Lot 762: ALS in Italian, signed "N. Paganini," one page both sides, 8.75 x 10.25, July 1, 1828. Letter to a Genoa-born ship owner and merchant Agostino Samengo, who also practiced music and served as Paganini's host when visiting Trieste. In part (translated): "I am happy to let you know that the cembalo you have assigned me with and which you should have received by now…is so well done that it frightens me and all the professor friends of mine by the perfection you desired and it is done in a way that, once in use, it will reach an even higher level of perfection, if this is possible, as the mentioned professors and the manufacturer assure…The invoice attached speaks of 512 Florence guilders but I have paid no more than 500 of it as this amount included my obligation towards you and for this sum to which you have to add the good packaging the cembalo was sold by Graf. In the piano you will find my pencil signature in the sounding board and you will also find the music stand according to your wish. I will consign four of my pictures to a merchant who is a friend of yours, whose name I do not remember, who will leave for Trieste in a few days. Yesterday evening I gave the thirteenth performance and now I count on recovering as I feel sicker than ever. Beethoven's last quartettes, which I have heard two of, seem very baroque to me… Have you again given my capriccio in E?" Intersecting folds, a few small edge tears, paper loss from seal removal affecting a couple words, and show-through from writing to opposing sides, otherwise fine condition.
At the time of this letter, Paganini had just embarked on the concert tour that changed his career forever; finally breaking out of Parma and Genoa, he spent two-and-a-half years performing in every major city in Germany, Poland, and Bohemia, before heading to Paris and Britain for another four years of intensive performing. His showy presentation and astonishing technical ability made him an international sensation. His comment on Beethoven's last quartettes also provides a wonderful association, as Paganini was known to intersperse overtures from the Beethoven symphonies into his own music in his concert programs. Unfortunately, he just missed his chance to meet the master composer—Beethoven passed away in Vienna in March 1827, while Paganini arrived in Vienna in March 1828 during his tour of Europe. A fantastic letter from a crucial time in the violin virtuoso's career.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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