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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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