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Few Baroque sonatas have suffered from romanticized interpretation as much as Tartini’s ‘Il trillo del Diavolo’ or ‘Devil’s Trill’. The reasons are not hard to find. Foremost is Tartini’s colourful account of a dream in which the devil appeared at the foot of his bed playing the composer’s own violin. Then there is the absence of an autograph manuscript, thereby inviting varying degrees of editorial licence. Thirdly, while Fritz Kreisler undoubtedly popularized the Sonata his edition is far from any 18th-century code of practice, even including a contextually anachronistic cadenza.

Hideko Udagawa, a pupil of Nathan Milstein, has wisely opted for the earliest printed version of the Sonata since no autograph manuscript has been handed down. Where her performance differs from many others is in preferring to omit the notated bass part which the composer claimed was his true intention.

Udagawa’s playing is uneven but elsewhere she is sympathetically supported by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Nicholas Kraemer’s direction. Carl Stamitz’s attractive Violin Concerto in B flat is allegedly a world première while Kreisler’s pasticcio Concerto ‘in the style of Vivaldi’ is not entirely without interest.

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing