October 27, 1782: Nicolò Paganini is born at Passo di Gattamora 58 (Via Fosse del Colle 1359), Genoa, in the Most Serene Republic of Genoa, the third of six children born to Antonio Paganini, a cargo handler and shipping clerk, and Teresa Bocciardo.
February 13, 1786: At the height of a measles epidemic in northern Italy, Nicolò Paganini’s (3) sister dies in Genoa. Nicolò himself is stricken with the disease, followed by catalepsy.
May 26, 1794: Nicolò Paganini (11) plays during mass at San Filippo Neri, Genoa to “universal admiration.”
July 31, 1795: The first benefit concert for, and featuring, Nicolò Paganini (12) takes place at Teatro Sant’ Agostino, Genoa. It includes the premiere of his Variations on La carmagnole for violin and orchestra.
December 27, 1801: Nicolò Paganini (19) is appointed first violin in the national orchestra of the Republic of Lucca.
January 22, 1805: Nicolò Paganini (22) renews his contract with Cappella Nazionale del Potere Executivo, Lucca.
January 1, 1806: Nicolò Paganini (23) is named second violin in the Court Chamber Orchestra of Lucca.
August 25, 1807: Nicolò Paganini’s (24) Napoleon Sonata, composed in honor of the birthday of the Emperor of the French and King of Italy (which is actually 15 August), is performed for the first time, by the composer, in Lucca.
January 1, 1808: Princess Elisa of Lucca reduces her court orchestra to a string quartet, which includes Nicolò Paganini (25) and his brother.
October 28, 1810: The first recorded performance of Polacca con variazione for violin and orchestra by Nicolò Paganini (28) takes place in the Teatro del Pubblico, Rimini, the composer as soloist.
October 29, 1813: Nicolò Paganini (31) performs for the first time in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. He presents the first performance of his Le streghe, variations on a theme from Süssmayr’s Il noce di Benevento.
May 6, 1815: Nicolò Paganini (32) is arrested and imprisoned in Genoa. He is charged with abducting and “abusing the innocence” of Angiolina Cavanna, the 17-year-old daughter of a poor tailor. They had gone together from Genoa to Parma last October but Paganini left her in December when he found she was pregnant.
May 14, 1815: Nicolò Paganini (32) signs a document agreeing to pay damages to the father of Angiolina Cavanna.
May 15, 1815: Nicolò Paganini (32) is released from the tower in Genoa but abrogates his agreement to pay damages to the father of Angiolina Cavanna.
June 24, 1815: A dead child is removed from the womb of Angiolina Cavanna. Medical evidence shows that Nicolò Paganini (32) could not be the father.
September 28, 1815: Nicolò Paganini’s (32) lawyer submits a large amount of testimony and evidence to a Genoa court as to the low moral character of Angiolina Cavanna. This will support his claim that he was the victim of a plot by her father to extort money from him. Cavanna will reduce his charge to breach of promise.
March 11, 1816: A joint concert by Nicolò Paganini (33) and Charles Philippe Lafont in Teatro alla Scala, Milan develops into a duel between the two.
October 18, 1816: Louis Spohr (32) performs on the violin today in Venice. Here he will meet Nicolò Paganini (33) and, although he does not hear him play, Spohr is impressed by all the things Venetians, laymen and connoisseurs alike, have to say about him. “No instrumental player has ever captivated the Italians as he has done...”
November 14, 1816: The Senate of Genoa requires Nicolò Paganini (34) to pay 3,000 francs in damages to Ferdinando Cavanna. The musician refuses to pay.
February 5, 1819: Nicolò Paganini (36) gives his first concert in Rome. It is so successful that he goes on to give two more.
August 31, 1819: Variations on “Non più mesta accanto al fuoco” by Nicolò Paganini (36) is performed, probably for the first time, in Teatro dei Fiorentini, Naples.
September 11, 1819: A Genoa court orders seizure of the settlement against Nicolò Paganini (36), which he has yet to pay, plus interest, to be handed over to the widow of Ferdinando Cavanna. See 14 November 1816.
February 24, 1821: Matilde Shabran ossia Bellezza, e cuor di ferro, a melodramma giocoso by Gioachino Rossini (28) to words of Ferretti after Hoffmann and Boutet de Monvel, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Apollo, Rome, conducted by Nicolò Paganini (38). The work encounters a mixed reception.
July 23, 1825: The singer Antonia Bianchi gives birth to a son of Nicolò Paganini (42) in Palermo: Achilles Cyrus Alexander. They have been having a personal and professional relationship for two years.
January 30, 1827: Violin Concerto no.2 by Nicolò Paganini (44) is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples, the composer as soloist.
