Karim Al-Zand: Music: Paganini Reverie
Christopher Janwong McKiggan commissioned this short piece as part of a series of piano works, a project he describes: Coming from a multi-cultural background, I have always been interested in different styles of music from around the world. For this project “Paganimania”, I decided to commission music from multiple composers (with different cultural backgrounds) based on one of the most recognizable themes in Classical music: Paganini‘s 24th Caprice. The composers involved in the project are: Robert Beaser, Karim Al-Zand, Narong Prangcharoen, Zhou Jing, Peace Nistades, James Mobberley and Moon Young Ha.
“Yet another piece based on the Paganini 24th caprice?” That was my thinking when Chris McKiggan approached me about the project. However, after writing Paganini Reverie, I can see why composers are so drawn to the simple theme: it provides a perfect balance of stricture and freedom. My inspiration for the piece comes from an evocative passage in Heinrich Heine‘s, Florentine Nights, which narrates a Paganini concert in vivid detail. The protagonist describes a waking dream which is prompted by the virtuoso‘s playing, each change of mood triggering a fantastical new scene.