Saturday, 5 July 2008

122. Joseph Haydn - Cello Concertos (c.1762 - c. 1783)


Title: Cello Concertos No.1 & 2
Performer: Christophe Coin (Cello), Academy of Ancient Music
Director: Christopher Hogwood
Year: 1995
Length: 49 minutes


Firstly let's be aware that these two concerts have about 21 years distance between them, and so it is quite an interesting look at the early Haydn and later Haydn, and the second concerto is therefore clearly much more in the Classical idiom than the first.

The first cello concerto is the Baroque transition to Classical in action, there is much of the baroque in the first movement, but there is almost none of it in the third movement. One of the things that is never baroque is the way in which the solo instrument talks to the orchestra, the two are much less divided, they complement and reply to each other. The second Concerto is of course firmly in the classical tradition and is equally great.

Overall, there is such a sense of freedom to these two concerts, Baroque was starting to become stifling, the simplicity and beauty of the solo instruments combines with a very clear sounding orchestral line. It is truly a little breath of fresh air.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major by Joseph Haydn was composed around 1761–1765 for longtime friend Joseph Weigl, then the principal cellist of Prince Nicolaus's Esterházy Orchestra.

The work was presumed lost until 1961, that musicologist Oldrich Pulkert, when a copy of the score was discovered in Prague. Though some doubts have been raised about the authenticity of the work, most experts believe that Haydn did compose this concerto.

This early work (it is contemporaneous with symphonies 6, 7 and 8) already shows Haydn as a master of instrumental writing. The solo cello part is thoroughly idiomatic. The concerto reflects the ritournello form of the baroque concerto as well as the emerging structure of the sonata-allegro form. As in the baroque concerto grosso, the accompanying ensemble is small: strings, two oboes, and two horns. It is possible that Weigl was the only cellist in the Esterházy Orchestra when Haydn composed the concerto, since there is only one cello line in the score, marked alternately “solo” and “tutti.” There is also, however, a basso continuo line, that might have been played by another cellist, or by Haydn himself on the harpsichord, or by a string bass player.

Rostropovich plays the third movement of the first concerto:

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