Sunday, January 29, 2012
Black Metal begins here
Paganini's "Caprice for Solo Violin in G Minor, Op. 1/6." Before even Wagner and Grieg, the spirit lived in Paganini. He composed the caprices around 1817, and toured Europe in the early 1820s to astonished audiences who had never heard sounds like these coming out of a violin. A sallow-skinned, rail-thin, black-clad virtuoso, he was reputed to have sold his soul to the Devil. He did nothing to dispel these rumors. You could consider him the Trey Azagthoth of the Romantic era, though that analogy is, of course, better turned on its head.
Paganini's prefiguration of black metal should be obvious enough to anyone with two ears and a brain, but I do want to direct your attention to this: listen to that ominous trembling sound as Kogan drags his bow across the strings. It's a bit like a trill, but each note is separately articulated, which requires insanely fast twitch on the left hand. What that produces is a kind of analogue distortion, along with a harmonic effect that's really close to the kind of two-string tremolo picking pioneered by Thorns, Mayhem, and Burzum in the early 90s. Hearing it torn out of a wooden instrument through sheer skill and force of will sends shivers down my spine.
I just started a new part-time job at a classical music venue, and heard this piece for the first time ever last night (and again tonight). It was performed by this guy, and he fucking tore it up.