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Veracini: Sonate Accademiche / Trio Settecento

Veracini / Trio Settecento
Release Date: 05/12/2015 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 155   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francesco Maria Veracini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Settecento
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In her personal comments included in this disc’s liner notes, violinist Rachel Barton Pine laments the fact that, although they used to be concert staples of great virtuosos of the past, “Veracini’s wonderful sonatas are no longer performed by today’s modern concert violinists.” This is certainly sad and undeniably true, but in defense of this music’s worthiness she also makes a claim that at first, and especially to the uninitiated, seems extremely bold: that these sonatas “exemplify the greatest achievements of virtuosity and imagination in the High Baroque.”

Before you question that assertion, you should realize that Pine has lived with, studied, analyzed, and performed these works
Read more for years; she knows very well the Baroque repertoire; and she is herself one of today’s important virtuoso concert violinists. The real proof, of course, comes with listening, and it doesn’t take long to appreciate that Pine is not exaggerating at all: there’s enough imagination and virtuosity on these three well-filled discs to keep avid fans of the violin pleasantly occupied for many hours, many hearings and re-hearings.

The Sonata No. 1 begins innocently enough, with a series of slow ascending and descending arpeggios with alternating violin and cello; but then the music becomes slightly more elaborate, a little ornamentation here, a hurdy-gurdy drone effect there, a touch of bowed vibrato and double-stop tremolo, followed by a sudden flamboyant solo violin passage that seems to set the course for the rest of the movement. But just as suddenly, the music slows and nearly stops; the continuo returns, followed by another rapid solo-violin passage. So, it’s very quickly clear we’re in for something different–an impression that’s more than confirmed with the second movement (Capriccio), a fugal dialogue between cello and violin with the latter swirling and whirling with all sorts of virtuoso flourishes, marked by numerous register and dynamic shifts that sometimes make you think there must be more than one violinist at work.

And so it goes, for one after another of these sonatas, all of them different–some quite different from anything we might hear from Veracini’s contemporaries. For one thing, these 12 sonatas, published in 1744, are incredibly substantial pieces, ranging from 12-plus minutes to more than 20, and the variety and range of invention, from themes to fugal sections to variations, from the careful attention to both effect and affect in employment of technique, including improvisational-sounding passages, sonic indulgences, and the occasional sheer revelry in “traditional tunes” marks these as very special, unique creations that require special, caring attention, and, yes a virtuoso technique and spirit to pull off. Pine and her colleagues’ ability to do this (and Veracini’s clever invention) is no better exemplified than in Sonata No. 9, a piece surprisingly rooted in traditional Scottish fiddle music, the bowing and ornamentation and dancing character sounding as authentic as could be due to some coaching from “master Scottish fiddler John Turner and the faculty of the Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling”.

You might think that three very full discs of violin sonatas by one composer is a bit too much–and perhaps it is for one sitting; but unlike the work of some other composers of the period, Veracini’s sonatas don’t stick to a formula, nor do they always do what you think they are going to do. So you’re always in for a surprise, not to mention, as realized by Pine, an often dazzling display of violin wizardry. Of course Pine benefits from the long collegial relationship with her trio partners and from the excellent sonics from Cedille’s recording team. Incidentally, Pine plays an unaltered 1770 Nicola Gagliano violin, John Mark Rozendaal plays a David Tecchler cello from 1705, and David Schrader’s single-manual harpsichord (an ideal ensemble partner with the two strings) is tuned in unequal temperament–all of which will appeal to period enthusiasts, but more importantly, lends an indefinable richness and extraordinary vibrant quality to the sound. Highly recommended.

-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Sonatas (12) for violin & continuo, Op. 2 ("Sonate Accademiche") by Francesco Maria Veracini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Settecento
Period: Baroque 
Length: 174 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Final Canon on the plainchant theme "Ut relevet miserum fatum" (Ut re mi fa sol la) (from Sonata Acc by Francesco Maria Veracini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Settecento
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Nicholas Cocnert Hall, Music Institute o 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Adventuresome Baroque July 9, 2015 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Francesco Maria Veracini, along with his contemporaries Giuseppe Tartini and Pietro Locatelli, continually pushed to expand the technical abilities of the violin. The 1743 Sonate Accademiche (sonatas for Violin and Continuo, Op. 2) require quite a lot from the violinist. The Trio Settecento understands that, and delivers performances full of fire and energy. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine plays the blistering solo passages with a bit of attitude, which makes these works sparkle. Cellist John Mark Rozendaal and harpsichordist David Schroder are equal partners with Barton. As an ensemble, the Trio Settecento performs in a lively give-and-take that at times seems more like a jam session than a classical performance. Which is pretty much how these works would have been performed, originally, I think. Of the twelve sonatas in this release, for me the real standout was Sonata No. 10, which features a traditional Scottish tune. Veracini spent a considerable amount of time in London, which is probably where he became acquainted with the tune (it also appears in John Gay's Beggar's Opera). Highly recommended." Report Abuse
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