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Acte Prealable Polish CDs

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Acte Prealable Polish recordings

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Jonathan Woolf
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Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Organ Concerto in C, Hob.XVIII/1 [21:23]
Michael HAYDN (1737-1806)
Double Concerto for organ, viola and strings [28:46]
Karol Gołębiowski (organ)
Marcin Murawski (viola)
Academia Ensemble/Bohdan Boguszewski
Cadenzas by Karol Gołębiowski
rec. Sanctuary of Markowice, Poland, 29-31 October 2018. DDD.
Organ specification included. Unequal temperament – Valotti. A=438 Hz.

I have to begin with a warning that this CD is not easy to obtain. Until recently MusicWeb-International were able to offer recordings from this label at a competitive price, but the UK distributor has folded and I’ve been able to locate only the recording company’s own website and German Amazon – and even at the latter it’s listed as Derzeit nicht auf Lager, currently out of stock. I can, however, point you to YouTube, where you will find this performance of the first movement of the Double Concerto.

There are not too many competing recordings of Joseph Haydn’s keyboard concertos on the organ, and even fewer of Michael Haydn’s Double Concerto. Papa Haydn’s concerto comes on a recording by Ton Koopman and his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra which appealed to Dominy Clements – review – and, indeed, to other reviewers (Challenge Classics CC72390, with Concerto No.2 and Concerto for organ and violin).

The Michael Haydn can be found on CPO, performed by Jürgen Essel (organ) and Andra Dārziņa (viola) with the Urban Camerata, which Jonathan Woolf thought splendidly performed (777986-2 – review). The alternative comes from Simon Preston Eloquence 483031 (with Horn Concerto, etc., download only).

All of which makes it almost pointless to report that I enjoyed this Acte Préalable recording. It makes a good case for performing Hob.XVIII/1 on the organ rather than the harpsichord or fortepiano, with the chosen registration offering colour which no other keyboard instrument can offer. Not that the organ is allowed to dominate proceedings, however; although this is a full-scale instrument, not a chamber organ, the recording places it nicely within the framework of the Academia Ensemble.

Similarly, organ and viola are well integrated with each other and the ensemble in Michael Haydn’s concerto. It’s an odd combination, but it works well here. The cadenzas, too, in both works are well chosen.

Playing time is rather short, which, combined with the difficulty of obtaining this recording, means that I must recommend one of the alternatives, unless the CD becomes more readily available.

Brian Wilson


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