Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
The Violin Concertos : vol.17
Violin Concerto in A Minor, D.114* [13:01]
Violin Concerto in D, D.25 [9:28]
Violin Concerto in B flat, D.121** [10:37]
Violin Concerto in D, D.36** [11:03]
Violin Concerto in C, D.11 [8:47]
Violin Concerto in E, D.51 [12:39]
Violin Concerto in D, D.32* [14:11]
Violin Concerto in A, D.98** [8:51]
Violin Concerto in D, D.37 [9:47]
Violin Concerto in G, D.80** [15:41]
Grave (alternative slow movement for Violin Concerto in G, D.80)** [3:46]
Violin Concerto in C, D.6 [11:55]
L'Arte dell'Arco (Carlo Lazari (violin) (soloist); Federico Guglielmo (violin) (*soloist); Giovanni Guglielmo (violin) (**soloist); Mario Paladin (viola); Francesco Montaruli (cello); Alessandro Sbrogiò (violone); Nicola Reniero (harpsichord); Roberto Loreggian (organ))
rec. Studio Magister, Preganziol, Italy, 10-13 September 2009, 9-11 August 2010
DYNAMIC CDS 678/1-2 [65:44 + 60:33]
This is the seventeenth and final volume of Dynamic's complete edition of Giuseppe Tartini's violin concertos. This runs to 29 CDs and a mind-boggling 126 concertos in total, all performed by Italian chamber ensemble L'Arte dell'Arco. The publicity blurb enthusiastically offers the series by way of tribute "as the 250th anniversary of Tartini's death approaches". That date is still a few years away, but L'Arte dell'Arco's cycle is truly worthy of the great composer's name, especially more recent instalments, which have been thoroughgoingly impressive (review of volume 16).
Like all Tartini's violin concertos, this last batch are not orchestral works, but concerti a 5 - for solo violin, four further string parts (violin, viola, cello and violone) and continuo (here, harpsichord and organ). Tartini's early concertos were often based on models of his lifelong hero Corelli. Later on Vivaldi's towering influence had more or less crystallised the concerto form into the familiar fast-slow-fast shape, with the middle movement now expressively lyrical. That is once again the pattern for all the concertos in this set. Most listeners will doubtless be more familiar with Vivaldi than Tartini ('Devil's Trill' Sonata excepted). However there is little to choose between them in terms of excellence, at least when it came to instrumental writing - Tartini wrote almost no vocal music. Thus, whilst Vivaldi's own splendid violin concertos give an accurate indication of what to expect from Tartini's greater familiarity with the latter's will reveal his unique stamp. The concertos are unequivocally a titanic achievement, not only in quantitative terms or for their historical significance, but also as outstanding works of art in themselves.
With virtually the same line-up as before - plus the occasional tinkle from Roberto Loreggian on the organ - L'Arte dell'Arco perform on original instruments. Democratically rotating soloists, all the players understand Tartini's understated virtuosity and rhythmic invention, performing with loving attention to detail in a very Tartinian style: neutral but warm, with gusto but without affectation.
L'Arte dell'Arco's cycle is not a cheap one by any stretch - anyone sourcing the seventeen volumes for under £400 will have done very well. There is every chance that Dynamic will issue a cut-price boxed set before long, and those on a budget would probably be better off waiting a while for that. However, as no true music lover should be without Tartini's violin concertos for any length of time, the present double-disc would in the meantime make a mouth-watering sample.
Audio quality is once more very good - in fact, it could hardly be bettered. Just occasionally, the faintest sounds of passing traffic are audible - unusual for a studio recording, but only the very keenest of hearing will pick it up.
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