of pure delight. Brautigam’s solo BIS
recordings of Mozart and Haydn are well
recognised for their innate musicality,
a trait no less in evidence here where
he is joined by the excellent period
band Concerto Copenhagen.
Brautigam plays a Paul
McNulty 1992 instrument built after
Anton Gabriel Walter. It is a lovely
instrument, out of which Brautigam is
able to coax a great variety of shades
of expression. See my review also of
Brautigam’s Beethoven, played on another
McNulty fortepiano (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Nov04/Beethoven_Brautigam.htm
; this was an SACD … will this Haydn
disc appear on SACD also, I wonder?).
The present disc begins
with probably the most famous of Haydn
keyboard concertos, the D major, Hob.XVIII/11;
famously, it was in Michelangeli’s repertoire!
Here it buzzes with both inner and outer
life, original-instrument horns rasping
at around 4’30 in the first movement.
Brautigam’s articulation is excellent,
his musicality beyond doubt. An expressive
‘Un poco adagio’ retains its intimacy
before the ‘Rondo all’Ungarese’, fizzing
along with no small amount of wit. Superb.
Concerto Copenhagen accompanies with
sensitivity and razor-sharp responses.
The F major concerto
dates from around the same time; as
so often with this composer exact dating
can be difficult. It is eminently civilised.
Brautigam’s finger-work remains a delight,
and there is a nice sense of stereo
spread from the strings. Unfortunately
the cadenza is uncredited; it leaves
a lovely thread for the listener to
The F major’s slow
movement is positively gorgeous. Flowing
yet intense, the melodic line is a thing
of beauty. Actually this movement distinctly
tends towards the Mozartean, before
Haydn returns in full, complete with
glint in his eye, for the cheeky finale.
Finally the delightful
G major Hob.XVIII/4, with its cascades
of descending scales (first movement),
its interior slow movement and joyful
finale. It seems the perfect, most satisfying
way to end the disc.
Interesting that Andsnes
on his EMI disc plays only three of
the concertos here, leaving a playing
time of only 54 minutes (556 960-2).
Brautigam loses nothing in verve and
immersion in the spirit of the music.