Enrico Gatti / Gaetano Nasillo / Guido Morini

Giuseppe Tartini: Suonate

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AllMusic Review by

Italian violinist Enrico Gatti has made various recordings of the late Baroque violin repertory with Ensemble 415 and other groups, and his booklet notes, as encrusted with decorations as the music itself, are always part of the attraction. Here he holds forth, in English, French, and German translations of the original Italian, on Giuseppe Tartini's life and career, heading his reflections with an Emily Dickinson poem (unfortunately somewhat less effective in German) and diverging into such avenues as an attack on daily newspaper journalism as it pertains to Baroque music. His performances themselves are less unorthodox; he uses plenty of non-notated ornamentation, but no more than the various other players who have essayed this repertory, and the legendary figure Tartini clearly seems to be in the recollections of British chronicler Charles Burney and others remains a bit elusive. These are expert and exciting performances, however, with not a trace of audible effort in the hairier passages of ornament. Only about a decade separates the Op. 1 and Op. 2 sets of violin sonatas, selections from which rest comfortably on a pair of CDs. The first set was written after the death of Arcangelo Corelli, whose example, a quarter century down the road, still exerted strong influence in the realm of the solo sonata even after new breezes were blowing in the realm of ensemble music. The focus is on the pure dexterity of the player in these works, which bear the title "Suonate a violino e violoncello o cimbalo" (Sonatas for violin and cello or harpsichord). Gatti, along with others who have performed this repertory, doesn't take this label at face value and uses cello and harpsichord together in the common continuo grouping. This is reasonable enough (among other reasons because the billing could have been aimed at commercial sales to households who had either of the continuo instruments on hand, but not both), and in any event the label merely points up the total dominance of the violin in the texture here. The second set of sonatas, which merely calls for violin and bass, is more melodic and involves more interaction between soloist and continuo, with Vivaldi as a more important model. Tartini is in the midst of a small revival, his ultra-virtuosic style having been neglected for some time in favor of the melodic styles that looked forward more directly to the Classical period. The somewhat brittle church sound is a negative, but this double-CD set can be recommended to anyone who has heard the celebrated Devil's Trill and is curious as to whether there exists other similarly extreme music by this composer.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata 12 in Fa maggiore, Op. 1/12, a violino e violoncello o cembalo [B. F4]
1 5:04
2 5:51
3 8:55
Pastorale in La maggiore, Op. 1/13, a violino discordato, violoncello o cembalo [B. A 16]
4 4:34
5 3:34
6 3:58
Sonata 4 in Sol maggiore, Op. 1/4, a violin e violoncello o cimbalo [B. G17]
7 2:41
8 2:59
9 3:08
Sonata 10 in sol minore "Didone abbandonata", Op. 1/10, a violino e violoncello o cembalo [B.g 10]
10 9:19
11 3:01
12 3:12
Sonata Terza in Do maggiore, Op. 1/3, a violino e violoncello o cimbalo [B. C11]
13 2:03
14 3:35
15 3:33
blue highlight denotes track pick