This is a companion to Regis’s previous restorations of Gordan
Nikolitch’s Tartini concertos on RRC 1157. For the record that
earlier re-release consisted of D15, D78, D123, D80 and D115.
This is proving to be a handy repository of good, middle-of-the-road
modern instrument performances that show an awareness of performance
style but don’t slavishly make a fetish of it.
The B flat major
concerto for instance has a well-sprung Allegro after the opening
sonorous maestoso. Nikolitch’s sound is well suited to the repertory
– a bright, tightly focused tone, with a fast vibrato, with
trills that are not quite of electric velocity but are nevertheless
fast and even. His slow movements – let’s cite the same concerto’s
Largo – are affecting and offer refined legato phrasing. Szigeti
used to perform the D minor Concerto in the Pente-Szigeti edition;
he recorded it as well. This is late period Tartini and therefore
full of darker shadows than the mid and early concertos. Nikolitch
plays this with silvery, concentrated elegance, with no excessive
vibrato or gauche gestures.
The C major D12
illustrates the tight ensemble of the Orchestre d’Auvergne under
Arie van Beek though the harpsichord is rather backwardly balanced
throughout the set. The slow movement has a winning lyric grace
and the decorations in the finale are apposite and well judged.
The odd man out here is the inauthentic orchestral
arrangement of the Devil’s Trill sonata which is played by different
forces – violinist Sergei Krylov with the Lithuanian Chamber
Orchestra directed by Saulius Sondeckis. The big band garb of
the Tartini generally works against it – the sonata is not only
the more authentic but also the more apposite – though it’s
not unreasonable to hear it aired thus once in a while. Krylov
is a different kind of violinist to Nikolitch – a more muscular,
romantic player, and the arrangement suits that approach. The
disparity set up between the clean-limbed Nikolitch performances
and this one is unavoidable however. Best to see the Devil’s
Trill, in this context, as something of an anachronistic pendant.
Otherwise, concentrating on the Nikolitch-Beek
recordings this offers comparable qualities as their earlier
disc – resilient, thoughtful and intelligent music making, attractively