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Ernesto Camillo Sivori, (June 6, 1817 – February 18, 1894) was an Italian virtuoso violinist and composer.
Born in Genoa, he was the only known pupil of Paganini. He also studied with Restano, Giacomo Costa and Dellepiane. From 1827 Sivori began the career of a travelling virtuoso, which lasted almost without interruption until 1864. He played Mendelssohn's concerto for the first time in England in 1846, and was in England again in the seasons of 1851 and 1864. Camilo Sivori collaborated with Giuseppe Verdi. In 1893 Verdi heard Sivori performed at his private music soiree and noted Sivori's impeccable technique, agility and musicianship. Sivori's performances ideas were directly influenced by Opera characters. His violin techniques, in many instances were executed to impersonate human sounds. "Le Stregghe" is one of his best examples in which his unique ability to create such lively, almost cinematographic effects is achieved. It is believed that Sivori recorded on Edison cylinders, some of which have been attributed to a German violinist and are now found in the UK. Sivori understood that he was the only violinist alive (in the late 1800s) who could immortalize Paganini's art of violin playing and unique Operatic interpretations. The school of violin playing was rapidly changing and Paganini's art was rapidly forgotten. He lived for many years in Paris, and died in Genoa in February 19,1894.
He owned many valuable instruments, including violins by Amati, Stradivari, Bergonzi, Chiocchi, and Jean Baptiste Vuillaume. His favourite was the Vuillaume violin, which he received from Paganini. It was an impeccably close copy of Paganini's famous Cannone Guarnerius.
Sivori was known to adapt many peculiar pieces such that he could play them, and many of these pieces, once thought absurd, have now become quite popular. The best example of this is Giovanni Bottesini's Gran Duo Concertante, which was a double concerto originally written for two double basses, alternating the melody. Sivori changed it from two double basses to a violin and a double bass, alternating parts and sometimes playing together in the same octave.
- Anecdotal description of the relationship between Paganini and Sivori
- Free scores by Camillo Sivori at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)