The Strad Issue: January 2007
Musicians: Ariadne Daskalakis (violin) Cologne Chamber Orchestra, Helmut Müller-Brühl (conductor)
Composer: Tartini

Ariadne Daskalakis here introduces two premiere recordings of violin concertos by Tartini (D28 and D50). Tartini’s solo parts demand technical virtuosity that is daring in its inventiveness and subtle in its introvert complexity. Accordingly, Daskalakis brings to these works striking athleticism, musical insight, expressive embellishment and elegiac lyricism.

She is largely unfazed by the intricately ornamented, virtuosic figuration of the concertos’ outer movements, even if the occasional intonation blemish becomes apparent (in the tricky double and multiple stopping of the finale of D80, for example). Nevertheless, her accounts are distinguished by their Classical taste and tonal refinement, not least in the challenging passagework of the festive Allegro of D96 and the dramatic first movement and finale of D125. Meanwhile, she plumbs the slow movements’ emotional depths, realising their bel canto style with appropriate expression and artistry. The Larghetto of D125 is a case in point, its affect clearly conveyed by the motto ‘Lascia ch’io dica addio’ (‘Let me say goodbye’). The exploitation of chromaticism in the Andante of D28 is equally moving. Overall, the eloquence of Daskalakis’s playing disarms criticism, even when the style of her cadenzas (composed with Sebastian Gottschick) strays beyond the period (particularly in D50).

Apart from an occasionally over-prominent harpsichord (most notably in the tuttis of D50), the recording is exemplary and has the soloist well forward in the balance. Its resonance adds an appropriate feeling of breadth. The timbral range exploited in the continuo section is admirable, although the accompaniment in the Grave of D50 seems lumpy.