The Bottom Line
- Joshua Bell. Need I say more?
- Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Again, need I say more?
- Riveting virtuosic performances of Tartini's "Devil's Trill"
- Another Four Seasons? (Though, if there's a Four Seasons worth owning - this is it!)
- Released: September 2008
- 1 Disk, 13 Tracks
- Total Play Time: 54:00
Guide Review - Joshua Bell - Vivaldi, The Four Seasons - Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Now, I mustn't forget to tell you about this little gem of classical music hidden on the very bottom of the album. Yes, last but certainly not least, is a fourteen minute piece that is not as well known as the album's title work - Tartini's Sonata in G Minor for Violin and Basso Continuo, aka the "Devil's Trill" Sonata. This unique classical work has a small, but dark conception. Thanks to the wonderful program notes written by Linda Kobler included with this album, we learn that Giuseppe Tartini went to bed one night in 1713 and dreamed he encountered the Devil. "I thought of handing him my violin to see what he would do with it," said Tartini. "Great was my astonishment when I heard a sonata so singular and so beautiful, played with such superiority and intelligence, that I had never heard the like, nor even conceived that something so lovely might be possible. I felt such pleasure - rapture, surprise - that my breath failed: the violence of the sensation awoke me. I immediately seized my violin, trying to reproduce the sounds I had heard, but in vain." Though Tartini said it turned out to be the best piece of music he had ever written, it couldn't even compare to what he had heard in his dream. Today, the "Devil's Trill" Sonata remains one of the most difficult pieces to perform, however Bell breezes right through and I'm sure without breaking a sweat.