Sunday December 10, 2023

Czech musician Pavel Sporcl enthralls audience by his virtuosity in violin playing

March 09, 2023

The violin sounded quite different and there were moments where it felt that some other instrument was being played as Czech violinist Pavel Sporcl performed at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Tuesday evening.

The classical concert of solo violin, titled ‘Homage to Paganini’, was arranged by the Czech Embassy. As the title suggests, the performer did play some compositions by Niccolo Paganini, an Italian musician who is considered one of the greatest masters of violin of all times whose technique heavily influenced the following generations of violinist.

Born in 1782 in Genoa, Paganini composed music in the romantic era of the Western classical music. Sporcl said Paganini was considered by some as the all-time greatest violinist. The performer added that the legend started playing violin very early and he would practise violin for 12 hours a day when he was just five years old.

The performance, however, did not start with Paganini. The Czech artiste first played some compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was a beautiful performance and one immediately felt connected with it given how much Bach’s works are still heard today through various popular mediums and many who do not have deep understanding of the Western classical music do subconsciously recognise and appreciate the typical style of Bach’s compositions.

Bach was followed by a performance of four of Paganini’s 24 caprices for solo violin. The Czech violinist explained that caprices were compositions written for teaching how to play violin.

Sporcl added that the caprices composed by Paganini were extremely difficult to master and they were one of the most famous solo pieces written for the violin. He announced that he would play ninth, 13th, 14th and fifth caprice.

The performance spellbound the audience. Low pitches were frequently employed and the instrument sounded altogether different. The Czech artiste deservingly received a prolonged applause as he finished playing Paganini.

From there, the violinist came to the Czech music. In a brief talk, he said Czech or Bohemia, which is the old name of the region, had produced great violinists. He said Josef Slavik was a great Czech violinist who was a contemporary of Paganini and his style was compared to the Italian violinist’s style. Unfortunately, Slavik could not reach his full potential as he died when he was only 27.

He named Otakar Ševík and Jan Kubelik as other great violinists who were born in Bohemia. He said Kubelik was famous across the world and he was the last musician who performed in front of Queen Victoria before her death.

After the talk, he played some variations composed by himself in the national anthem of the Czechoslovakia when the country gained independence. The last piece performed the Czech violinist was the tune of a gypsy song. The performer said that in addition to the classical music, he was also interested in other musical genres such as gypsy songs and he was part of a band that performed such songs.

The performance ended with a standing ovation. The Czech embassy should be thanked for providing an opportunity to the people of Karachi to listen to one of the best violinists of the country.