Classical Music | Violin Music

Giuseppe Tartini

Violin Sonata in G minor “Devil’s Trill Sonata”  Play

Karisa Chiu Violin
Inah Chiu Piano

Recorded on 01/04/2017, uploaded on 08/04/2017

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Violin Sonata in G minor “Devil’s Trill Sonata”  GiuseppeTartini, ed. Kreisler

Tartini composed well over 100 concertos and over 200 sonatas of various kinds, most of which remained in manuscript and are difficult to date accurately. The Sonata we know as “The Devil’s Trill” did not see print until 1798. It comes with a story, however, that was current during Tartini’s lifetime, attributing the work to 1713. Tartini had a dream in which he imagined a deal with the Devil, who proceeded to demonstrate the best solo Tartini had ever heard. Upon waking, Tartini wrote down this music, despite feeling that it was so inferior to what he had heard in his dream that he would have broken his violin and abandoned music, if only he had any other way to live. The opening movement is a lilting lullaby, its gentle insistence hinting at darker things to come. A crisp bravura movement follows, before a slow passage that is supposed to represent Tartini’s dream state. This slow music alternates with another Allegro (a loose variant of the second movement) that includes the actual “Devil’s Trill” passage, a rising sequence of double stops with the trill on the upper string. The great violinist Fritz Kreisler, who was also a fine composer, made an edition of the Sonata that includes an even more devilish cadenza.                 Notes by John Henken