Paganini's Fire by Ann Abelson is the story of history’s most celebrated violinist and composer, Niccolo Paganini. His meteoric rise from favorite musician in the corrupt court of Napoleon’s sister to Europe’s first celebrity performer is punctuated by nocturnal trysts with a real or imagined Dark Mistress. His remarkable musical feats and bizarre appearance cause many to suspect that Paganini has entered into a satanic pact.
A notorious rake, reckless gambler and callous lover who father’s a child, Paganini achieves fame, glory and wealth even though scandal and imprisonment haunt his career. Defying the odds in life, Paganini returns triumphantly time and again to the stage, but in death, scandal plagues him to the grave and he is denied a Christian burial, the ultimate scandal of all.
“Nearly one hundred seventy years following his death at age fifty-seven from a throat ailment, the name of the Italian virtuoso, Niccolò Paganini, continues to conjure up a variety of associations: those of a gaunt, nearly spectral showman and breathless daredevil of the violin, an inveterate gambler, an incorrigible womanizer, and -- stated sotto voce -- the Devil’s collaborator…A ‘devilish’ master performing his wizardry only inches away from the powerful Christian symbols placed at the very heart of his majestic violin! This, indeed, is the stuff of legend and provides the perfect vehicle for Paganini's Fire.”
- Stephanie Chase, Concert Violinist and Educator
Reviews of Ann Abelson’s other books:
“…a highly interesting story.”
- New York Times Book Review of The Little Conquerors.
“Miss Abelson has something to say and says it with individuality…”
- New York Times review of Angels’ Metal.
Ann Abelson was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for her writing. Her son, Lenny Cavallaro, edited and revised Paganini's Fire after her death.
Lenny Cavallaro is an American pianist, composer and author. He was awarded a Foundation Fellowship and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance and literature from West Virginia University. A top prizewinner in the J.S. Bach International Competition for Pianists, he subsequently performed that composer’s Six Partitas at Carnegie Recital Hall.
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