|Founder: Len Mullenger|
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Violin Concerto in C major (c.1768)
Violin Concerto in G major (c.1768)
Piano Concerto in D major (1767, rev. 1782)
Concerto for violin and piano in F major (1766)*
Bella Davidovich (piano)
Václav Hudecek (violin)*
Prague Chamber Orchestra/Dimitri Sitkovetsky (violin & conductor)
Rec 14-17 September 1996, Korunní and Domovina Studios, Prague
SUPRAPHON SU3265-2 031 [73.26]
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Haydn is far more noted for his symphonies than for his concertos, but it should not be forgotten that during certain years of his tenure at the Esterházy Court, writing concertos for his skilful musician colleagues formed an important part of his activity. This was particularly the case during the first decade of his employment there - from 1761 - when the abilities of his fellow musicians proved a constant source of inspiration. This interesting collection from Prague pays tribute to these developments.
The distinguished violinist and conductor Dimitri Sitkovetsky is at the centre of everything here, and he gives technically accomplished performances of the two violin concertos. All four of these collected concertos approach twenty minutes in duration, and all four adopt what we now view as the conventional classical concerto layout of three movements, the slow movement at the centre.
The phrasing and tempi always sound completely natural, even spontaneous, and this is particularly apparent in the opening Allegro moderato of the C major Concerto (TRACK 1: 2.00). The recorded sound is ample but not unduly reverberant, and details can always be heard, allowing Haydn's imaginative part-writing to make its mark. If there is a fault, in the two violin concertos more than the other items, it is that Sitkovetsky is given a big and bold profile, unnaturally so. His quality of tone and security of intonation stand up to this scrutiny, but it does give the performances a somewhat larger than life feel.
Bella Davidovich is a splendid pianist, well experienced in the classical repertoire. Her rendition of the popular D major Piano Concerto is particularly entertaining, full of imagination and sparkle. She plays a 'modern' instrument, bigger and more resonant than Haydn would have known, but she does so with taste and discretion. The central Adagio benefits from her sensitive phrasing, and she is well supported by the orchestra (TRACK 8: 0.00). However, in this performance, and perhaps in this concerto as a work of art, the finale is the jewel in the crown. Davidovich plays with affection, and above all with sparkle, and it is hard to imagine the music sounding better (TRACK9: 0.00). Haydn was evidently fond of this piece, originally composed in 1767, since he returned to it in 1782, when he made the definitive version which is always heard today.
The double concerto for violin and piano introduces another
fine soloist, the Czech violinist Václav Hudecek, who teams up
with Bella Davidovich while Sitkovetsky conducts. Again the performance
is tasteful and well judged, just like the music. Although these compositions
cannot rank among Haydn's trail-blazing masterpieces, they do contain
music of attractive invention and urbane construction, and they easily
stand the test of time. These commendable characteristics are brought
out in these attractive performances.
Piano Concerto in D Major Hob.XVIII
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