There is not a great deal to be said about this disc.
The Four Concertos (of 13) belong to the 1760s tipping over into the
1770s. They are of a piece in mood, model (three movements) and style
each with allegros framing adagios. The allegros flit and skitter in
decorative charm while the adagios chart the depths - the adagio of
G2 in particular seems steeped in a romantic-erotic spirit which some
might find cloying and either anachronistic or visionary. Was this an
old-style choice of Kazunori Seo or an indication that Hofmann imbued
greater passion into his adagios than was common (or decent) for the
The orchestral playing is spry and, going by auditory
appearances, wakeful. You will not encounter much if anything in the
way of competition.
I cannot pretend that this music is anything other
than what my Belgian landlady of years gone by used to call 'zim-zim
music' (minus harpsichord continuo) but it is smooth, handsome and unfacile.
If Mozartian legato given a conservatively romantic
skew is your thing then this will be money well spent. Hofmann prepares
the way for Weber and Schubert.
Dr Allan Bradley's indispensable notes time after time
make the link with Haydn. I heard the disc before reading the notes
and it was Mozart who leapt to mind as the closest cousin. Hofmann's
popularity in the 1760s and 1770s is not to be wondered at. He was a
most productive musician paying competent court to an audience with
an insatiable taste for a well-turned smiling phrase and a fresh kick
of the hooves.
Naxos's attention to sources deserves high praise.
Full contact details for materials are listed on the back of the leaflet.
Hofmann wrote about sixty solo concertos so Naxos still
have more than enough territory to cover. It sometimes seems that there
is some truth in that April Fool's day joke about Naxos preparing a
set of everything written by everyone. Time to buy some new shelving.