Haydn: Violin Concertos
Haydn’s three surviving violin concertos – a fourth is lost – date from his earliest years in service to the Esterházy dynasty in the 1760s. Composed in late Baroque style, they hint only in passing at the composer to come. However, the solo writing is quite showy. Baroque specialist Giuliano Carmignola combines historical performance practice with spontaneous touches of colour to make the most of Haydn’s phrases. The Orchestre des Champs-Elysées match him in crispness and bounce.
Alas, its over-zealous continuo harpsichordist adds an acidic edge to every orchestral attack and ‘improvises’ in the slow movement of the C major Concerto, upstaging the serene cantilena of the solo violin. With relief one reverts to the fine recording of this work by Rachel Podger and the OAE (Channel Classics, reviewed in the Christmas issue, 2009). It shows no signs of intrusive twangle.