Sonata in sol minore per violino e continuo (5 movements).

Violin, Jean-Claude Féret

Cembalo, Christine Hartley-Troskie

Bassoon, Mr X

A work from the beginning of Vivaldi's production which was abundant…Nasty fellows affirmed that he wrote 400 times the same concerto… rather a tough judgement, even if his production was uneven, and where pieces of real genius could be found among others lets say more commercial…

This sonata is a real little gem, despite being evidently inspired by Corelli who had just published his own (1710) but in those days that was certainly no crime.

The repeats of the movements are ornamented with more or less improvised decorations, that is, by various little cadences, ornaments and runs, as it was usual to do in Italy, and particularly inspired by the way Corelli himself played in concert (someone took note of all those ornaments played in concert by "il Signor Corelli" for the 6 first of his sonatas, and published them one year later (luckily for us, the SASSEM, RIAA and so on didn't exist yet!).

Carried by the dash, I even ornamented the repeats of the last movement (a jig), which was much less usual, but certainly not prohibited! There are still some examples of such things made in the early eighteenth by some musicians… the goal being here to finish the piece with "brio", very much in the Italian spirit, particularly that of Vivaldi.

I made that recording as a verification before playing for an international competition, and there was just a cembalo as "basso continuo", so, in taking it from the audio cassette to put here, I thought that it was a bit feeble, especially for Italian music, which even till Mozart's time was rather lavish in the use of bass instruments, so I felt obliged to add some bass to the existing recording.

Lacking a proper cello or gamba or bassoon, I had to content myself with the sample sounds of a bassoon, that I cut to size, shaped in the proper way, and pasted at the proper places to sound like a real player… quite frankly I think it could be taken as a real player, but I didn't want anyone to be fooled, and so I'm telling you all about it… After all my point of view is that the principal is the result.

Jean-Claude Féret

Giuseppe Tartini: last "sonata a violino solo" (first movement)

Baroque violin : Jean-Claude Féret


The theme was probably conceived by Tartini in his youth, for a poem written during the few years of separation from his young wife… indeed, kidnapping the girl (with her agreement!) from the family of an influential cardinal, marrying her secretly, and then escaping alone, being hunted by police all over the country, his refuge in a monastery… Only years later was he able to return to normal life and retrieve his wife.

These few lines, very moving, he put to music


« Senza de ti mia cara

No che no posso star

La pena e cosi amara

Que mi fa delirar. »


He used that theme for the first movement of his last sonata, probably one of his last works too (maybe even the last!)…

And, when he was found dead (and also rather old), in his bedroom, still sitting in a big armchair with a high back, the violin having just slipped from of his hands, by his side, who knows? Maybe it was also the last thing that he played.



Without you my dearest

I can't stand

The pain is so bitter

It makes me delirious

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Song used as theme

version for violin solo

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