24 Caprices of Niccolo Paganini


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Paganini 24 Caprices

No violinist can escape them: Paganini’s Caprices. A beautiful, infamous cycle of 24 works for violin solo with an enormous arsenal of technical delights.

With his 24 Caprices Niccolò Paganini set out to fascinate the audience and play the kind of music that people had never experienced before. As a young talent Niccolò had shocked and enraged the public by imitating animals using his violin and in the Caprices he elaborated on that earlier experimentation. Birdsong, hunting horns, laughter, donkeys – they were all brought to life through his instrument. When it comes to special techniques and almost impossible dexterity, his 24 Caprices go a step further than Locatellis. Above all Paganini’s caprices are full of drama. Calm and moving passages interchange without warning with fiery, almost violent passages.

For Lisa Jacobs it is not the technical aspects of the music, but exactly that enormous variety in the musical characters, the extraordinary sound landscape, and the fantasy and lyricism that has amazed her all her life and has been an inspiration for this recording.

Dutch violinist Lisa Jacobs performs three of Locatteli’s concertos with bold characterization, and meets their formidable technical challenges with commendable athleticism and élan.
(The Strad, UK, 2017)

Dutch violin virtuoso Lisa Jacobs is known for her passionate performances, interesting programs and communicative qualities on stage. She is equally at home on the concert stage with concertos, chamber music and solo works. Lisa Jacobs collaborated with amongst others the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Bremer Philharmoniker and respected conductors such as Riccardo Chaily, Neeme Järvi, Massimo Quarta, Otto Tausk, Jan Willem de Vriend and Carlos Miguel Prieto.


Caprice No. 1 - Andante
Caprice No. 2 - Moderato
Caprice No. 3 - Sostenuto - Presto
Caprice No. 4 - Maestoso
Caprice No. 5 - Agitato
Caprice No. 6 - Lento
Caprice No. 7 - Posato
Caprice No. 8 - Maestoso
Caprice No. 9 - Allegretto
Caprice No. 10 - Vivace
Caprice No. 11 - Andante - Presto - Primo tempo
Caprice No. 12 - Allegro
Caprice No. 13 - Allegro
Caprice No. 14 - Moderato
Caprice No. 15 - Posato
Caprice No. 16 - Presto
Caprice No. 17 - Sostenuto Andante
Caprice No. 18 - Corrente - Allegro
Caprice No. 19 Lento - Allegro assai
Caprice No. 20 - Allegretto
Caprice No. 21 - Amoroso - Presto
Caprice No. 22 - Marcato
Caprice No. 23 - Posato
Caprice No. 24 - Tema quasi presto - Variazioni - Finale

Additional information


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Bruel & Kjaer 4003, Neumann modified by Rens Heijnis


The recording was originally digitized using the dCS 904, which operated at DSD64. 
The original session tracks were edited and rebalanced (which meant going through the mixer) in the only available format for that purpose; the Pyramix 352.8KHz/24bit PCM (DXD). Prior to the advent of direct digital delivery, the next step in the production process from 352.8KHz/24bit PCM would be the DSD64 edited master for SACD production. What we have done now is also make a direct conversion to DSD128 and DSD256 from that original DXD edited master, without going through any interim processing steps.
Those DXD to DSD conversions are not up-samplings, as they would be going from one PCM sampling rate to another, for they are different encoding systems. PCM is a digital value sample based system, and DSD is a digital bit density modulated system. Conversion from any PCM sample rate to any DSD bit rate system is a remodulation, not an up-sampling.
We feel there is an audio advantage to this process in using the original files so we give you the choice and you can decide.


Tom Peeters

Recording Engineer

Tom Peeters

Recording location

Cunerakerk, Rhenen, The Netherlands in 2017 and 2018


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Press reviews

Reformatorisch Dagblad

Lisa Jacobs voegt zich met haar recente opname in het rijtje van illustere voorgangers, zoals Jascha Heifetz, Michael Rabin, Itzhak Perlman en Julia Fischer, en zij doet dit met glans.(…)Vergeleken met veel andere registraties van deze cyclus neemt Jacobs volop de tijd om, met een zo zuiver mogelijke intonatie, recht te doen aan de melodische en harmonische zeggingskracht van deze muziek. En dat is werkelijk een prestatie van de bovenste plank!


It was surely only a matter of time before the Dutch violinist Lisa Jacobs recorded Paganini, after the assured, personality-rich account she gave in 2016 of the concertos of Paganini’s Baroque violin virtuoso forebear, Pietro Locatelli. What she’s come up with here is a strong offering, too: distinctiveness again, within an overall approach that sits mostly on the gentler, beautiful-toned end of the scale, as her bouncing, mellow-toned No 1 sets up. Although not entirely, as you’ll hear through the peasanty fire she brings to No 5.

