BBC Music Magazine
Haydn • Vivaldi
Haydn: Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2; Vivaldi; Concerto for Violin and Cello Christoph Croisé (cello); Eurasian Soloists Chamber Orchestra/ Sherniyaz Mussakhan (violin)
Avie AV 2402 57:37 mins
Think of Haydn and immediately symphonies, sting quartets, piano sonatas, choral works, even operas come to mind. Only as an afterthought, at least so far
as I am concerned, do concertos arrive. Haydn seems to have been more interested in the relations of groups of instruments – or for that matter groups of people – than the relationship between an individual and a group; that was Mozart’s territory, as was everything else.
I was surprised, checking out Haydn’s two cello concertos online, to see how many recordings of these mediocre pieces there are, presumably because so few composers, comparatively, have written concertos for this instrument. They are given the full pseudo-bravura treatment by Rostropovich, of course, and by Du Pré accompanied by Barenboim. Then gradually over the years historically-enlightened practices come in, and the concertos suffer accordingly. This new one has a period orchestra, the Eurasian Soloists Chamber Orchestra, and their director Sherniyaz Mussakhan conducts and plays the violin in the invigorating Vivaldi Concerto RV547 (so presumably an early work) which is all too brief, the whole being shorter than almost any single movement of the Haydn concertos.
Christoph Croisé can best be described as a digger-in among cellists, his first entry an astonishing thump. Later on he shows he can play with delicacy and charm, and the slow movements of the two Haydn works are enchanting, while the outer bustling movements sound machine-made. The recording is exceptionally clear and warm. Michael Tanner