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Sonata for violin and continuo in E minor, Be6

Op 1 No 5

The beginning of the eighteenth century saw the arrival of a new generation of virtuoso violinist-composers who made good use of the fertile ground prepared by composers such as Arcangelo Corelli at the turn of the century. One of the most legendary of these figures (perhaps of all time) was Giuseppe Tartini who spent much of his career in Padua, where he was employed as leader and solo violinist of the orchestra of the Basilica del Santo from 1721 until his retirement in 1765 at the age of 73; he was also in charge of all the instrumental music for the services during which the faithful would admire and contemplate St Anthony’s tongue, the most famous relic of the Basilica. His colleagues in the orchestra included the cellist Antonio Vandini and the composer and theorist Padre Francesco Antonio Vallotti. Not only was Tartini a brilliant violinist and composer, but he was also a famous pedagogue, teaching some of Europe’s finest violinists in what was to become known as 'La Scuola delle Nazioni' ('The School of Nations'). It is unsurprising therefore that his violin concertos and sonatas are incredibly difficult, featuring double, triple and quadruple stopping, high passagework and feasts of trills. The sonata in E minor from his Opus 1 sonatas (Tartini also published another collection of works under the title of Opus 1, a collection of 12 concertos for violin, strings and continuo) shows off the violin’s unlikely talent for polyphony in its Corellian second movement whilst the finale is a fiendish study in trills.

from notes by Adrian Chandler © 2021


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