November 9, 1827: Nicolò Paganini (45) performs at Teatro del Falcone, Genoa before King Carlo Felice of Sardinia and members of the royal family.
December 24, 1827: A document is registered in the name of Nicolò Paganini (45) in which he agrees to pay an annuity to Antonia Bianchi, the mother of his son.
March 16, 1828: Nicolò Paganini (45) arrives in Vienna from Italy for his first concertizing in the city.
March 29, 1828: Nicolò Paganini (45) makes his Viennese debut at the Redoutensaal. This first concert is not well attended, but word-of-mouth accounts of his wizardry soon attract the multitude. The Wiener Theaterzeitung says “His expression seemed to mirror an inner conflict; the most unspeakable pain, the most ardent longing, the cruelest jest, even the most cutting scorn became discernible...” He will end up giving 14 concerts in the city over the next four months.
April 20, 1828: Nicolò Paganini (45) performs before the Empress of Austria and her children in the Redoutensaal, Vienna.
May 11, 1828: Capriccio on Là ci darem la mano from Mozart’s (†36) Don Giovanni by Nicolò Paganini (45) is performed by the composer in Vienna.
May 23, 1828: The Emperor of Austria confers on Nicolò Paganini (45) the title of Kammervirtuoso in Vienna.
June 27, 1828: Maestoso Sonata Sentimentale by Nicolò Paganini (45) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
July 24, 1828: Violin Concerto no.3 by Nicolò Paganini (45) is performed for the first time, in the Vienna Redoutensaal, the composer as soloist.
July 28, 1828: Nicolò Paganini (45) agrees to give his mistress, Antonia Bianchi, 2,000 scudi. In return, she will leave him and give him custody of their three-year-old son.
August 13, 1828: After a triumphant 14 concerts in Vienna, Nicolò Paganini (45) departs the city on a tour of 30 cities over the next 29 months. He will travel as far east as Warsaw and as far west as Strassbourg.
September 11, 1828: A court in Carlsbad orders Nicolò Paganini (45) to pay 150 florins to Antonio Caccia. Paganini hired Caccia as a secretary at the beginning of July but after an unremunerative concert on 22 August he sacked Caccia, in breach of contract.
October 10, 1828: Nicolò Paganini (45) undergoes an operation for an ulcerated tooth in Prague. The procedure results in severe inflammation of his lower jaw.
November 4, 1828: In a second operation on Nicolò Paganini (46) in Prague to treat an ulcerated tooth and correct the results of the first operation, all of his lower teeth are removed.
January 18, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (46) gives a command performance before King Anton of Saxony and his court at Brühl Palace, Dresden.
March 12, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (46) is received at the Mendelssohn residence in Berlin where he meets Felix (20) and Fanny (23). Wilhelm Hensel draws his portrait.
May 9, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (46) gives his first performance in Berlin. Fanny Mendelssohn (23) attends, and writes “about this extremely wonderful, incredible Talent, about this man, who has the appearance of an insane murderer, and the movements of an ape. A supernatural, wild genius. He is extremely exciting and provocative.”
May 23, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (46) performs at a banquet in Warsaw, a day before the coronation of Tsar Nikolay as King of Poland. The Tsar presents him with a diamond ring.
May 24, 1829: Tsar Nikolay I is crowned King of Poland in Warsaw. Nicolò Paganini (46) performs at the ceremony.
July 19, 1829: After a stay of two months and ten concerts, Nicolò Paganini (46) is given a farewell reception in Warsaw. He is returning to Berlin.
August 10, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (46) reaches Berlin after giving four concerts in Breslau (Wroclaw).
October 4, 1829: Having secured four concert dates in Leipzig for Nicolò Paganini (46), Friedrich Wieck reintroduces himself to the master in his Leipzig hotel. Wieck brings along his daughter Clara (10) who plays a polonaise of her own composition. Paganini is complementary toward her playing.
October 12, 1829: After four successful concerts in ten days, Nicolò Paganini (46) departs Leipzig for Halle.
October 30, 1829: Goethe hears Nicolò Paganini (47) play in Weimar with an orchestra conducted by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (50). “In relation to this pillar of flame and cloud I had no base for what is known as enjoyment...All I heard was something akin to a meteor, and then was unable to account for it. All the same it is strange to hear people--especially women--talking about it. With no hesitation they say out loud what are effectively confessions.”
November 25, 1829: At the conclusion of his last concert in Munich, Nicolò Paganini (47) is crowned with laurels by the conductor Johann Hartmann Stuntz. The virtuoso bursts into tears.
December 18, 1829: Nicolò Paganini (47) is made an honorary member of the Museum Gesellschaft of Frankfurt.
April 26, 1830: Violin Concerto no.4 by Nicolò Paganini (47) is performed for the first time, in Frankfurt.
