Franz Liszt - Grand Paganini Etudes [No. 3 - La Campanella] (1851)
Based on Niccolò Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor (1826)
Performed by Evgeny Kissin
La Campanella (meaning "The Little Bell") is the nickname given to the final movement of Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, because the tune was reinforced by a little handbell.
Franz Liszt used the tune and wrote various pieces based on it, the most famous of which is the third of six Grandes Etudes de Paganini ("Grand Paganini Etudes"), S. 141, of 1851,known also as La Campanella. (This piece is a revision of an earlier version from 1838, when the set was called Études d'exécution transcendante d'après Paganini, S. 140). The later set is a revision of the earlier set, and every piece in the set is based on themes by Niccolò Paganini.
But before even this Liszt had used the theme for an earlier set of variations, Grande Fantaise de Bravoure sur "La Clochette" de Paganini, S.420, in B minor for piano (1831-32). And Liszt returned to the theme in 1845 for a further piece Grand Fantaisie (Variations) sur des thèmes de Paganini, S.700.
The etude is played at a brisk pace and studies right hand jumping between intervals larger than one octave, sometimes even stretching for two whole octaves within the time of a sixteenth note, at Allegretto tempo. As a whole, the etude can be practised to increase dexterity and accuracy at large jumps on the piano, along with agility of the weaker fingers of the hand. The largest intervals reached by the right hand are fifteenths (two octaves) and sixteenths (two octaves and a second). Sixteenth notes are played between the two notes and the same note is played two octaves or two octaves and a second higher with no rest. No time is provided for the pianist to move the hand, thus forcing the pianist to avoid tension within the muscles. Fifteenth intervals are quite common in the beginning of the etude, while the sixteenth intervals appear twice, at the thirtieth and thirty-second measures. [Wikipedia]