WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Tartini: 3 Violin Concertos / Salvatore Accardo, I Musici

Tartini / Accardo / I Musici
Release Date: 06/29/2010 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186137   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Salvatore Accardo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  
SuperAudio CD:  $19.99
Low Stock

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Accardo’s playing is faultless, and he is ably accompanied by the legendary I Musici.


TARTINI Violin Concertos: in A, D 96; in B?, D 117; in G, D 78 Salvatore Accardo (vn); I Musici Read more class="BULLET12b">• PENTATONE 5186 137, analog (SACD: 60:25)

Salvatore Accardo’s program, originally produced by Vittorio Negri, of three violin concertos by Giuseppe Tartini apparently hails from September 1973, but it’s been remastered for SACD, in which format it sounds preternaturally clean and clear, with Accardo’s violin cutting as through butter through the accompanying string sonorities (the recorded sound seems to reproduce even the ambient sonorities of the room itself).

Tartini’s Concerto in A Major, D 96, may be one of the most frequently recorded of his concerted works. But the knife-edge keenness of the recorded sound strops an unexpectedly sharp edge on Accardo’s customarily rather sumptuous tone, giving impetus to the passagework in the first movement, chiseling the bass line in the slow movement, and creating laser-like definition in, for example, the trills in the accompanying violins. The combined effect of the sparkling performance—older though it may be—and a restored recorded sound that creates one frisson after another reveals in Tartini’s orchestration an imagination, a variety, and a transparency that we have during the last two decades come to identify as one of the most prepossessing facets of Vivaldi’s genius. The performance includes, at the end of the concerto, an alternative slow movement.

The Concerto in B?-Major, D 117, perhaps the least familiar work on the program, opens with a long movement (8:42) that features an imposing slow introduction that could make a strong impression on its own, but the engineers have imparted an infectious buoyancy to the attached Allegro and a lucidity to its counterpoint (as well as to its passagework—the cadenza at the end of the movement sounds simply stupendous) that will be nearly irresistible. Tartini attacked Vivaldi as a composer focused too strongly on his instrumental prowess, one who treated a singer as he would a violin. Tartini’s own slow movements often consist of aria-like outpourings, and this one, as played by Accardo, seems almost Mozartean in the purity of its melodic line. The finale, though marked Allegro , sounds more suave than sprightly, as does the finale of Vivaldi’s “Spring.”

The Concerto in G Major, D 78, which, like the Concerto, D 96, has been recorded on both period and modern instruments, continues in its first movement the kind of interplay between soloist and orchestra featured in the finale of the concerto that precedes it on the program: orchestral tuttis in a rather sedate tempo that set up sparkling passagework in the solo interludes. The ensemble sounds smoothly elegant in the former, and Accardo hard and flinty in the latter. The slow movement, at 7:44, longer than the two outer ones, again presents the soloist in an aria-like melody over a very light, transparent accompaniment, without a heavy continuo; once again, Accardo sings this melody with appropriate sweetness and delicacy of sentiment, although he employs embellishments, written out or not, only discreetly and mostly at the movement’s end (Tartini wrote a treatise on ornamentation that offers a luxuriant profusion of alternatives for gracing such a melody). The finale and performance effectively contrast, again, soloistic gymnastics and—this time—pert and perky ensemble interjections.

Collectors of Tartini’s works, in particular, as performed on either period or modern instruments, should be overjoyed to have these stirring recordings by I Musici and Salvatore Accardo available once more, and especially now in high-resolution recorded sound. Urgently recommended to all sorts of listeners.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham


There is no doubt that the age of this recording is very evident, despite its digital transfer to SACD format. But the beauty of the music and the buoyancy of the performances give it an irresistible charm that compensates for some of its drawbacks.

It is good to see a new release of music by the Italian composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and music theorist whose reputation now rests on the notoriety of his ‘Devil’s Trill’ sonata in G minor. In his day, Tartini was celebrated across Italy and beyond as a writer and performer of great versatility. His career stretched between the Baroque of Vivaldi and the early Classical tradition. Accordingly, his music is virtuosic without being flashy, and defined by clean, even spare, melodic lines.

All of these qualities are present in the three concertos on this disc, which date from somewhere between 1735 and 1750. The opening A major concerto is a four-movement affair – explained by the fact that Tartini wrote two slow movements (an adagio and a largo andante) without indicating a preference for either. The largo (track 4) is the more beautiful of the two. Its simple, sweet melody is played with great warmth by soloist Salvatore Accardo. The B flat concerto is a more complex affair, with fugal sections and leaping motifs recalling Bach as much as Tartini’s early Italian contemporaries. The final concerto in G major is perhaps the least memorable, although it concludes with a lively and rhythmic presto (track 10).

Accardo’s playing is faultless, and he is ably accompanied by the legendary I Musici – who, in a pioneering example of ‘authenticity’, dispense with a conductor. The downside of this disc is the 1973 recorded sound. Despite re-mastering, it still sounds hollow, with the dulled strings set back too far from the microphones. But Accardo’s playing is clear and sharp. The sleeve-notes are rather dodgily translated, but give as much information as the listener needs to appreciate the music.

-- John-Pierre Joyce, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in A major, D 96 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Salvatore Accardo (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
Concerto for Violin in B flat major, D 117 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Salvatore Accardo (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
Concerto for Violin in A major, D 78 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Salvatore Accardo (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
Period: Baroque 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A tonic September 7, 2013 By Anthony G. (SANTA FE, NM) See All My Reviews "This cd is a tonic for the ears and the soul. It never fails to be uplifting and energizing. You will find yourself coming back to this set over and over again. Accardo's playing is perfect in every way, and, what is more, makes it impossible for the listner's mind to wander or lose focus. I come to this music when I need refreshment, delight, and pure joy." Report Abuse
Review This Title