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GRAMOPHONE (05/2020)
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Reviewer: Mark Seow

There are some much-appreciated aspects to this release from Alpha Classics.

Recorded for the first time is Tartini’s yet-to-be-published Concerto in G major, discovered by the musicologist Margherita Canale. The use of Tartini’s secondmovement ornaments as notated in his manuscripts of the concertos in D minor (D44 and 45) is a nice musicological touch. There is also some fine information in the booklet notes that tells us that three of the concertos (D44, 56 and 96) feature ciphers of Metastasian verse. The Largo andante of the Concerto in A (D96) – my favourite track on the disc – is guided by the motto ‘To brooks, to springs, to rivers, / hasten, bitter tears, / until my sharp grief / is consumed’. Soloist Chouchane Siranossian makes a truly lovely sound tinged in sadness for this flowing narrative.

Yet despite all this, there is little else to praise. It’s all just very nice. Musical decisions are predictable. The orchestral playing could be far more daring, far more conversational: syncopation is feebly attacked and dissonance is treated almost equally to consonance. The wondrous Largo andante described above is followed by a completely lacklustre Presto (that, thinking of it, is nowhere near presto). Tempos, in general, remain on the exceedingly safe side. Were the opening Allegro from the E minor Concerto, for example, just a few clicks faster, it could have been thrilling. The Venice Baroque Orchestra form a sensitive backdrop to Siranossian but this is not nearly enough to make this music grab and sustain your attention. Lovely, but is that enough?


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