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Of Note: A Raunchy and Gnarly Take on a Paganini Caprice

Composer Christopher Cerrone tackles virtuosity in "High Windows," which the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas performs alongside with Beethoven and Bach at this weekend's concert.

The spark began when he was particularly struck by the trill of the G minor caprice as performed by Thomas Zehetmair. 

"I thought of this subconscious memory of every string player learning these warhorse-y pieces," he describes. "Zehetmair played with this incredible tone color that was very delicate, flautando and up on the bridge sound." 

So he decided to invert it.

"What if we did  the opposite," he says. "What if we made this incredibly raunchy sounding version of Paganini."

That's how "High Windows" begins, with string players performing the first bar of a distorted and gnarly Paganini caprice with a lot of overtones. Other influences include the incredible resonance of a church in Brooklyn, the sonata form and a Philip Larkin poem of the same name.

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