There are few records devoted to the mandolin. And so are mandolinists! All the more reason to boast, in France, of having one of the best interpreters of this 18th century Italian instrument: Julien Martineau. His latest album, due to the variety of works it offers, is a pure marvel. Recorded in the famous Halle aux grains in Toulouse with the Orchester national du Capitole, we find three concertos from three different eras.
Of course the essential Mandolin Concerto by Vivaldi composed in Venice around 1730 - and which was in the seventies one of the greatest successes of classical recording with a million copies sold by Erato. Then we change country and almost century with Hummel's concerto, given in Vienna in 1799. Finally, we take a big leap in time to find an Italian composer of the 20th century, Calace, nicknamed the "Paganini of the Mandolin."
Also read: The renaissance of mandolin orchestras
His Concerto No. 1 written for mandolin and piano, of formidable difficulty, constitutes, in a way, the bravura piece of the disc. The work, which had never been orchestrated before, was excellently arranged by Thibaut Perrine, also a counterpoint professor at the National Conservatory. In other words, a version light years away from those given in the 1920s in Italy, or in Japan in front of the emperor.
The rest of the CD is peppered with more playful works like O sole mio which we believe was written for the mandolin but which in fact was originally composed for piano and vocals. Another surprise, these two works by Paganini who, little is known, before becoming a renowned violinist, had started music with the mandolin.
O Sun my paru chez Believe