Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770)
Sonate Op. VI, Parigi, 1748
Musicological studies are re-examining Tartini, a composer of great significance, as well as an excellent performer, pedagogue and theoretician. Indeed, his music exhibits such particular melodic and harmonic invention that he has been called a "pre-romantic". This judgement is obviously unhistorical for Romanticism was still far off in the future, and yet it holds a grain of truth: together with few other predecessors and contemporaries, Tartini felt the power of instrumental music at a time when it had not yet been accepted as an independent art capable of expressing thoughts or arousing affects. Strangely enough, although Tartini himself considered singing to be at the heart of learning to play well, he nonetheless composed very few vocal works. This apparent contradiction indicates, instead, the beginning of a definitive emancipation of instrumental music. And the solo sonata, by its very intimate nature, was well suited to this expressive end. In addition, it favored a stylistic exploration, which saw Tartini as precursor to so-called pre-classicism, a trend that was merely more evident in some of contemporaries.