Nicolo Paganini, composer and exceptionally talented violinist, deceiving all the technical difficulties and pulling from his instrument extraordinary sounds, made triumphant travels in Europe. Everywhere he amazed the crowds with his thinness, his paleness, the fulgurance of his glance, his frequent extravagances. Invited in Nice by Count de Cessole, one of his admirers, in 1836, he gave three concerts, at the last moment he demanded that the prices were quadrupled. In 1840, sick and pursued by French justice for a nasty financial business, he was back in Nice to escape the pursuits and to restore his health. Count de Cessole provided him with an apartment situated number 23 of the current rue de la Prefecture, at that time rue du Gouvernement. But the tuberculous laryngitis which the artist suffered from got worse. He felt death come and Abbot Caffarelli, the priest of Sainte-Réparate, was called to confess the dying man who had never been very inclined on his religious duties. The confessor, having pronounced a word considered unfortunate by Paganini, was thrown out. Therefore, Paganini died on May 27, 1840 without having received the last sacraments. For this reason, the bishop of Nice, Mgr. Galvano *, forbade his burial in a Christian cemetery. Count de Cessole made embalm the corpse and hid the coffin in one of his properties.

The remains of Paganini knew an extraordinary wandering. The main places were point Saint Hospice, Villefranche, Genoa, before a definitive funeral in Parma in 1876, the deceased being finally rehabilitated by the Church. Guy de Maupassant, evoking Paganini's posthumous odyssey, noted: " The adventure deserves the life of this brilliant and macabre artist, who was supposed to be possessed by the devil, with strange look, body, face, whose superhuman talent and prodigious thinness made him appear a figure of legend, a sort of character of Hoffmann " (On the water).

Ralph SCHOR

 

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