The Virtuoso Violin
Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst’s early encounter with Niccolò Paganini turned out to be a key experience for the young musician. He was allowed to play for the master violinist, who prophesied him a great career. The paths of the two virtuosos repeatedly crossed in Europe’s music capitals, and their lives continued to be intertwined. As an artist of the romantic era, Ernst was not content merely to copy Paganini’s artistry; rather, he comes across to the listener as an independent and profound musician. The manner of the thematic-motivic work in the first movement of his String Quartet No. 1 attests to his thoroughgoing occupation with harmony and counterpoint. The present double CD brings together not only Ernst’s original compositions for violin and piano and his String Quartet No. 1 but also arrangements of his works prepared by two artists heard on this recording: Thomas Christian and Hans Winking. This corresponds to Ernst’s own performance practice: he presented his pieces not only with piano and orchestra but also in string quartet and string quintet ensembles. Our double CD concludes with Wieniawski’s »Reverie,« which he dedicated to his friend and quartet colleague Ernst in memory of their joint performances. The circle traced here thus embraces Ernst’s violinistic virtuosity as well as his love of chamber music.