Tartini: 4-Parts Sonatas and Sinfonias (CD)

Brilliant Classics
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Maurizio Schiavo, Ensemble Il Demetrio

Dynamic and colourful performances of stylish but little-known Baroque repertoire from an exciting Italian period instrument ensemble.

‘This is an important release,’ remarked MusicWeb International of the sacred music by Tarquinio Merula (BC95270) which is one of several Brilliant Classics releases by the Ensemble Il Demetrio to receive international attention and critical praise. The Italian website CDClassico.com echoed this verdict: ‘This is not the usual Christmas compilation (though it would fulfil that function very well). Instead it is an important record, dedicated to a monumental figure of 17th century music… The wide range of expressive possibilities in these works is fully explored, developed well beyond a simple reading… Hats off to Maurizio Schiavo and the excellent vocal soloists who joined him in this fine production.’

On their latest album, Schiavo and his ensemble dedicate their energies to the 18th-century virtuoso and composer Giuseppe Tartini, born on the coast of what is now Slovenia, who became a reference point for violin-playing in Venice, in Padua and then across Europe. The four-part sonatas and sinfonias for strings gathered here may not have been ‘chamber music’ in the pure sense of the term as we understand it today, but these highly attractive works certainly played a seminal role in the development of the genre before it was crystallised by Haydn and Boccherini in the form of the string quartet.

Some of the sonatas are recorded with basso continuo in the Baroque style, some without; all of them have a lively, galant style, abounding in the kind of elaborate violin figurations that made Tartini famous with his ‘Devil’s Trill’ Sonata. There are close-knit dialogues and intricate imitations as well as gravely beautiful slow movements; anyone who wishes to join the dots between Bach and Haydn will delight in the scholarly and stylish work of Il Demetrio.

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4-parts Sonatas & Sinfonias
Sonata in C (Quartet - transcription of Sonata B.B4 for violin and bass in B major)
1. I. Vivace
2. II. Andante ma lento assai
3. III. Allegretto

Sonata in G (Sinfonia)
4. I. Presto
5. II. Andante
6. III. Allegro assai

Sonata in D (Sonata a quattro)
7. I. Allegro assai
8. II. Larghetto
9. III. Allegro

Sonata in A (Sinfonia)
10. I. Allegro assai
11. II. Andante assai
12. III. Minuetto

Sonata in D (Sonata a quattro - autograph score)
13. I. Allegro assai
14. II. Andante
15. III. Presto