Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Violin Concerto in A, D. 96 [21:05]
Violin Concerto in B flat, D. 117 [19:30]
Violin Concerto in G, D. 78 [19:50]
Salvatore Accardo (violin)
I Musici
rec. Salle des Remparts, La Tour de Peilz, Switzerland, September 1973, ADD

There is no doubt that the age of this recording is very evident, despite its digital transfer to SACD format. But the beauty of the music and the buoyancy of the performances give it an irresistible charm that compensates for some of its drawbacks.

It is good to see a new release of music by the Italian composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and music theorist whose reputation now rests on the notoriety of his ‘Devil’s Trill’ sonata in G minor. In his day, Tartini was celebrated across Italy and beyond as a writer and performer of great versatility. His career stretched between the Baroque of Vivaldi and the early Classical tradition. Accordingly, his music is virtuosic without being flashy, and defined by clean, even spare, melodic lines.

All of these qualities are present in the three concertos on this disc, which date from somewhere between 1735 and 1750. The opening A major concerto is a four-movement affair – explained by the fact that Tartini wrote two slow movements (an adagio and a largo andante) without indicating a preference for either. The largo (track 4) is the more beautiful of the two. Its simple, sweet melody is played with great warmth by soloist Salvatore Accardo. The B flat concerto is a more complex affair, with fugal sections and leaping motifs recalling Bach as much as Tartini’s early Italian contemporaries. The final concerto in G major is perhaps the least memorable, although it concludes with a lively and rhythmic presto (track 10).

Accardo’s playing is faultless, and he is ably accompanied by the legendary I Musici – who, in a pioneering example of ‘authenticity’, dispense with a conductor. The downside of this disc is the 1973 recorded sound. Despite re-mastering, it still sounds hollow, with the dulled strings set back too far from the microphones. But Accardo’s playing is clear and sharp. The sleeve-notes are rather dodgily translated, but give as much information as the listener needs to appreciate the music.

John-Pierre Joyce

Accardo’s playing is faultless, and he is ably accompanied by the legendary I Musici.