March 9, 1831: Nicolò Paganini (48) performs in Paris for the first time, at the Opéra to wild enthusiasm. Present are Luigi Cherubini (70), Friedrich Kalkbrenner (45), Giacomo Meyerbeer (39), Fromental Halévy (31), Adolphe Adam (27), Heinrich Heine, George Sand, and Victor Hugo, in short, most of artistic Paris.
March 15, 1831: The critic François-Henri-Joseph Castil-Blaze writes of Paganini (48) in the Journal des débats, Paris, “Let us rejoice that this enchanter is our contemporary…let him be glad of it himself; if he had played his violin like that two hundred years ago, he would have been burned as a magician.” (Kawabata, 31)
June 3, 1831: Nicolò Paganini (48) opens in London after a campaign led by The Times to brand him a miser.
June 29, 1831: Johann Nepomuk Hummel (52) and Nicolò Paganini (48) give a joint concert before King William, the Queen and nobility at St. James’ Palace. Paganini’s presence in London has been overshadowing Hummel’s efforts on his current visit to the city. The two have met before, having shared a stage in Weimar in 1829.
August 20, 1831: Nicolò Paganini (48) gives the last of 14 concerts in England over the last three months, most of them in London.
August 29, 1831: Nicolò Paganini (48) arrives in Dublin for a concert tour of Ireland. He will give 23 concerts in six weeks.
March 8, 1832: Nicolò Paganini (49) departs Southampton for Le Havre. In the last ten months he has given 140 concerts in the British Isles.
March 25, 1832: Nicolò Paganini (49) gives the first concert on his second trip to Paris, just days before the arrival of cholera in the city.
April 5, 1832: One day before the second concert given by Nicolò Paganini (49) on this trip to Paris, patrons terrified by the cholera epidemic storm the box office demanding their money back.
July 6, 1832: Having returned to England from France, Nicolò Paganini (49) gives a concert in Covent Garden, London. He will perform there twelve times over the next six weeks.
December 9, 1832: Le retour à la vie, mélologue en six parties for orchestra by Hector Berlioz (28) is performed for the first time, in the Paris Conservatoire. The work is intended as a sequel to Symphonie fantastique and will be renamed Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie. Berlioz sends tickets to Harriet Smithson through a British journalist. It is not until she enters a cab to go to the Conservatoire that her companion, the journalist Schutter, gives her the program, and she finds out whose music she will hear. Among those present are Nicolò Paganini (50), Franz Liszt (21), Frédéric Chopin (22), George Sand, Heinrich Heine, Alexandre Dumas, and Victor Hugo. Symphonie fantastique is also presented but in a much better performance than 1830. Harriet “felt the room reel about her; she heard no more, but sat in a dream, and at the end went home like a sleepwalker, hardly aware of what was happening.”
January 13, 1833: Clara Wieck (13) plays her Caprices en forme de valse pour le piano op.2 for the first time, in a private concert given in her father’s house. She also plays what might be the first performance of any solo piano music by Robert Schumann (22), two of the op.3 studies after Paganini (50). See 27 January 1835.
May 12, 1833: Trio concertante for viola, guitar, and cello by Nicolò Paganini (50) is performed for the first time, in London.
May 13, 1833: Symphony no.4 “Italian” by Felix Mendelssohn (24) is performed for the first time, in London, directed by the composer. Nicolò Paganini (50) is among the listeners. He asks Mendelssohn to play Beethoven (†6) sonatas with him. Vincenzo Bellini (31) is also there and the two composers meet. Although the London public is growing increasingly fond of Mendelssohn, the criticisms of the symphony are mixed.
December 22, 1833: Le roi Lear, a grand ouverture by Hector Berlioz (30) is performed for the first time, in the Paris Conservatoire. On the same program are the premieres of his songs Le jeune Pâtre Breton to words of Brizeux and Romance de Marie Tudor to words of Hugo. Nicolò Paganini (51) attends and later asks Berlioz to compose a work for him to play on the viola.
April 28, 1834: Nicolò Paganini (51) debuts as a solo violist in London. Critics advise him against persisting.
September 28, 1834: Six-and-a-half years after departing for Vienna, Nicolò Paganini (51) leaves Paris for Genoa and home. During this short time, Paganini has achieved fame and recognition as the greatest violin virtuoso of the age.
November 14, 1834: Nicolò Paganini (52) plays his first concert in Italy since he left in 1828, in Parma.
December 12, 1835: After Nicolò Paganini (53) leads an orchestra concert in Parma for the birthday of Grand Duchess Marie-Louise, she gives him exclusive control over court music.
December 25, 1835: A royal decree grants Nicolò Paganini (53) complete control of music in the Duchy of Parma.
