HAYDN Violin Concertos: No. 1 in C; No. 4 in G; No. 3 in A • Federico Guglielmo (vn); dir; L’Arte dell’Arco (period instruments) • BRILLIANT 94003 (59:03)
Federico Guglielmo and L’Arte dell’arco, who have revivified or reintroduced so many of Giuseppe Tartini’s violin concertos, have now turned their attention to Haydn’s, with predictably exhilarating results. Having become acquainted with the Concerto in C Major through Isaac Stern’s recording from 1947, I used to identify his chunky, robust energy with Haydn’s.Read more Arthur Grumiaux brought to the concerto his own irresistibly straightforward charm, but it may have fallen to Guglielmo and his ensemble to reveal more fully the first movement’s sweetly headlong élan. His brilliant passagework suggests the kind of virtuosic fireworks with which Haydn’s concertmaster, Luigi Tommasini, might have impressed his chapel master (as well as his patron). Guglielmo doesn’t linger in the slow movement; but, as in so many similar instances, a reading in which sensibility isn’t forced can paradoxically reveal more. And Guglielmo’s weightless brusqueness also suits the finale, a movement in which he combines dash and display.
The Concerto in G Major may not pose so many difficulties as does that in C Major (H. C. Robbins Landon suggested that the concerto possesses just enough of Haydn’s early stylistic characteristics to remain in his catalog, despite questions about its authenticity), but it’s graciously melodious, with a slow movement that, for its more ornamented melodic line, arguably doesn’t gain a great deal in expressiveness over the simpler slow movement of the C-Major Concerto. Guglielmo and the ensemble infuse the jaunty finale with breathtaking, headlong verve.
The Concerto in A Major brings an opportunity for Guglielmo to explore more piquant melodic and textural combinations and a more pathetic lyricism, even in the first movement, which otherwise bears several melodic similarities to the opening movement of the C-Major Concerto. And the slow movement, though less uncomplicated than its counterpart, seems (again pace Landon) to resemble it in its generally pure expressivity. In the bustling finale, Guglielmo displays an elegant wit, serving up its technical passages, rhythmically intriguing in his reading, with a dollop of tonal whipped cream.
Between Isaac Stern’s approach to these works, those of celebrated Mozart interpreters like Szymon Goldberg and Arthur Grumiaux, and the insightful explorations of Christian Tetzlaff (from 1991) seem like halfway houses on the journey to Guglielmo’s more full-blown re-creations. The relatively small size of L’Arte dell’Arco suggests the intimacy of the chamber setting for which Haydn composed the concertos. As did Grumiaux, Guglielmo plays his own cadenzas, stylistically and technically well suited to the main body of the movements. From the 1757 Gennaro Gagliano violin, on which he plays throughout, he draws a strong, reedy tone, especially in the middle and upper registers, which predominate in these works. The engineers have provided clear, clean recorded sound that captures a great deal of the small ensemble’s detail in the Studio Magister. Those who admire Haydn’s concertos should be among the first to rush to acquire these performances, but everyone should join that rush sooner or later.
Italianate Haydn December 24, 2014By owen ryan (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"My immediate impression upon first playing this disc was that it had a hint of Vivaldi to it. At least two of the concertos were written by Haydn for Luigi Tomasini his concertmaster in the Esterhazy orchestra. Tomasini was a virtuoso violinist trained in the Italian Tartini tradition. This would account for their Italianate character. These works are attacked with great gusto and are played with technically nimble skill. The recording is at an elevated volume so you will probably need to turn it down a bit. The overall sound is crisp and bright; the solo violin almost painfully sharp. The almost frentic playing and stilleto sharp sound kept me from fully enjoying this disc. My advice: take a pass on this one."Report Abuse