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Giuseppe Tartini - Palladians - Early Music Review


06 October 2008
Early Music Review
Victoria Helby

Palladians is the name taken by members of the Palladian Ensemble in its new more flexible line-up. The first piece on the CD is Tartini's best-known work, the so-called Devil's Trill sonata, Op.1 No.4, which begins so deceptively calmly with a larghetto affetuoso reminiscent of a Scottish folk song. The story behind the sonata is too well known for me to repeat here, but the excellent notes include Lalande's account of it as told to him by Tartini as well as an amusing diatribe against Italian violinists by Roger North. An even more dramatic programmatic sonata, number 10 of Op.1, Didone abbandonata, portrays Dido's longing, anger and despair at her abandonment by Aeneas. This is followed by Veracini's Sonata in A major, Op.1 No.7, included here because of the composer's influence on the young Tartini, who after hearing him play withdrew from performance and reappeared after a period of practice ‘with a longer bow, thicker strings and a new and wonderful control of cantabile playing'. The largo from Tartini's Op.1 No.5 is performed by violin and gamba alone, showing how the composer might have played in his later years with the cello and gamba player Antonio Vandini, with whom he shared a house after the death of his wife. Tartini's Op.1 No.13 Pastorale with its scordatura violin tuning and imitation of rustic bagpipes is much less serious though far from being light-weight. The programme, full of emotional intensity and beautiful sounds, ends with a Grave in D minor from one of the viol concertos Tartini wrote for Vandini.
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