My latest recording project is called Grandissima Gravitaand features music by Veracini, Pisendel, Tartini and Vivaldi, four violinist composers with a string of fun connections between them.
Francesco Maria Veracini (1690 – 1768) was well known for playing with very long strokes. He had a long bow anyway, but when he composed he used to write a lot of notes under long slurs. At first you think, “Gosh, that’s tricky to do, especially in the slow movements. What’s going on here? Why does he want that?” But once you get into the spirit of what he might be after it’s really effective – even if it’s peculiar. I think Veracini must have been quite a strange person.
Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque. Photo © Brecon Baroque
The story goes that Giuseppe Tartini (1692 – 1770) heard Veracini play with this incredible bow control. Tartini, who was always a bit of a showman, thought, “Oh my goodness, I need to be able to do that.” So he locked himself away to practise for a few years. I think that’s brilliant!
Sometime earlier, Veracini had met Johann Georg Pisendel (1688 – 1755) in...