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Violin Concerto in B minor, D125

composer

 
In common with many musicians of the period, Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) was educated by priests with a view to his own eventual ordination. However, in 1709 he enrolled as a student of law, and any lingering aspirations to the priesthood were finally abandoned when he scandalously married the niece of the local bishop of Padova. This caused such outrage that Tartini was obliged to flee to Assisi, without his new spouse with whom he was not re-united for five years.

Tartini seems to have used his time well in Assisi, honing his legendary technical skills on the violin to such effect that a reconciliation with the Bishop was eventually achieved, and before the age of thirty he had returned to Padova as director of that city’s orchestra at the Basilica of St Anthony. Such was his growing reputation, indeed, that he negotiated for himself a generous contract which allowed him to accept numerous engagements: in 1723, for example, he was in Prague playing at the coronation of the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI as Viceroy of Bohemia. Tartini’s career as a touring virtuoso was brought to an abrupt end in 1740 by a mysterious injury to his bowing arm, but he retained his post as orchestral director in Padova for the next 30 years and all the leading violinists of the next generation continued to beat a path to his door.

Tartini’s playing was famed for its combination of technical and poetic qualities. The latter are particularly a feature of his slow movements for which the melodies have a uniquely vocal quality. Indeed in some of them, including in this B minor concerto, the tune is a setting of an actual text, with the words written beneath the notes. Here the text, ‘Lascia ch’io dica addio’ (‘Let me say farewell’), could be said to apply to the first movement too, a rather melancholy, but nevertheless dramatic Allegro assai. The final movement, though, is an incisively rhythmical Allegro in which graceful tutti passages alternate with brilliant soli.

from notes by Felix Warnock © 2018

Recordings

Concerti by Telemann, Tartini & others
Studio Master: SIGCD549Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Allegro assai
Movement 2: Larghetto: Lascia ch'io dica addio
Movement 3: Allegro

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