Giuseppe Tartini
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Concerto in G major, D.82
Ed. Enrica Bojan

Over the beautiful second movement Tartini wrote "I know you have no mercy" using his secret code. With the outer movements this concerto is a first class representative of the 18th century concerto. Carefully edited from Tartini's autograph and checked against the only other known source. 

From the preface:

The critical edition of this concerto in G major D.82 was prepared by collating two sources: the autograph manuscript DVII 1902 n.77 kept at Padua in the Music Archive of the Basilica Antoniana, the only source mentioned by Dounias in his catalogue, and a manuscript in several parts from Berkeley (California), Music Library of the University of California, It.911.

Excerpts (click image to enlarge)


First Movement


Second Movement


Third Movement

The study of Tartini's score poses problems concerning the instrumental ensemble, usually not specified by the composer. One must bear in mind that Tartini's concertos were generally performed in the Basilica del Santo during solemn ceremonies. Tartini probably would have played the solo part (he had been "first violinist and concertmaster" since 1721) Documentary evidence and studies show that he had at his disposal a large orchestra accustomed to perform on such occasions. This meant that detailed musical annotations were not required in the score. The matter of Tartini's instrumental ensemble is still unsolved. Musicologists tend to conclude that the number of players and instruments depended on availability and the occasion of the performance.

The contra-position of instrumental groups, which aims to create a stylistic dialogue of sound intensities, recalls the structures of the concerti grossi by Arcangelo Corelli.

In the autograph score we do not have a part for a keyboard instrument as basso continuo, which is known to have been present. There is no sign of it in the scores and when basso is mentioned, it refers to the part and not the instrument; no figures are present. Studies tend to exclude the use of the clavichord, but some elements external to the original score, as well as other documents not strictly of musical nature, seem to confirm the use of the organ, especially in view of the fact that the concertos were written to be performed in the Basilica del Santo, a religious environment where the organ was sovereign. However there is a consensus suggesting that basso continuo would accompany the passages marked Tutti, whilst it would be silent in those marked Soli.

In Tartini's autograph, at the beginning of the second movement, we have a "coded motto", which Dounias deciphered to "So che pietŕ non hai". According to the most recent studies this is neither a literary nor a melodramatic quotation, but simply a syllabic adherence to the melodic line of the principal violin. It is not yet clear why Tartini chose such a cryptic way to distinguish his passages. However the same verse appears in Rosmira, Aria II, 2, an opera compiled by Vivaldi from several composers performed at Klagenfurt in 1738. It may be that Tartini knew the libretto or the score of the opera and that this is a musical quotation using the same melodic material or simply a personal annotation of the passage to be relating to the aria. For this edition the autograph score has been followed faithfully, any amendments have been limited to modernisation of the graphical image. The variations in the Berkeley source are listed in the textual notes following the introduction. No dynamic indications have been added, as these should be evident to the careful performer. The eighteenth century practice of using a flat sign to naturalize a sharp, has been replaced with a natural to conform with modern practice. The ties and slurs have been kept and the rare parts missing in the original have been inserted in square brackets ([ ]).

The embellishments have been transcribed from the original, without suggestions for their execution. The eighteenth century rules for routine execution of embellishments and cadenzas on the crowned points, still constitutes one of the unsolved matters in the study of Tartini's style in spite of the great violinist having compiled the Traité des agrémens for use in his school. This edition aims to offer a critical text faithful to the original both musically and historically, thus enabling a performance as close as possible to the original practices and style of the composer.

Enrica Bojan
Translation Annelisa Evans


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Created: Tuesday, July 22, 2003, Updated Tuesday, June 21, 2016
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