Opus Klassiek

Lisa Jacobs heeft terecht gekozen voor ‘hoog spel’. Wat wil zeggen dat ze niet alleen de technische maar ook de expressieve grenzen van deze muziek diepgaand heeft verkend en vervolgens gestalte gegeven. Dat blijkt tenminste uit haar glanzende interpretatie. De stokvoering is net zo exemplarisch als de vingertechniek, articulatie en ritmische profilering zijn verbluffend, de expressieve aspecten elektriserend, het algehele beeld vol allure.

Lisa Jacobs has rightly opted for ‘highest performance’. Which means she has explored in depth and then shaped the technical and expressive boundaries of this music. At least this is evident from her shining interpretation. The bowing is just as exemplary as the finger technique, articulation and rhythmic profiling are amazing, the expressive aspects electrifying, the overall picture full of allure.

Classica 6.25 out of 5

La Néerlandaise Lisa Jacobs dépasse le caractère déclamatoire et extraverti au profit d’un lyrisme que son Giovanni Battista Rogeri de 1692 laisse s’exprimer avec générosité / The Dutch Lisa Jacobs exceeds the declamatory and extrovert character in favor of a lyricism that her Giovanni Battista Rogeri of 1692 allows to express herself generously.- Michel Le Naour

MusicWeb International, Dec.2018

The fast, virtuoso passages and special effects aren’t played as a showy firework display to amaze the listener. They are presented as part of the narrative and, surprise, surprise, there is hardly an ugly note to be heard. The violin always projects a gentle, beautiful tone but make no mistake, the technique is immaculate. Other players may generate more excitement and make the caprices sound more demanding in terms of virtuosity but this young lady plays them with proper musicality and charm whilst also being technically flawless. She’s in complete control and she actually makes the music sound relatively easy to play. That is some achievement. This set completely overshadows many a version by star players from an earlier generation.

Luister okt 2018 6.25 out of 5

Lisa Jacobs’ Paganini verrast door integere eenvoud. Zij beheerst de technische hoogstandjes zonder daarmee bravoure-achtig te koketteren. Zij speelt intense muzikaal zonder goedkoop effectbejag.

BBC Music Magazine 6.25 out of 5

Lisa Jacobs, by contrast, emphasises cantabile purity, so that even the flightiest of Paganini’s finger-breaking miniatures emerges miraculously as though it was being sung. As a result, having negotiated the merciless ricochets of No. 5 using the original bowings (many players opt for separate bows) No. 6 sounds less like an excruciatingly demanding étude in accompanied melody than an operatic scena with a compelling emotional narrative. No less persuasive is Jacobs’s velvet cushioning of No. 2’s awkward string-crossing leaps, thereby enabling its melodic chicanery to emerge as a seamless flow, and the withering-laughter descents of No. 11’s outer sections, which are inflected with just the right degree of temporal lassitude. Even the horncalls of Nos 9 and 14, which are normally despatched in martialistic strict tempo, sound alluringly seductive here. No 17 with its rippling downwards scales and high-octane middlesection octaves emerges as a poetic gem in its own right, while rounding off the set, each variation of No. 24 is imbued with its own distinctive musical personality. Some may crave a greater sense of visceral excitement in this of all violin works, although musically Jacobs is virtually in a class of her own.

Pizzicato 6.25 out of 5

Paganini’s Caprices are one very particular, multifaceted cycle. The account of young Dutch violinist Lisa Jacobs is marked by an interpretation that is more interested by the narrative contents of the music than emphasizing its virtuosity.

Stretto, aug 2018

Caprices van Paganini door violiste Lisa Jacobs op het label Cobra. Fenomenaal!


In haar opname van Paganini’s Capriccio’s impliceert Lisa Jabobs dat ze de technische moeilijkheden – die ze met schijnbaar gemak overwint – van secundair belang acht en dat het er haar vooral om gaat hier ‘muzikale gedichtjes’ van te maken. Daarom bepaalde ze haar prioriteit bij een nadere bestudering van het feitelijke materiaal en de echte boodschap te zoeken en liefst een boodschap te vinden in de gedachtegang van de componist. Dat ze ook een viooltechnische tour de force verricht, spreekt vanzelf, maar er zijn nauwelijks momenten waarop men het gevoel krijgt dat haar technische gaven tot het uiterste op de proef worden gesteld. Het gaat primair om de muzikale communicatie en die lukte voortreffelijk, al maakt ze ook meteen het étudekarakter van de stukken duidelijk.


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