COMPOSERS: Joseph & Michael Haydn
LABELS: Berlin Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Felix Klieser Perform Horn Concertos by Joseph & Michael Haydn
WORKS: Horn Concertos
PERFORMER: Felix Klieser (horn); Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn/ Ruben Gazarian
CATALOGUE NO: 0300647BC
Simply listening to this recording, one would never guess that the young German soloist Felix Klieser was born without arms and plays the valves of his horn with the toes of his left foot while operating a muting device, where required, with his right. His tone is resonant and robust and his command of long-breathed phrasing and agile passage work equally impressive. The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra of Heilbronn under Ruben Gazarian accompanies with exactitude and attack in a cleanly recorded small hall ambience.
None of the works are masterpieces. Haydn’s early No. 1, composed for the virtuoso Joseph Leutgeb, who later worked with both Michael Haydn and Mozart – the latter teased him unmercifully – still retains elements of the Baroque, though its slow movement strikingly contrasts the horn’s high and low registers. No. 2, though equally energetic, may not be by Joseph at all, though the conjectural alternative attribution to Michael seems stylistically unlikely on the basis of the more relaxed, serenade-like charm of the genuine Michael Haydn Concertino heard here.
The Mozart Concerto is actually a ‘reconstruction’ – presumably by the Mozart scholar Robert Levin – of two incomplete movements written in 1780. The rondo second movement has quite a catchy opening idea, but the music is not really up to the level of the four canonical concertos Mozart wrote later for Leutgeb. Bayan Northcott