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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Piano Concerto in D major, Hob.XVIII:11 [18:05]
Cello Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIb:1 [22:59]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Keyboard Sonata in D minor, K141 [3:04]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cello Suite no.2 in D minor, BWV1008 – Sarabande [6:22]
Cello Suite no.3 in C major, BWV1009 - Bourree I-II [3:50]
Cello Suite no.5 in C minor, BWV1011 – Sarabande [4:22]
Martha Argerich (piano)
Mischa Maisky (cello)
Amadeus Chamber Orchestra/Agnieszka Duczmal
rec. live, 13 April 1992 (Argerich), 26 November 1993 (Maisky), 'S1' Concert Studio of Polish Radio

If you’re a Haydn enthusiast, as I am, then you’ll find much to enjoy in this new release from the Fryderyk Chopin Institute. An added bonus is the appearance of two ‘big names’, Martha Argerich and Mischa Maisky, two artists who have collaborated together on many occasions. Here they are captured separately in live concerto performances from the early 1990s, each offering tasty encores into the bargain.

Argerich has recorded the Haydn D major twice commercially. I'm familiar with the 1980 EMI recording in which she directs the London Sinfonietta from the keyboard. This live airing likewise displays the pianist’s dazzling technique and impressive musicality. Argerich and her musical collaborators feed off the audience’s presence, and there’s more freshness, spontaneity, electricity and synergy between soloist, conductor and orchestra than in the studio version. The tempi in the outer movements are brisk and propulsive. The slow movement benefits from the pianist’s choice of the wonderful cadenza by Wanda Landowska. In the Rondo all’Ungarese finale, Argerich’s buoyant dance rhythms are infectious.  In short, it’s a magical performance, captured in good sound and balance.  The encore, Scarlatti's Sonata in D minor, K141 is something of a calling card for Argerich, and is here dispatched with breathtaking precision and panache.

Maisky’s account of Haydn's C major Cello Concerto has to be one of the finest I've ever encountered. I much prefer this concerto to the D major, as it’s a more sunny work, overflowing with gorgeous melodies and brimming over with life. Maisky has a real feel for this work and shapes the phrases with both grace and elegance. I love the tempi that have been chosen. The slow movement has a restrained and noble eloquence.  The finale is one of the fastest I’ve heard, but it works well, such is the cellist’s accomplished virtuosity and the energy and excitement generated. Maisky opts for three movements from the Bach Cello Suites for his encores, the latter two which he announces himself.

The orchestra is the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio under Agnieszka Duczmal in both concertos. Duczmal is an excellent conductor, directing sure-footed accounts and deeply sensitive to the contours of each work.

Stephen Greenbank

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