TARTINI: “Secondo Natura” – Baroque violin & Hardanger fiddle, cello & harpsichord – 2L Blu-ray

TARTINI: “Secondo Natura” – Sigurd Imsen, Baroque violin and Hardanger fiddle – Tormod Dalen, Baroque cello/ Hans Knut Sveen, harpsichord – 2L 112-PABD Pure Audio Blu-ray 5.1 surround & stereo in DXD Digital  352kHz/24bit, 50 mins. (2/26/16) (Dist. by Naxos) *****:

Another totally unique hi-res recording from Norway.

No doubt gearing up for the 250th birthday celebrations in 2020, the flood of outstanding and important Giuseppe Tartini releases continues with this eerie, fantastical recording of the Devil’s Sonata surrounded by two endearing Sonatas from Op. 1; the latter, which is a charming Pastorale in the charming key of A major, is played on a Norwegian Hardanger folk fiddle with its scordatura tuning suggesting country diversions and its drone strings imitating bagpipes.

Not surprisingly, it’s just another curiously essential release on the Norwegian 2L audiophile label, lighting up candles for Tartini in advance with a recording for the ages haunted by musicological ghosts. The recording comes as a stunningly beautiful Pure Audio Blu-ray disc, or as a download, either from Amazon as an MP3, or hi-def, from HDtracks.com. Tartini would have loved it.

This release is, in fact, an audiophile delight for a number of niche audiences including lovers of early and Baroque music, Scandinavian folk music and fiddle music generally, fabled acoustic venues, and original instrument lovers, just to name a few.

The Baroque violin used in this recording, for example, was built by the Norwegian luthier Jacob von der Lippe, and is a copy of Tartini’s own instrument built by Stradivarius for Tartini in 1715, known as the “Lipinski Strad” (and recently the subject of a celebrated kidnapping). However, as Sigurd Imsen explains in his excellent, deeply reflective liner notes, the original has been essentially rebuilt over the centuries into a modern violin, whereas von der Lippe’s copy has been reconstructed as an authentic Baroque violin based on the best scholarly research, tempered by the feedback from the actual living violinist for whom it was intended.

The holographically natural recording was made in the large bare space of a small village church near Oslo, the kind of venue 2L prefers due in part to the absence of close reflecting walls, which maximizes their flexibility in working with the microphone and the musicians.

—Laurence Vittes

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