Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Violin Concerto in C major, H. VIIa/1 (c. 1765)
Violin Concerto in A major, H. VIIa/3 (c. 1770)
Violin Concerto in G major, H. VIIa/4 (c. 1769)
Orchestre des Champs-Elysées/Giuliano Carmignola (violin)
rec. Feb 2011, Gustav Mahler Hall, Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, Toblach/Dobbiaco, South Tyrol, Italy
ARCHIV PRODUKTION 477 8774 [59:29] 

I cannot recall ever hearing one of Haydn’s three Violin Concertos programmed in concert. Although these scores are certainly situated at the margins of the baroque/classical repertoire I have always found them attractive and worthy of interest. The interest in authentic instruments has sparked off a number of recordings of these Haydn scores notably from Rachel Podger/Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Federico Guglielmo/L'Arte Dell'Arco; Simon Standage/The English Concert; Marc Destrubé/Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Elizabeth Wallfisch/Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. It was no surprise that the period instrument specialist Giuliano Carmignola on baroque violin should turn his attention to these Haydn scores.
A skilled violinist himself Haydn in the late 1760s is acknowledged to have written four violin concertos including a missing D major Concerto, Hob. VIIa/2. Opening the release is the Violin Concerto in C major, H. VIIa/1 a delightful score written for Alois Luigi Tomasini who was to become concertmaster at Esterházy. The work contains double-stopping and the Adagio is a lovely cantilena. Sometimes known as the Melker Konzert (Melk Concerto) a manuscript of the Violin Concerto in A major, H. VIIa/3 was discovered in 1949 by H.C. Robbins Landon in the Benedictine Abbey of Melk, Austria. Later in 1961 another manuscript of the A major work turned up in the Marcello Library of Venice. Some doubts have been expressed about the authenticity of the Violin Concerto in G major, H. VIIa/4. It was not included in Haydn’s own catalogue. Scholars have however seen sufficient of Haydn’s characteristics in the score to attribute this work to him.
Playing with an obvious fondness Giuliano Carmignola seems eminently suited to these Haydn scores. Admirable is his splendid bow control together with a natural empathy for the score. Carmignola demonstrates an innate tendency for intelligent restraint which overrides any need for theatrical display. In the delightful Adagio of the C major Concerto I was stuck by the languid melody for the soloist played over a curiously ticking bass accompaniment. Lengthy, at over eleven minutes, the opening movement of the Concerto in A major has rather irregular tempi and some really fascinating writing for the soloist. In the G major Concerto the genially peaceful Adagio evokes a scene of basking in the sultry heat of the summer sun. I loved Carmignola’s vibrantly upbeat playing of the attractive yet edgy Finale. Led by Alessandro Moccia this is beautifully alive playing from the period instrument Orchestre des Champs-Elysées who prove to be highly sympathetic partners.  
I did wonder if Haydn’s charming Concerto in F major for Violin and Piano, Hob. XVIII/6 might have been squeezed in to fill up the unused time on the disc. Recorded at the Gustav Mahler Hall in Toblach/Dobbiaco the engineers are to be congratulated for providing a vividly clear and well balanced sound. The high standard liner notes serve to enhance the excellent presentation.
Michael Cookson

Attractive concertos and worthy of interest.