TARTINI-Concert 1!

Posted on May 15th, 2010 by

Photo: Richard Bram 2009

Tartini at St Bartholomew – the – Great, Smithfield.
Concert 1.
Wednesday May 19th at 730 pm

The Cloister Café will be open for drinks and refreshments from 630pm and in the interval.

 Peter Sheppard Skærved-Violins (by Antonio Stradivari 1698, and Lorraine Bitaud 2010)

LISTEN: Tartini  

 Giuseppe Tartini-‘Piccole Sonate’ 1-5

Works by Biber, Aitchison, Judith Bingham

 The first study must be the placing of the bow on the string with controlled lightness, as the first principle of the voice, as if it is done, just like a breath, and without any percussion on the string. It consists of the lightness of placing, and in drawing the bow immediately after the placing, reinforced as you wish, because after the light placement it is not likely to be more danger of pressing and crudity. Letter/From the deceased/Signor Giuseppe Tartini/To Miss Maddalena Lombardini/Serving/ As an important lesson for suonatori/Of the Violin (1765)

  In 1789, the indefatigable connoisseur , traveller, musician and raconteur, Charles Burney published his translation of Giuseppe Tartini’s tantalisingly brief ‘lesson’, written 15 years earlier to the then ‘Miss Maddalena Lombardini’ . In the intervening period, things had moved on, and not surprising Miss Maddalena Lombardini was now a Mrs, which Burney was careful to note on his parallel translation.

 The parallel translation also removed another aspect of Tartini’s life which was of huge importance to him, his Catholicism. It is not entirely clear why Burney chose to do this, but he expunged the two mentions of Dio in the text, and also references to the Mass. This would not be of importance, was it not for the centrality of the Basilica of S. Antonio in Padua to Tartini’s regular office of music making, and his own modesty. He constantly went to extraordinary lengths to stress the modesty of his endeavours as a musician. In 1767, two years after sending Maddalena, his ‘lesson’, he wrote:

 The present author, however, is not ashamed to show himself as he is, rough and uncultured; indeed, it works to his advantage, as he is both pleased and anxious that the naked truth be seen. On the other hand, he is sorry if he appears arrogant when, in order to contradict them, he names and refers to those of whom he I unworthy of being either a disciple or a servant. On the principles of Musical Harmony contained in the Diatonic Genus, (1767)

 It seems to me that something of Tartini’s humility can be glimpsed in the ‘Padua Manuscript’, the cycle of Sonatas which seems to have occupied his last two decades, and which is the focus of this series. For,  inasmuch as he was endeavouring to stretch his and our understanding of harmony and acoustics in his writings, in his music making, his devotion to the violin, he sought out, in these works a language that was truly humble before his god, and one which was the very opposite of attention seeking.

 Such humility and such music is fragile. Its arrival was almost unnoticed, and its survival has been tenuous. Burney himself noted that:: “…. shall we expect music to be permament above all things, which so much depends on imagination and feeling?” He acknowledged, resignedly, that even in his lifetime, these supremely modest late works, which he sought out on his visit to Padua just after Tartini’s death, might never be heard.

 There are many musicians, especially in Italy today, who are endeavouring to turn their attention to this unique musician, philosopher and human being. This series, in this unique building, which I expect that Tartini would have loved, is my small contribution to this.

Tartini-Sonatas (Padua Manuscript)

  1. Sonata in G major
  2. Sonata in D minor
  3. Sonata in D major
  4. Sonata in C major
  5. Sonata in F major  ‘Al tormento di questo core la crudele si rendera’


Judith Bingham                         The Lost Works of Paganini 1

Jim Aitchison                                     Shibboleth after Doris Salcedo

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber                 Passacaglia (Mystery Sonata XVI)

“Der Schutzengel als Begleiter des Menschen”

 More: http://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/in-the-studio/, http://www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com/tartini-sonatas-at-st-barts/

[i] P.148, From On the  principles of Musical Harmony contained in the Diatonic Genus, (1767)

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