Violin Concertos in C, D and F
Lena Neudauer (violin); Southwest German Chamber Orchestra
CPO 555 381-2 58:54 mins
Received wisdom tends to suggest that in the age of Haydn and Mozart, no other music apart from theirs is really worth bothering about, because if it were, we’d be hearing it more often. This may be broadly true, but only up to a point. While the Bohemian-born Antonio Rosetti’s violin concertos are not in Mozart’s league, on this evidence their quality deserves more than just specialist interest. These three were written (in the reverse order of their catalogue numbering) in the late 1770s for successive leaders of the Oettingen-Wallerstein court orchestra where Rosetti was then director.
As it happens, the first two movements of the C major Concerto feature the stiffest and dullest music, which turns out to be untypical: the finale has genuine sparkle, as do the quick outer movements of the other two works (the intercut slower and quicker sections of the F major Concerto’s closing Rondo throw up some likeable surprises), while the D major Concerto’s slow central movement has much lyrical poise and charm.
The performances respond in classy style: Lena Neudauer is a warmly expressive soloist with a firm, rounded tone and super-precise articulation, and the accompanying support is crisp without being over-dry.