Last in a series of Caprices for solo violin, still the ultimate virtuosity test piece for that particular instrument. The tune that drove composers wild, enought to make the greater part of the fiddle tribe commit suicide or at least quit playing, period. Fed the legend Paganini (1782-1840) sold his soul to the devil for talent (and sex appeal).
Franz Liszt [variation for piano as sixth part in Theme and Variations in A Minor from Grandes Etudes de Paganini]
Johannes Brahms [new variation for piano in his first Book with Paganini Variations; as much a musician's ballbreaker as Paganini's original]
Karol Szymanowski [as third Caprice in Three Caprices on Themes of Paganini]
Sergei Rachmaninoff [as Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, opus 43, a set of 24 variations on the 24th and last Caprice for solo violin, played by the maestro himself with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski; best known is the 18th Variation (Andante Cantabile) showing Paganini's theme backwards]
Miklós Rózsa [as film theme of The Story Of Three Lovers]
Winifred Atwell [idem; hit UK]
Andrew Lloyd Webber [as Variations; theme of The South Bank Show]
Witold Lutoslowski [as Paganini Variations]
Rachmaninoff's 18th Variation (Andante Cantabile) is frequently used in films; also in Somewhere In Time ('80), Groundhog Day ('93) and Sabrina ('95) and provided the basis for the first Korgis hit If I Had You ('79), covered by Tracey Ullman ('84) and Rod Stewart ('00).