I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Biondi plays Tartini

Back from his Opus 111 days, Fabio Biondi recorded five sonatas by G. Tartini. I just recently acquired the recording, featuring three sonatas from his opus 1, one from his opus 2, plus a sonata in B-flat known as "Stagion Bella."

The most well-known one to me is the opus 1., no. 10 sonata (Didona abbondonata). It is especially well-played, and sounds "comfortable" in Biondi's hands. His tone and style is immediately recognizable, although the violin sound is sometimes dominated using my headphones by the basso continuo.

In some other movements, Biondi almost gets schmaltzy, which if I extrapolate, is a result of his slow vibration of the strings with his left hand. His instrument definitely conveys a sweetness to its tone, but it also sounds somewhat muted somehow. I'd wager to say it's like he's got really good strings on a less than ideal instrument.

That's perhaps too harsh a criticism for what we get on record -- technically he does a great job tackling Tartini's jar of tricks. It could also be due the proximity or location of the microphone to the instrument.

In the end I was not overly excited by this album. Tartini occasionally reached into higher registers which makes his writing interesting; but many of his themes, while musical, are simply a little too "oh well" - they fail to really grab our attention. The bones around the harmony, however, is sound enough (pun intended). Which means if the melody is a little dull, we might have to depend upon the performer to rescue the enterprise. In this case, I wished this was a video for us to see Biondi playing.

Without the added benefit of "seeing" the affect in the performer's face, some sonatas are just a little bland to stand alone. I have felt the same way about his other works; he was no one-hit wonder, but his compositional art was not universally consistent.

Classic Biondi

Classic Biondi

Leclair Violin Concertos

Rosenmüller: Sonate a 2-5 Stromenti da arco et altri