Paganini-Capriccio is approximately 6 minutes long, and it is a through-composed work in the form of a theme and fourteen variations that are loosely based on Niccoló Paganini’s 24th caprice for violin. Witold Lutoslawski’s influence on Swerts shimmers in his use of chromaticism, and in Swerts composition one can find small quotes and head nods to Lutoslawski’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini.
Swerts was commissioned by Kenneth Tse to write Paganini Capriccio, and Tse gave the premiere with Swerts at the piano at the 17th World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, France on July 13th, 2015. Two years later, the Golden Saxophone Competition chose Paganini-Capriccio as the required work for the second round of the 2017 competition. The Golden Saxophone Competition is held biennially in Kiev, Ukraine, and there are three age divisions for competitors: up to age 13 years, ages 14-17, and ages 18-25. Swerts orchestrated Paganini-Capriccio for alto saxophone and string orchestra for the winner’s concert during the Golden Saxophone Competition, and there are orchestral parts available on request. Roman Fotuima was the winner of the 2017 Golden Saxophone Competition, and he was the first to play this version with orchestral accompaniment.