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Penguin Guide, January 2009

The five Violin Concertos here are in Tartini’s characteristic three-movement form (fast-slow-fast); all but D.28 (which includes a pair of horns) have string accompaniments. Their appeal lies in their fresh simplicity, which the excellent soloist Ariadne Daskalakis and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra directed spirited by Helut Müller-Brühl capture to perfection, as they do the expressive appeal of the slow movements, notably that of the G major D.80, and the D major, D 28; but the B minor is greatful too, and its Larghetto is given a title, Lascia ch’iodica addio (‘Let me say goodbye’). The recording is first class and, for those who like modern-instrument performances, as do we, the disc is worth seeking out.

Daniel Edwards
Stringendo, September 2008

The Cologne Chamber Orchestra continues its spree of acclaimed Naxos recordings with this selection of five from Tartini’s 135 violin concertos. …The fast outer movements require a wealth of acrobatic ornamentation. Daskalakis audibly thrives on this virtuosity and throughout the slow movements, which in her booklet notes she calls “…the finest gems in these works…”, her sparkling tone is mesmerizing. Indeed, the lyricism in the Grave from the E major concerto is so alluring that it’s a wonder it hasn’t been recorded before. Couple these factors with clear recorded balance between orchestra and soloist and vivacious cadenzas by Daskalakis and collaborator Simon Gottschick, and this is a worthy addition to any collection.

Robert Maxham
Fanfare, March 2008

Daskalakis’s vivacious performances of these concertos might make a genial introduction to the composer… Recommended. © 2008 Fanfare Read complete review

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, May 2007

A disc sporting two previously unrecorded Tartini concertos is worth listening to. There are five concertos here in all so the discographic novelty factor is running at forty percent and fortunately the performances are fresh and enjoyable – so we can be assured of a fine introduction to them.

I last heard the German-based Ariadne Daskalakis in a Tudor disc devoted to the sonatas of Joachim Raff. She played very well but, mistakenly or not, I craved rather more expression than she chose to give. Here in Tartini she strikes a judicious balance between the dictates of structure – include the extensive cadential passages – and the expressive demands of the concertos, not least in slow movements.

The E major is one of the two previously unrecorded works. The first movement syncopation is pleasurable and the finale’s buoyant liveliness is typical – and typically engaging. But it’s the slow movement that captures the ear. With a Grave this eloquent it’s remarkable that no one has sought to record it before. It’s cast as an aria and the beauty of its lyricism is both pervasive and lasting. It would be interesting to know how much of the solo line has been decorated and whether this was entirely the responsibility of the soloist.

The A major is a richly vibrant and compact work – in three movements as are all the concerti. The advanced cadential writing discloses Daskalakis’s assured technique. In the case of the E major we confront some very spare orchestral accompaniment over which the violin has rights of roaming – the acrobatic lines are accomplished and the slow movement is a verdantly expressive one. Once more the orchestration is distribution with precision and tactful restraint. The finale is rather conventional.

The B minor D.125 has even more of a skeletal orchestral basis. It’s very more a platform for the virtuosic flights of the soloist – handy for the travelling virtuoso encountering hard-pressed bands en route. The D major D.28, the other first ever recording, has altogether more fizz. There are horns here, though whether they’re quite authentic is another matter, and one not resolved in the violinist’s own booklet notes. The horns certainly add to the hunt motifs – and the violin responds with little fanfare mottos of its own. The slow movement is strikingly affectionate and elegantly decorated.

There are plenty of good things here – premiere recordings and fine, stylistically aware playing from the modern instrument orchestra, tactfully directed by Müller-Brühl. And Ariadne Daskalakis plays with grace and lyrical purity sufficient to warrant considerable enthusiasm.

Giv Cornfield, Ph.D
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, April 2007

Like his contemporary Telemann, Tartini's music bridges the baroque and early classical eras. But Tartini was first and foremost a violinist, and wrote over 100 concertos for his instrument. This disc samples five such works, characterized by robust, often dance-like outer movements, and slow middle ones of operatic beauty and emotion. Ms. Daskalakis plays securely with good tone, and is in good company with the Cologne group.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2007

Born in Italy in 1692, Giuseppe Tartini became the leading Italian violinist of his generation, holding major orchestral appointments in Padua and Prague. As a composer he was prolific, writing over 400 works, mostly in the field of string music, many with virtuoso parts for the violin and probably intended for his own use. In style it was to bridge the period between the most ornate Baroque and the following Classical era. Later in life he was to provide works for the church, reflecting his first thoughts of a monastic life. By then he had completed 135 violin concertos, the orchestral scoring concentrating on the upper instruments to add transparency and lightness to the sound. Of the five works on this disc, Naxos claim that two are receiving their first recording, which is a most welcome fact as the E major is an absolute gem. Its thematic invention is highly attractive, Ariadne Daskalakis flying around elaborate decorations with deceptive ease. Maybe best heard a couple of concertos at a time, Tartini having worked to a very simple and repetitive formula of two fast and brilliant moments surrounding a slow central movement. I could hardly expect more persuasive performances, Daskalakis playing a gut-strung violin from Tartini's time, her bright tone matched by immaculate intonation even in the most exacting passages. Tartini left few written cadenzas as he would have improvised, Daskalakis adding her own and very appropriate versions. The orchestral part is functional rather than exacting, the Cologne musicians well attuned to the Baroque style. Just a fraction too forward of the orchestra, we have a very close scrutiny of Daskalakis, the disc best played at a relatively low volume control.

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