Musical anniversary celebrations have inevitably been curtailed in 2020, and overshadowed by Beethoven, but Giuseppe Tartini was renowned throughout Europe as the pre-eminent genius of the violin – not only as a performer but as a composer of works which demonstrated his extraordinary gifts, and as a teacher who welcomed students from across Europe to his home in the north-Italian city of Padova, where they learnt every sophistication in the art of violin playing; not only virtuoso trickery but the sustaining of a true legato like a great singer.
Tartini’s concertos have laid down the gauntlet to great violinists down the ages, even if many of them have been forgotten and only recently revived. Now Giulio Plotino joins their number, selecting three of the best-known concertos to complement what is still Tartini’s best-known work, the ‘Devil’s Trill’ Sonata whose title and fearsomely intricate figuration was apparently inspired – almost diabolically dictated – by a dream of the composer’s.
The concertos chosen for this recording, from among the 125 or so in the Dounias catalogue, conform to the traditional quick-slow-quick construction. In contrast to the Vivaldian template, however, Tartini integrates the material of the opening tutti within the solo passages, and shuns passagework of sequences even in the outer movements, but most particularly in the solemn and tender slow movements, where Tartini the technician gives way to Tartini the singer and the maestro di capella, composing for himself and his ensemble to accompany the liturgy.
A native of the city of Genova, Giulio Plotino studied at the city’s conservatoire and was an award-winner of its Paganini violin competition before embarking on a career as an orchestral concert-master, in which capacity he has led the LPO, La Scala, La Fenice and Barcelona Symphony orchestras, among others. He has also worked extensively with the Baroque-era specialist Andrea Marcon; this present album marks his debut on Brilliant Classics, leading the period-instrument ensemble which he founded to celebrate the full expressive range of the Italian Baroque repertoire.
‘Most of us would think long before attempting the solo Nel cor più non mi sento even on a modern set-up, so hats off to Giulio Plotino, who negotiates even the most fiendish intricacies on Paganini's own ‘del Gesù’ violin with rare aplomb.’ The Strad
· Giuseppe Tartini (Pirano d'Istria 1692 - Padua 1770) was a virtuoso violinist, composer, theoretician and teacher, a spider in the international cultural web in a time when Italy was the centre of the musical world, his violin school, the “School of Nations”, attracted musicians from all over Europe.
· Tartini wrote 125 concertos for his own instrument, the violin, attractive and melodious works full of bold harmonies and featuring brilliant solo parts that freely converse with individual voices within the orchestra.
· Tartini's most famous work is the “Devil’s Trill Sonata" a solo violin sonata that requires a number of technically demanding double stop trills and is difficult even by modern standards. According to a legend embroidered upon by Madame Blavatsky, Tartini was inspired to write the sonata by a dream in which the Devil appeared at the foot of his bed playing the violin.
· Italian violinist Giulio Plotino, winner of several international competitions, was concertmaster of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scala di Milano Orchestra and several others. He is equally at home with period instruments ensembles as with modern orchestras. He plays a 1751 Gagliano violin.
The Strad wrote about him: “hats off to Giulio Plotino who negotiates even the most fiendish intricacies on Paganini's del Gesù with rare aplomb”.