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Friday, May 1, 2009

Dark Fiddler: The Life and Legend of Nicolo Paganini (Juvenile)

Released September 2008

Reviewed by Deb Fowler

Legend has it that when Teresa Paganini was pregnant with her son, Nicolo, she had a visitation from an angel. The angel told her that her son would be famous, but the cost of this fame would be heavy. They say that Nicolo actually died of the plague when he was just a wee boy, but someone fortunately saw him take a breath before they placed him in the ground, saving his life.

Nicolo became a musical prodigy, but was not pampered by his father, who was practically a slave driver when it came time for the boy to practice. He outpaced his instructors at a very early age and resorted to teaching himself. The sickly boy left home at an early age to lead a decadent life, but never let his music fall by the wayside. “Word spread that he could play twelve notes a second. Twelve notes!” He was a dark fiddler, but had he made a pact with the Devil in exchange for his talents?

This story, along with the haunting, swirling art work, was simply fascinating. The apparent narrator, a grave digger, made it darker still. This “legend has it” tale may spur the young reader into wanting to know more about the life and times of Nicolo Paganini. In the postlude there is a short, but very comprehensive and interesting biography of Nicolo. Bravo!

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