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Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Concertos for Violin and Orchestra, Vol. 1

Concerto for Violin in E major, D47 [17:05]
Concerto for Violin in F major, D69 [17:49]
Concerto for Violin in A major, D101 [19:13]
Concerto for Violin in D major, D34 [16:28]
Paulik László (violin)
Orfeo Orchestra/György Vashegyi
rec. 13-16 February 2001, Hungaroton Studio, Budapest, Hungary. DDD
HUNGAROTON CLASSIC HCD32045 [70:58]
 

 

 

 

 

 


Concertos for Violin and Orchestra, Vol. 2

Concerto for Violin in C major, D7 [16:35]
Concerto for Violin in D major, D20 [19:49]
Concerto for Violin in A major, D90 [19:35]
Concerto for Violin in D major, D17 [17:56]
Paulik László (violin)
Orfeo Orchestra/György Vashegyi
rec. 9-10, 12-13 April 2003, Hungaroton Studio, Budapest, Hungary. DDD
HUNGAROTON CLASSIC HCD32234 [74:23]

 


There is great cause for celebration here with these two volumes of  Tartin Violin Concertos. Recorded at the Hungaroton Studio in Budapest the first volume from 2001 comprises what are claimed to be premičre recordings of all four Concertos and the second volume from 2003 includes premičre recordings of the two Concertos, D 7 and D 20. It seems that the manuscripts of all eight scores were discovered at the Bibliothčque Nationale in Paris and were edited for these recording sessions by the multi-talented György Vashegyi.
 
The Orfeo Chamber Orchestra are a period instrument chamber ensemble of around fourteen or fifteen players. They were founded in Budapest in 1991. Founder György Vashegyi directs from either harpsichord or organ.
 
Hungarian-born in 1966 violin soloist Paulik László studied at the prestigious Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. His study continued in Wien and under the tutelage of Simon Standage at the Academy of Early Music in Dresden. Whilst still a student at the Academy he was a founding member of the Concerto Armonico Chamber Orchestra and since 1992 has been Concertmaster of the Orfeo Chamber Orchestra. On these discs László wrote all the cadenzas on the first volume and that for the D 90 score on volume two.
 
Márta Katona in the Hungaroton booklet notes explains how Tartini’s Violin Concertos follow the established Vivaldian three movement design of Allegro-Adagio-Allegro. The central movement is usually presented in a contrasting key with the outer movements being based on the standard tutti-retornello arrangement, occasionally interrupted by a substantial solo passage.
 
Giuseppe Tartini, born in Pirano (now Piran) on the Adriatic in Italy (now Slovenia) in 1692 was preparing for a career in the priesthood and attended in 1709 the University of Padua where he studied theology, philosophy and literature. Following conflict with the church authorities over his marriage to a woman deemed unsuitable, Tartini was banished from Padua and fled to the Monastery of Assisi. There he studied music between 1711-14 with the famous Czech musician Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský and played violin in the orchestra at the Ancona Opera House. In 1721 in Padua, Tartini was appointed the first violin and maestro di cappella at the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, a posting that he held for the rest of his life; apart from a short break. At Saint Anthony’s he was given the dispensation to play in other orchestras and was allowed some travel. Tartini did leave his post at the Basilica of Saint Anthony for three years to travel to Prague with the cellist Antonio Vandini and was involved with the Count Kinsky Orchestra where he remained until 1726. He was soon to return to Padua and the Basilica.
 
Tartini in 1728 established a violin school in Padua named the Scuolla delle Nazioni (School of the Nations), taking in students from all over Europe. His reputation as a composer spread to the Germany territories; France and England and throughout the remaining twenty years of his life he concentrated on his music treatises more than composition. Between the years 1739 to 1741 he visited many Italian cities including Naples and in Rome at the request of Pope Clement XII he composed a Miserere, for four, five, and eight voices, which was performed by the Sistine choir 1768. The prolific Tartini become one of the foremost Italian instrumental composers, writing over four hundred works, including mainly Violin Concertos; Sonatas and Trio Sonatas. A catalogue of Tartini’s concertos was created in 1935 by Greek musicologist Minos Dounias and catalogued according to tonality as there are very few actual composition dates available.
 
It is fascinating to see the progression of Tartini’s concerto model as he began to slowly extend the expressive possibilities of his music in terms of more sophisticated technique by cultivating the transition from the late-Baroque to the early developments of the Classical era. He returned later to a more austere conception of structure but still displaying a deepening of thought and an enrichment of expression.
 
Tartini broke little new ground in terms of great innovation but did make some advancements to the conventional concerto form, for example: a brief stanza at the start of the concerto; heightened use of ornamentation and increased technical virtuosity for the soloist became dominant features. Beside the solo violin passages he introduced a new ‘inaugural capriccio’ section in the Allegro movements to allow the soloist further opportunity to display technique.
 
Particularly successful are Tartini’s beautiful slow movements that frequently plumb real emotional depths, yet still maintain a reverential grace and dignity. The more I hear Tartini, especially in these recordings, the more I hold the view that, although, he does not have Vivaldi’s innate gift for melody he has a deeper soul.
 
I have not for some time enjoyed releases as much as these two. The interpretations from László using a Jahann Hentschl violin (c.1750) are of an exceptional standard with assured and expressive playing of purity and precision of intonation that at times takes the breath away. In the Allegros he displays astonishing virtuosity of great elegance with clean textures and articulation. I especially loved the heavenly sounds he displays and the high degree of emotional intensity in the contemplative and affecting Adagios. The sensitive support is impeccable displaying a wide spectrum of orchestral colours.
 
The presentation of these discs is first class including interesting and detailed annotation. This is complemented by crystal clear and immediate sound quality of demonstration standard. László is one of Hungary’s best kept secrets and he deserves to be heard by a wider audience. These discs take a treasured place in my collection.
 
Michael Cookson
 


 


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