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Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Concerto for violin and strings in B flat major D117 [16:48]
Concerto for violin and strings in D minor D45 [12:23]
Concerto for violin and strings in C major D12 [16:43]
Concerto for violin and strings in E major D51 [12:42]
Sonata in G minor “Devil’s Trill”  [16:28]
Gordan Nikolitch (violin)
Orchestre d’Auvergne/Arie van Beek
Sergei Krylov (violin)
Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra/Saulius Sondeckis
rec. Eglise de Saint-Saturnin, Puy-de-Dome, France, 1996; undated location (Devil’s Trill)
REGIS RRC1283 [75:09]


Experience Classicsonline

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 recorded.

Jonathan Woolf


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