November 22, 1836: Nicolò Paganini (54) is elected a member of the Philharmonic Society of Casal Montferrato.
February 24, 1837: Clara Wieck (17) gives her first full-length recital in Berlin. This and the five to follow are given a fairly positive critical response. She is compared to Mendelssohn (28). The public love her. Her father reports, “Triumph, triumph, Clara created a furore last night. Her masterly playing was rewarded by an hour and a half of thunder and formidable bravissimos...Even Paganini (54) did not have such accolades here.”
June 16, 1837: Unknown to all attending, Nicolò Paganini’s (54) concert today in Turin is the last he will ever give.
December 14, 1837: Clara Wieck (18) gives her first concert at the Musikverein in Vienna. Through the winter, she will give six concerts here, two at the Kärntnertortheater, and appear at many private parties. She becomes the sensation of the city, compared to Paganini (55) for her technical virtuosity and depth of feeling.
December 16, 1838: Hector Berlioz (35) conducts an orchestral concert at the Conservatoire featuring music of Gluck (†51) and himself. Nicolò Paganini (56), frail and ill with throat cancer, is in the audience. It is the first time he hears Harold in Italy, which was composed originally for him. At the conclusion, Paganini comes on stage as Berlioz is about to leave it. His voice inaudible from the cancer, he whispers in the ear of his son Achille and then beckons him to stand on a chair. The young man proclaims, “My father says he is so moved and overwhelmed, he could go down on his knees to you.” Paganini takes Berlioz’ arm and brings him back to the platform, whereupon he kneels and kisses Berlioz’ hand.
December 18, 1838: While Hector Berlioz (35) is bedridden with bronchitis, Achille Paganini, son of the violinist (56), enters his room, hands Berlioz a letter and leaves, saying that no response is required. Inside the envelope is a note which says “Beethoven being dead, only Berlioz could make him live again; and I, who have enjoyed your divine compositions, worthy of the genius that you are, beg you to accept as token of my homage 20,000 francs, which will be remitted to you by Baron Rothschild on your presenting the enclosed. Ever your affectionate friend Nicolò Paganini.”
June 28, 1839: In the case of the failed Casino Paganini, a Paris court sentences Nicolò Paganini (56) to pay 20,000 francs plus interest and costs with a threat of arrest for debt for ten years upon non-fulfillment for claims. He appeals.
November 24, 1839: Roméo et Juliette, a symphonie dramatique for solo voices, double chorus, and orchestra by Hector Berlioz (35) to words of Deschamps after Shakespeare, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Conservatoire, conducted by the composer. Dedicated to Nicolò Paganini (57), it is an unquestioned triumph. Richard Wagner (26), present either today or 1 December, is very impressed.
January 3, 1840: In the case of the failed Casino Paganini, the appeal by Nicolò Paganini (57) to the judgment of last 28 June is handed down. The verdict is confirmed and the penalty is raised to 50,000 francs.
May 27, 1840: 17:20 Nicolò Paganini dies in a house at Rue de la Préfecture 14 in Nice, Kingdom of Sardinia, aged 57 years and seven months. According to Paolo Agostino he dies “in the arms of his son who was alone in the apartment with him.” The cause of death may be tuberculosis combined with mercury poisoning. He was given mercury to cure the syphilis which he probably did not have.
May 28, 1840: The Bishop of Nice refuses a church burial and tolling of the bell for the remains of Nicolò Paganini because of the deceased’s attitude toward the Church.
June 4, 1840: While awaiting instructions of the king, the Governor of Genoa prohibits the entry of the mortal remains of Nicolò Paganini (†0).
June 28, 1840: The Bishop of Nice rejects an appeal by the executors of Nicolò Paganini’s (†0) estate for a Catholic burial. The body will spend the summer in the cellar of Count de Cessole. In September it will be transferred to a leper house.
August 18, 1841: Civil and ecclesiastical courts reject yet another appeal by the executors of Nicolò Paganini’s (†1) estate for the burial of his remains.
April 11, 1844: After almost four years of haggling between Church authorities and the heirs of Nicolò Paganini (†3), the City of Genoa gives permission for the composer’s mortal remains to enter their territory.
April 22, 1844: The earthly remains of Nicolò Paganini (†3) are brought into Genoa and transported to the Paganini property at Ramairone.
January 24, 1845: A requiem mass is said for the memory of Nicolò Paganini (†4) in Chiesa della Steccata, Parma. Until recently, the Church refused the remains of Paganini a Christian burial due to the composer’s refusal to receive the last sacrament.
April 16, 1845: Duchess Maria Luisa and the Bishop of Parma allow the earthly remains of Nicolò Paganini (†4) to enter Parma.