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Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Violin Concerto in E major D.50 [15:07]
Violin Concerto in D major D.96 [12:57]
Violin Concerto in G major D.80 [15:13]
Violin Concerto in B minor D.125 [13:15]
Violin Concerto in D major D.28 [16:34]
Ariadne Daskalakis (violin)
Cologne Chamber Orchestra/Helmut Müller-Brühl
rec. DeutschlandRadio, Sendesaal des Funkhauses, Cologne, October 2005
NAXOS 8.570222 [73:05]

A disc sporting two previously unrecorded Tartini concertos is worth listening to. There are five concertos here in all so the discographic novelty factor is running at forty percent and fortunately the performances are fresh and enjoyable – so we can be assured of a fine introduction to them.
I last heard the German-based Ariadne Daskalakis in a Tudor disc devoted to the sonatas of Joachim Raff.  She played very well but, mistakenly or not, I craved rather more expression than she chose to give. Here in Tartini she strikes a judicious balance between the dictates of structure – include the extensive cadential passages – and the expressive demands of the concertos, not least in slow movements.
The E major is one of the two previously unrecorded works. The first movement syncopation is pleasurable and the finale’s buoyant liveliness is typical – and typically engaging. But it’s the slow movement that captures the ear. With a Grave this eloquent it’s remarkable that no one has sought to record it before. It’s cast as an aria and the beauty of its lyricism is both pervasive and lasting. It would be interesting to know how much of the solo line has been decorated and whether this was entirely the responsibility of the soloist.
The A major is a richly vibrant and compact work – in three movements as are all the concerti. The advanced cadential writing discloses Daskalakis’s assured technique. In the case of the E major we confront some very spare orchestral accompaniment over which the violin has rights of roaming – the acrobatic lines are accomplished and the slow movement is a  verdantly expressive one. Once more the orchestration is distribution with precision and tactful restraint. The finale is rather conventional. 
The B minor D.125 has even more of a skeletal orchestral basis. It’s very more a platform for the virtuosic flights of the soloist – handy for the travelling virtuoso encountering hard-pressed bands en route. The D major D.28, the other first ever recording, has altogether more fizz. There are horns here, though whether they’re quite authentic is another matter, and one not resolved in the violinist’s own booklet notes. The horns certainly add to the hunt motifs – and the violin responds with little fanfare mottos of its own. The slow movement is strikingly affectionate and elegantly decorated.
There are plenty of good things here – premiere recordings and fine, stylistically aware playing from the modern instrument orchestra, tactfully directed by Müller-Brühl. And Ariadne Daskalakis plays with grace and lyrical purity sufficient to warrant considerable enthusiasm.
Jonathan Woolf


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