Haydn: Notturni, Hob. II:25, 26 & 29-32

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WORKS: Notturni, Hob. II:25, 26 & 29-32
PERFORMER: Consortium Classicum/Dieter Klöcker
CATALOGUE NO: 999 741-2 ADD Reissue (1974)
King Ferdinand IV of Naples commissioned Haydn to write sets of concertos and notturni for two ‘lire organizzate’, a strange instrument, akin to a hurdy-gurdy, that flourished only in Naples. No examples survive, so Dieter Klöcker’s 1974 recording substitutes choir organs, which I find too rich and heavy a sound, though these are otherwise elegant, polished performances. Haydn later rescored the notturni for flute(s) and oboe and these versions are generally preferred nowadays, the best current recording being by Mozzafiato and L’Archibudelli on Vivarte. Though minor works, the notturni are full of vim and the slow movements exude a dreamy charm. Graham Lock