of Tartiniís works have progressed considerably both in number
and style since these were made in 1970 using modern instruments.
I recall their original release but do not have them in my collection.
At that time recordings of Tartini (with the exception of the
Devilís Trill sonata) were as rare as Ďhenís teethĎ. This issue
is slowly being addressed as Tartini recordings are now much more
commonly available on disc. In fact, at my last count the period
instrument ensemble Líarte DellíArco, under director/violinist
Giovanni Guglielmo, for the Genoa-based Dynamic label have now
released 14 volumes of Tartiniís works.
have read that of the 200 or so known Tartini violin concertos
as many as 70 are thought to be missing. However a small number
of the lost concertos were discovered recently in the Bibliothèque
Nationale, in Paris and have now been recorded. The five concertos
on this Apex release give a good cross-section of the violin concertos
composed across Tartiniís life. There is no reliable chronology
for Tartiniís compositions which is a consistent problem. A number
of his works were published in his lifetime but only a relative
small amount with his authorisation, so the timescale between
composition and publication remains unclear.
concertos generally follow the established three movement design
of Vivaldiís Allegro-Adagio-Allegro. The central movement
is usually presented in a contrasting key with the outer movements
being based on the standard tutti-ritornello alternation,
occasionally interrupted by a substantial solo passage.
is fascinating to see the progression of Tartiniís concerto-model
as he began to slowly develop the expressive possibilities of
his music in terms of more sophisticated technique. He returned
later to a more austere conception of structure but still displaying
a deepening of thought and an enrichment of expression.
broke little new ground in terms of innovation but did make some
reforms to the conventional concerto form. For example the use
of a capriccio section, a brief stanza at the start of
the concerto, fuller use of ornamentations and increased technical
virtuosity for the soloist all became dominant features. Particularly
successful are Tartiniís beautiful slow movements that frequently
plumb real emotional depths and display a meditative and intense
passion, yet still maintaining grace and dignity. The more I hear
Tartiniís works the more I hold the view that although he does
not have Vivaldiís innate gift for melody Tartiniís music has
a deeper soul.
this Apex recording the playing of violin soloist Piero Toso matches
his impeccable credentials. Toso is on fine form in these concertos,
displaying a lovely tone throughout but tends to come across more
as a technician rather than a showman using dazzling pyrotechnics.
His playing is measured, concentrated and Iím sure deeply felt,
but for my taste I would have liked a few risks to have been taken.
In fact the whole recording, as fine as it is, could have been
ratcheted-up a few notches to provide a more exciting experience.
ensemble I solisti Veneti using modern instruments, give a controlled
performance, under the experienced direction of Claudio Scimone.
Perhaps the proceedings are too controlled overall, as in the
Allegro movements I would have preferred the soloist and
director to have agreed the adoption of a more liberal tempo.
The warm recorded sound is adequate but comes across as slightly
cloudy. To enhance the colour of the individual instruments the
recording would have really benefited from a sharper detail.
playing different violin concertos to those contained on this
release there is a superb recording that was released last year
on Hungaroton 32045 that provides a marvellous example of how
Tartiniís music can really sparkle and display a wide range of
colours. Using period instruments the Orfeo Orchestra under the
direction of Gyorgy Vashegyi with violin soloist Laszlo Paulik
give a groundbreaking performance that made me see Tartini in
a new light. To be candid this Apex recording pales by comparison.
are tried and tested performances on modern instruments that received
fine reviews when first released but now there are several newer
recordings that portray Tartini in an improved light. In short
this Apex recording would not be my first choice if I desired
a recording of a sample of Tartiniís violin concertos.