Paganini's one-stringed soap opera
Niccolo Paganini by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
The life of Niccolò Paganini was surrounded by a number of legends.
A particularly colorful story tells of Paganini giving a recital with successive strings breaking one after another. Left with one string, Paganini refused to pause or re-string the instrument but improvised on his one remaining string. Another take on this story has it that Paganini would intentionally file down his E string so it would snap mid-performance, thus enabling him to do his trick of playing on just one string.
Even though in all likelihood both stories are complete fantasy, this set of Paganini's variations based on an aria from Rossini’s opera Mosè in Egitto is undoubtedly intended for a one-string performance.
Listen to Paganini's Introduction and Variations on a Theme from Rossini's Moses performed by Leonid Kogan & Andrei Mytnik: