Davide Monti: Baroque violin
Josephine Vains: Baroque cello
Jacqueline Ogeil: Cristofori piano
$23 (Australian dollars)
|Jacqueline Ogeil from Accademia Arcadia said, “we named the CD in honour of Tartini’s Sonata in G minor, nicknamed the “Devil’s Trill” for its fiendishly difficult violin part and devilish reputation, superbly performed by our own Italian Devil, David Monti.” She added; “It is said that Tartini himself dreamed that the devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant. Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill – the devil immediately began to play with such virtuosity that Tartini felt his breath taken away. Upon awakening Tartini immediately grasped his violin in to retain in part, at least, the impression of the musical dream. |
This work is paired with three superb violin sonatas by Antonio Vivaldi, Domenico Scarlatti & Arcangelo Corelli, works which perfectly encapsulate the spirit and elan of the 18th century Italy. Accademia Arcadia’s interpretation of Corelli’s La Folia will delight as will Davide’s inspired improvisation on a theme by Woodend Winter Arts Festival’s musical patron, Peter McGrath.
An award-winning ensemble and the brainchild of esteemed harpsichordist Dr Jacqueline Ogeil, Accademia Arcadia is deeply honoured to be presenting this repertoire featuring improvising violinist Davide Monti, a regular performer in the world’s top baroque ensembles.
Jacqueline performs on a rare Cristofori Piano (made for her in 2015 in Germany.)
“I am thrilled that our Il Diavolo CD will be the premiere recording of this wondrous instrument.” Jacqueline said.
|Arcangelo Corelli||Sonata in D major, op. 5, no. 1|
|Domenico Scarlatti||Sonata in D minor (K90)|
|Antonio Vivaldi||Sonata in D major (RV 10)|
|Giuseppe Tartini||Sonata in G minor, “Il Trillo del Diavolo” |
|Arcangelo Corelli||Sonata in D minor, op. 5, no. 12, “La Folia” |
|Peter McGrath: ||Free Spirit|
|This disc is a refreshing take on several well-known violin sonatas, and some lesser known works, featuring Italian baroque violinist Davide Monti together with Australian musicians Jacqueline Ogeil, playing a replica of a Cristofori piano, and Josephine Vains on baroque cello.|
The opening sonatas of this disc in particular provide an excellent showcase for Monti’s skill in ornamentation, drawing on the style of the many historical examples available. In music of this era the performer was often the composer, and the written music was often just musical shorthand for what was actually performed. Monti, a specialist in improvisation, adds extensive embellishments on the melody, particularly in the slow movements of these sonatas. At some points he also improvises passages as a means of linking movements.
Although not the first violinist to record his own ornamented version of Corelli’s Sonata in D major, Monti takes the ornamentation further, and has a more bravura approach than other recordings by e.g. Van Dael (Naxos) or Manze (Harmonia Mundi), who adopt a more understated approach. Monti’s opening contains almost breathtaking flights of fancy, while skilfully keeping within a metrical and harmonic framework so the music retains its logical shape and phrasing. A feel of spontaneity is maintained throughout the performance, which in my opinion excuses the very occasional rough edges in this recording.
Scarlatti’s Sonata in D minor is an expressive work, providing a lyrical contrast to the more virtuosic works on the disc. Although listed among the composer’s many keyboard sonatas, its performance as a violin sonata is argued on the basis of its four movement structure and violinistic idiom.
Vivaldi’s Sonata in D returns to a virtuosic style, in a work that shows the strong influence of Corelli.
Monti’s performance of the title track of the disc, Tartini’s Sonata in G minor, nicknamed the “Devil’s Trill”, is not only technically brilliant, but also musically sensitive, with the ensemble maintaining a wonderful feeling of suspense through the continuous trills. The ensemble provides an imaginative interpretation of Corelli’s well-known variations on La Folia. The final work on the disc, Free Spirit, consists of further improvisations by Monti on a theme by McGrath.
A feature of this CD is the use of a Cristofori piano as the continuo keyboard instrument, rather than the usual harpsichord or organ. As explained in the CD liner notes, research shows that the prototype of this instrument already existed in the 1690s, although this has not been widely recognized due to the imprecise terminology used to describe keyboard instruments at the time. In contrast to recordings of these works using harpsichord or organ as the main continuo instrument, the use of the Cristofori piano gives greater depth of sound, although at times there is less clarity. The robust continuo combination of Jacquline Ogeil on Cristofori piano and Josephine Vains on baroque cello balances well with Monti’s energetic style. Interestingly the continuo realisation used in this recording of Corelli’s Sonata in D major is based on a version by Tonelli found in an 18th century manuscript.
Overall this CD is an exciting example of scholarly research combined with musical intuition by virtuoso performers to create a unique and convincing interpretation of this repertoire.
Loudmouth July 2017
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