LOCATELLI 24 Caprices for Solo Violin
Locatelli composed L’arte del violino in the mid-1720s, soon after Bach completed his solo Sonatas and Partitas and nearly 80 years before Paganini penned his Caprices. A new scholarly performing edition appeared in 2002 and since then the 12 concertos contained therein have attracted the interest of enterprising soloists from both the early and modern arenas.
Tchalik has departed from the convention of playing the concertos with string orchestra together with the solo caprices attached to the outer movements of each by detaching the caprices from the concertos, which he put aside (presumably for another day), and adding his own brief but stylish elaborations of the final cadences (just as Locatelli intended), leaving himself alone in the recording studio. In pedagogical terms, it’s a clever idea but maybe not a very musical one. Because the caprices were originally couched in fast movements, they too are quick; because the concertos are already virtuoso and the caprices were conceived as extended cadenzas, the sheer intensity over 24 tracks is unremitting.
Tchalik plays on a modern instrument with a modern bow, claiming that the Caprices belong more to the Classical era than the Baroque, though since the range of No 22 goes up to 17th position on the violin, we’re told, he probably prefers the longer fingerboard. He is technically very proficient and plays expressively wherever the music allows. Locatelli was known to have played beautifully in tune and possessed enormous endurance, two qualities in abundance here.