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Sometimes called "the Devil's Violinist," Niccolò Paganini's virtuoso talent, accompanied by his extraordinary dexterity and flexibility, gave him an almost mythic reputation—he is considered by many to be the greatest violinist of all time.
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These certainly would have factored into his exceptional virtuosity, earning him nicknames such as "the Devil's Violinist" and "Rubber Man." But he also perpetuated the mythology with stunts like severing strings on a violin and playing a piece such as the Witches Dance on a sole string.
In 1827, Paganini was made a knight of the Golden Spur by Pope Leo XII.
Paganini had a few close friends, including composers Gioachino Rossini and Hector Berlioz, who composed Harold en Italie for him, and a mistress with whom he had a son, Achilles, who he later legitimized and left his fortune to.
Plagued with illness later in life, Niccolò Paganini lost his voice in 1838. He moved to Nice, France, to recover, but died there on May 27, 1840.
Paganini is considered perhaps the greatest violinist that ever lived and his compositions, including 24 Caprices, for violin alone are some of the most complex pieces ever composed for the instrument.
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