreshments. Reduced prices for TRMS members/patrons, online and advance booking. Free entry to under 25s.


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Event Location

Baptist Church

High Street, Rickmansworth


Event Details