The Tartini style. An artistic survey of the violinist's craft in the 18th century
Artistic production, Research report
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"In his research of The Tartini Style, Sigurd Imsen has explored the art and craft of the 18th century’s violinists. The study concentrates on the florid and highly personal ornamental style of Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770), a style that was influential well into the 19th century. Imsen has sought to re-implement Tartini’s patterns of embellishments, as well as other stylistic features, as found in the historical material – primarily in Tartini’s obscure treatise of ornamentation. The final result of the project, “The Tartini Style”, has been presented as a recording of violin sonatas by Giuseppe Tartini, along with a critical reflection that accounts for the historical sources, methods and development of Imsen's performance. The recorded material that has been assessed consists of sonata in F, B.F4, sonata in g, B. g5 (“The Devil’s Sonata”) and the pastorale in scordatura B.A16, the latter performed on the Hardanger fiddle. These three sonatas were released on Pure Audio Blu-Ray by Lindberg Lyd in 2015." - - - The present text is an account of my work as an artistic research fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music during the years 2006 to 2009. Naturally, as many years have passed since the fellowship period ended, this account will also involve the continuation of my work since then. However, throughout these years, my work has developed along the same lines, ideas and sources of inspiration as it did from the very beginning. My years as a research fellow have offered the luxury to concentrate on one idea and pursue it in depth. As a violinist, I have had the opportunity and privilege to expand my skills as an artist in what has become my field of specification; my artistic home and my default point of departure when approaching music of the 18thcentury. In my everyday life I work as a full-time tutti violinist in a modern symphony orchestra, and being granted three years of in-depth study has been of invaluable importance for my professional development. It has proven difficult to bring the project to an end. My previous efforts to finish failed, for different reasons. Presenting the results of my work is demanding on resources, not least financial, and I am grateful that the NMH and the Steering Committee have contributed sufficiently to this final presentation. I have now chosen an entirely different form of presentation:a Blu-ray disc multichannel recording rather than a live performance. Further, I have revised some central issues: The focus has shifted towards a more specific survey on Tartini’s works and style, and I will no longer attempt to make general conclusions regarding the performance practice of the 18thcentury violin repertoire. A general remark about this text: The regulations of the programme allow, or rather require, the research fellows to make their own choices in terms of the form and medium used for their reflections. In the case of the present work, the obvious thing to do was to assemble a text that accounts for the methods, sources and historical information I have used, in addition to the critical reflection. I have made efforts to produce a clear, transparent and unambiguous text. Hence, I have avoided the dreaded “International Art English”, which has been so widespread in the language of art criticism over the last two decades. Ideally, I would have preferred to present my reflections in the style of Tartini and his contemporaries. It is my belief that the famous treatises of C. P. E. Bach, Quantz, L. Mozart, Mattheson and others are indeed reflections, written by artists who described and discussed what was in fact their own art and practice. Their style of writing is remarkably clear and concise, usually economic in words and held in a surprisingly direct and oral language. As they humbly bow their wigs in the dust in their prefaces, they equally boldly boast their highly subjective opinions about music and the practice of other musicians in the following chapters of their books. As tempting as it would be to try to follow suit, I have only used it as a source of inspiration to my writing. This is, after all, a work of music, not one of literature. I must compel the reader to keep in mind that this is not a work of science, but of art. Therefore, this text does not meet the standards demanded of a scientific paper. However, as a work of art, my practice rests on an investigation of historical sources that requires a certain academic attitude, and the reflection is intertwined with the discussion of historical information. But the bottom line is that this work is not intended to be based exclusively on empirical data, but rather on the interaction between theory and practice.
Critical Reflection - The Norwegian Artistic Research Programme - The Norwegian Academy of Music. - - The project's results also include a musical recording which consists of Sonata in F, B.F4, Sonata in g, B. g5 (“The Devil’s Sonata”) and the Pastorale in scordatura B.A16, the latter performed on the Hardanger fiddle. See also http://www.sigurdimsen.com/ for further information on the project and results. The recording, Tartini secondo natura, can be found on Tidal and Spotify
Has partsThe project includes a critical report and recorded music
Critical reflection - PDF - The Tartini style. Innspilling - Tartini secondo natura - Blue ray