Giuseppe Tartini - Palladians - Audiophile Audition

Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) was born in what nowadays is Piran, Slovenia, and Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768) was born in Florence, Italy. These two composers and violin virtuosos together with the older Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) constitute under most accounts the epitome of Italian Baroque violin virtuosi. These three together with Jean-Philip Rameau (1683-1764) raised the level of string playing, music theory and string's physical acoustics understanding to such standards that even now in the 21st Century we must listen to them. Their contemporary violin makers - Stradivarius, Guarneri, Amatic, da Salo and Maggini - provided the instruments and we must bow down our heads and hearts to the music and exalted sounds they produce.

On this 5.1 surround sound SACD disc the Palladians do not seem to take the extreme amount of liberties that Andrew Manze took in the execution of two of the same pieces by Tartini. Contrasting these two works (Tracks 1-3) the Sonata in G minor for violin and basso continuo "The Devil's Trill", and (Tracks 13-15) the Sonata in A minor for violin in scordatura "Pastorale" we find considerable differences...The Palladians improvise the basso continuo line and harmony with harpsichord, seven-string bass viola and archlute or Baroque guitar...Rodolfo Richter plays the Pastorale sonata in Tartini's original instrumentation, that is, with the violin in scordatura - the violin two bottom strings (A and E) pitch tuned up one tone.

The Palladians seem to remain true to the standard Italian Baroque violin style of playing and the feel of the original score...Palladians are resolutely conservative but not without attraction in their approach to Tartini's and Veracini's music. At this point in time we are not sure yet about what Tartini's and Veracini's historically correct scores consist of. Tartini's original manuscripts were only deciphered in the 1930s from their cryptic notation, and this still is a problem. However, we know for certain that although both Tartini and Veracini were considered to be incredible virtuosos of the violin (as was Corelli) they wrote music to be "expressed" with instrumental virtuosity rather than just music played for or with technical virtuosity. In that sense, the Palladians are all about expression - musical expression of feelings, whatever those feelings might be. Their telling a story is the fundamental.

Richter plays an Andrea Guarneri from Cremona. Richter's is a real Baroque violin but adapted (I am sure) to modern steel strings and tension. Consequently the sound is different. The Palladians' "passion" is in the ensemble playing - they have on this SACD captured or embraced the soul and spirit of the Baroque with their particular brand of high tension and urgent playing for a beautiful and cogent modern recording. This is a highly recommend disc for its artistry and clear sound.

Audiophile Audition