Notes and Editorial Reviews
If you like Haydn's music for the baryton you certainly will enjoy these pieces too.
The commemoration of Haydn's death in 2009 led to an increase in interest in the baryton and its repertoire. Several discs with music for baryton which Haydn composed for his employer Nikolaus I Esterházy were released. The Esterházy Trio even recorded his complete oeuvre with baryton. There were more composers who wrote for this rather obscure instrument. They included Luigi Tomasini - first violinist of the court orchestra in Esterháza - and his colleague Andreas Lidl. The latter was educated as a gambist, but as a member of the court orchestra he probably played the cello. It is likely that it was at the request
of Prince Nikolaus that he took up the baryton and started to compose music for it. From 1769 to 1774 he was in Esterháza, and then travelled through Europe as a virtuoso on the gamba and the baryton.
From 1778 to 1788 Lidl stayed in London; here eight collections with chamber music were printed. These were all scored for more conventional instruments, like violin, viola and cello, in various combinations. Music for baryton was never published; there was no market for it. There were only very few players of the baryton, and they would usually have played their own music. The baryton was also virtually unknown outside southern Germany and Austria. Lidl played the baryton in public in London, and that was where Charles Burney heard him. He reported that Lidl played with exquisite taste and expression, although he found the baryton rather unpleasant. He also noted with surprise that Lidl accompanied himself. "This report suggests that Lidl increased the wire understrings of the baryton to 27 to allow fully chromatic self-accompaniment", Bernhard Moosbauer writes in his liner-notes.
The music recorded here is typical music for the intimacy of the salon. All the Divertimenti are in three movements, none is in a minor key, and only two of the 18 movements are adagios. Most slower movements are called moderato or andante. Four of the Divertimenti have a menuet and two begin with a theme with variations. This set has been preserved in manuscript as pieces for violin, viola da gamba and cello, but it is assumed that they were originally intended for the baryton. They are played here in the scoring of most of Haydn's trios: baryton, viola - not viola da gamba as is stated on the reverse of the tray and by Moosbauer in the liner-notes - and cello. It is the baryton which has the lead, sometimes sharing the thematic material with the viola. As so often in chamber music of the time the cello plays a subordinate role, mainly providing the foundation of the ensemble.
One shouldn't compare these Divertimenti with Haydn's baryton trios. As a composer Lidl isn't of the same standard. His Divetimenti are devoid of the humorous streaks which are so characteristic of Haydn's oeuvre. Even so, this music is entertaining and nice to listen to. If you like Haydn's music for the baryton you will certainly enjoy these pieces. The Esterházy Trio explores their character to the full, with animated and technically immaculate performances.
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
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