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Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Violin Concerto in D minor D45*
Violin Concerto in G major
Violin Concerto in E minor D56
Cello Concerto in A major
Violin Sonata in A major Op.1 No.1
Violin Sonata in G major Op.1 No.10
Violin Sonata in F major Op.1 No.12
Violin Sonata in C major Op.2 No.6
Violin Sonata in G minor The Devil’s Trill
Pierre Amoyal (violin) except
Piero Toso (violin)*
Severino Zannerini (cello)
I soloisti Veneti
Claudio Scimone
Pierre Amoyal (violin) Susan Moses (cello) Edoardo Farina (harpsichord) - Sonatas
Recorded Villa Simes, 1976 (Concertos) and Église Notre-Dame des Roses, Grisy-Suines 1977 (Sonatas)
WARNER APEX 2564 61693-2 [66.08 + 66.43]


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This is part of an Apex reissue series devoted to the recordings of I soloisti Veneti and their director Claudio Scimone. As with many of the others – Tartini with Piero Toso, Vivaldi with Jean-Pierre Rampal and Albinoni – the recordings were made in the 1970s. This one has a difference of opinion; the jewel box claims 1979 for the Amoyal Sonatas but the booklet notes claim 1977. It’s good in any case to welcome them back to the fold.

It’s the Frenchman who bears the greatest burden in this set, which makes the democratic artwork so unrepresentative and the blizzard of blank pages in the booklet does speak of a certain level of ungenerosity. Toso is a good fiddle player but he’s not in Amoyal’s class – so I’d have preferred some typographical credit for the man who has nearly both these discs to himself, the excellent and eloquent Amoyal. His tight silvery tone illumines the E minor Concerto even if a recurring problem of the disc is immediately apparent; he’s been placed rather too far forward of I soloisti Veneti for entirely comfortable listening and they do sound rather distant behind him. His elegant phrasing and the cloudy veil that Scimone summons from the orchestra give expressive feeling to the slow movements. Amoyal even enlivens proceedings with some discreet portamenti; his cadenza in the opening Allegro of the G major Concerto is also suitably grand. Toso proves a commendable soloist in the D minor and cellist Zannerini despatches the A major well enough – though there’s an odd moment of pitch lurch in the finale. Good performances these in the main though the bass attacks are somewhat over forceful and the luscious orchestral string tone can be rather unremitting.

The second disc has the sonatas and not just the Devil’s Trill. There’s good balance between the trio and I was taken by the genial and warm way they span the Affettuoso first movement of the G major, not as easy a feat as it may seem. Amoyal varies his vibrato cannily in the Adagio of the F major – slowing appreciably to good effect - and his trill and bowing are on good form in the same sonata’s finale. It’s certainly of value to hear an essentially modern minded fiddler playing with a quasi-authentic set up of harpsichord and anchoring cello. To my ears, though, his anti-virtuosic performance doesn’t really take flight in the Devil’s Trill – but then perhaps that was part of the musical point he was making.

Jonathan Woolf

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