Haydn: Piano Concertos Nos 3, 4 & 11

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COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Haydn: Piano Concertos Nos 3, 4 & 11
WORKS: Keyboard Concertos No. 3 in F, No. 4 in G & No. 11 in D
PERFORMER: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano); Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács‑Nagy

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concertos, the D major, could be called a mature work, while several of the earlier ones once attributed to him have been exposed as spurious or doubtful, as Marc Vignal explains in oh-so exhaustive detail in his notes to this release. However, the authenticity of the concertos in F and G is secure. Composed for harpsichord in Haydn’s mid-30s, they may still retain vestiges of
the Baroque, but the tonally adventurous development section of the F major already tells of his emergent individuality, while the G major centres on a particularly expressive Adagio for muted strings. The spritely D major from around 1780, for fortepiano and orchestra including oboes and horns, is far more Classical in structure, with a
dashing Hungarian-style finale.

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Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s new readings on a bright-toned Yamaha concert grand are unfailingly crisp and vivacious, if with idiosyncrasies. He emulates the pioneering efforts of the mid-20th century pianist Friedrich Gulda to recapture the spontaneities of 18th-century performance practice, decorating the aria-like Largo of the F major Concerto somewhat relentlessly, adding a cadenza of his own, hinting at Gulda’s equal eminence in jazz. Elsewhere, however, his rapport with Gábor Takács-Nagy and the sensitised strings of the excellent Manchester Camerata is complete. Bayan Northcott