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Tartini: Sonatas For Solo Violin / Luigi De Filippi

Tartini / De Filippi
Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72561   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TARTINI Solo Violin Sonatas: No. 17 in D; No. 4 in C; No. 10 in B?; No. 15 in G; No. 14 in G; in a Luigi De Filippi (vn) CHALLENGE 72561 (71:12)

Giuseppe Tartini, an ardent admirer of Arcangelo Corelli but a disdainful detractor of Antonio Vivaldi, looked Janus-faced toward the future, letting go of the figured bass, as well as toward the past, in his adherence to the violinistic legacy he treasured in the works of Corelli and his disciples, and set his sights more resolutely on things to come. Among Read more Tartini’s hundreds of sonatas and concertos, the 26 Piccole Sonate stand out as works for solo violin (those actually supplied with very simple figured basses probably could have been performed without them).

Luigi De Filippi presents five numbered sonatas from this collection, as well as a sonata in A Minor, all of which he recorded in the highly reverberant acoustic ambiance of the Church of Saint Teresa in Caprarola, Italy, in June 2010. The program opens with the Sonata No. 17 in D Major, a four-movement work (slow, fast, slow, fast) that makes two extra-musical references: In the first movement, subtitled Di se senti , and in the third movement, an Aria del Tasso . Listeners unfamiliar with these works may be grateful for the very long decay time in the church: Without the basso continuo, the first, slow, movement includes many moments of unsupported monody (these works resemble Telemann’s solo sonatas more than they do Bach’s). Filippi plays the slashing double-stops of the fast movement that follows with the sharpness of a well-stropped razor and brings an introverted, almost melancholy, reflectiveness to the brief Aria. His reading of the Furlana that brings the sonata to a close displays once again incisive technical command, with his bow snapping crisply in the figuration. Filippi mentions in his notes (which he not only wrote in Italian but translated gracefully into English) that Tartini appreciated the rustic as well as the sophisticated musical manners of his era, and both emerge in Filippi’s performances. The Sonata No. 4 in C Major consists, like No. 15 in G Major, of only three movements, in these cases, slow, fast, fast (as in so many of his sonatas for violin and bass). The essentially melodic first gives way to a technically challenging Allegro assai (dispatched with panache by Filippi), replete with double-stops, and a similarly bracing Presto . The Sonata No. 10 in B?-Major again falls into four movements, this time opening with a Largo in which Filippi deftly plays his own accompaniment—no figured bass required here to give a sense of completeness. In the Allegro , Filippi acquits himself brilliantly in the combinations of double-stops and trills (remember the “Devil’s Trill”) that sound awkwardly placed (an inspection of the scores of these sonatas reveals that they’re even more difficult than they sound—Tartini certainly didn’t prefigure Fritz Kreisler or Henri Wieniawski—as Vivaldi did—in writing ostensibly pyrotechnical passages that nevertheless lie extremely well under the fingers). Tartini studded both the Affetuoso and Menuet that follow with double-stops that Filippi renders with a gem-like precision. The 15th Sonata begins with a Grave to which Filippi manages to lend a plaintive quality despite its very brief duration; the work ends with an Allegro that begins with an arpeggiated figure very much like the one in Francesco Maria Veracini’s Sonata in A Major, op. 1/7. Since Tartini admired Veracini’s artistry, might he have been familiar with that work and consciously based this finale on it? The four-movement 14th Sonata, in G Major, again opens with an elegant, moderately paced movement in which the violin accompanies itself. The Allegro assai that follows again combines double-stops and trills in a manner that’s at once clever and effective. The self-accompanied Andante cantabile contains combinations of notes seemingly placed in very extreme positions vis à vis each other. Might the Sonata in A Minor, unnumbered in this series, be the “very last sonata” to which Filippi alludes in his notes? It’s a six-movement affair with an almost 10-minute Tema con variazioni constituting its fifth. In other respects, it’s similar to the others, with a liberal use of trills in the fast movements and thematic material that leaps from string to string.

Violinists should be overjoyed to have recordings of these sonatas available (other selections, by Giovanni Guglielmo (No. 1 through No. 12) on Newton 880241; by Emile Tassev (No. 7, No. 16, No. 20, No. 22, No. 23, and No. 25) on Forlane 16825, which I reviewed in Fanfare 26:1, have included different works from the set, with only one overlap—Sonata No. 4—in Guglielmo and De Filippi—surprisingly, Guglielmo’s set doesn’t seem outstanding; and by Andrea Cappelleti (No. 13, No. 16, No. 21, No. 22, and No. 24 through No. 26) on Koch Schwann 3-112—in Fanfare 17:4, I noted Cappelletti’s moments of instability. And violinists should all be seeking out the Sonata in A Minor, for its variations movement, which seems less academic and more musical—though even more complex technically, than Tartini’s famous variations on a theme of Corelli. Urgently recommended.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Sonate piccole (26) for Violin solo: no 4 in C major by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi (Violin)
Sonate piccole (26) for Violin solo: no 15 in G major by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Sonate piccole (26) for Violin solo: no 14 in G major by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Sonate piccole (26) for Violin solo: no 10 in B flat major by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Sonate piccole (26) for Violin solo: no 17 in D major by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Sonata for Violin in A minor, B a3 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Luigi de Filippi (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1760; Italy 

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