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Tom Service explores the meaning of virtuosity. He considers how much it is about excellent instrumental technique and how much it is the ability communicate movingly.

Virtuosity: what does it mean to be good? Really, really good? If you're a virtuoso pianist, violinist, cellist, does that mean you can play faster than everybody else - or better? From Liszt to Paganini, Horowitz to Lang Lang, what does it mean to be a virtuoso? Are you in league with the devil, as 19th-century critics said about the violinist Paganini, or are you able to communicate more movingly, more emotionally, more humanly than other players?
With Tom Service.

Available now

28 minutes

Music Played

  • Franz Liszt

    Mephisto Waltz No 1

    Performer: John Ogdon.
    • John Ogdon Plays A Liszt Recital.
    • 11.
  • Giuseppe Tartini

    Violin Sonata in G minor, 'Devil's Trill'

    Performer: Nicola Benedetti. Performer: Christian Curnyn. Performer: Catherine Rimer. Performer: Thomas Dunford.
    • Nicola Benedetti, Italia.
    • Decca.
    • 7.
  • Robert Johnson

    Crossroads Blues

    • King Of The Delta Blues Singers.
    • Columbia Records.
  • Nicolò Paganini

    Caprice in E major, Op 1 No 1

    Performer: Leonidas Kavakos.
    • Paganini: 24 Capricci: Leonidas Kavacos.
    • Dynamic.
    • 1.
  • Franz Liszt

    Transcendental Etude no.5

    Performer: Alice Sara Ott.
    • 111 Years Of Deutsche Grammophon The Collector's Edition Vol.2.
    • Deutshe Grammophon.
    • 5.
  • Franz Liszt

    Mephisto waltz no. 1 (S.514) transc. for piano [orig. for orchestra (S.110`2)]

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
    • Vladimir Horowitz The Indespensable.
    • BMG Classics.
    • 1.
  • Ignacy Jan Paderewski

    Nocturne In G, Opus 16, No. 4

    • Nocturne.
    • Classic Fm.
  • Franz Schubert


    Music Arranger: Sergey Rachmaninov. Performer: Sergey Rachmaninov.
    • RCA.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Prelude No. 24 in D minor Op.28/24

    Performer: Vladimir de Pachmann.
    • OPAL.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Polonaise in A Op. 40 No. 1 ‘Military’

    Performer: Józef Hofmann.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Mazurka in D, op.33 no.2

    Performer: Moriz Rosenthal.
    • APR.
  • Trad.

    A Morning Raga

    Performer: Amjad Ali Khan.
    • Nawras.
  • Charlie Parker


    • The Original Bird: The Best Of Charlie Parker 1944-1949.
    • Savoy Jazz.
  • Joëlle Léandre

    Endless Waltz

    Performer: Joëlle Léandre. Performer: Rüdiger Carl. Performer: Carlos Zíngaro.
    • HAT HUT.
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    Voodoo Chile

    • Electric Ladyland.
    • Reprise.
  • Van Halen


    • Van Halen.
    • Warner Bros. Records.
  • The Commander-In-Chief


    • I Am.
  • The Commander-In-Chief

    Thou (studio demonstration)

  • Eric Clapton

    Sunshine of your Love

    • One More Car, One More Rider.
    • Reprise Records.
  • Eugène Ysaÿe

    Sonata No. 3 in D minor 'Ballade'

    Performer: Alina Ibragimova.


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