Haydn Cello Concertos

Classical manners – and the odd stylistic solecism – mark a pleasing programme

Author: 
DuncanDruce

Haydn Cello Concertos

  • Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1
  • Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2
  • Romances

There’s no shortage of fine young cellists, but Daniel Müller-Schott is one of the most impressive – his brilliant technique, ringing tone and persuasive musicianship combine to great effect in the outer movements of the Haydn concertos. From the outset it’s clear that he and the ACO are clued up on 18th-century performance style, giving us elegantly turned phrases, lifted up beats, springy rhythms and clear textures. This stylishness informs the stateliness of the C major’s first movement, and the joyfulness of the D major finale, but in some respects it’s only skin deep – the D major’s first movement includes, for example, some very strange decisions about slurs and articulation. In such matters Isserlis and Norrington’s COE prove more reliable guides, with Isserlis’s lighter, gentler style providing the most noticeable interpretative contrast. In the slow movements, his delicate expression and flowing tempi are persuasive, but some listeners may prefer Müller- Schott’s more intense expression and broader speeds.

Isserlis/Norrington offer the substantial bonus of a splendid account of the Haydn Sinfonia Concertante, but the extra items here are unusually interesting, too. Müller-Schott’s arrangement of Beethoven’s violin romances consists of transposing the music down an octave and, in Op 40, modifying some double stops. Both romances are beautifully played, with the same sense of poise as in the concertos. Hearing the principal voice in a lower register doesn’t make the music turgid; the overall sound is, indeed, most appealing; the wind passages in Op 40 are especially memorable. Strongly recommended.

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