COMPOSERS: (Franz) Joseph Haydn
ALBUM TITLE: Haydn
WORKS: Cello Concerto in D; Cello Concerto in C; Symphony No. 13 – Adagio Cantabile; Violin Concerto in C – Adagio (arr. Gomziakov)
PERFORMER: Pavel Gomziakov (cello); Orquestra Gulbenkian/Erik Heide
CATALOGUE NO: ONYX 4151
As Pavel Gomziakov discloses, his instrument arrived for this Haydn recording under police escort. It happened to be the splendid ‘Chevillard, King of Portugal’ 1725 Strad. Kept in the Historical Museum of Lisbon, this fabulous instrument hasn’t been played regularly for a century, so his achievement in coaxing it to life is impressive indeed. Like old wine, it has depth, complexity, unpredictability, range and radiance, displaying both the ‘covered’ quality of a truly great instrument and a penetrating power of projection.
Russian-trained, Gomziakov completed his studies in Paris and exudes easy sophistication and grace. Those who encountered him playing Chopin’s Cello Sonata with Maria João Pires (DG, 2009) will find a musician who has developed real individuality. He leads the Orquestra Gulbenkian in a breezy C major Concerto, though he flattens out the jaunty opening phrase by lengthening the dotted rhythm and making it smoothly legato. The first movement cadenza (by Natalia Gutman) is a very Russian riot of extravagant virtuosity, the Adagio touchingly tender. Haydn’s Eszterházy cellist at this time, Joseph Weigl, must have been a performer of lyrical brilliance if the beautiful Adagio cantabile of Symphony No. 13 here is anything to go by. In Gomziakov’s hands the Concerto in D has a stately elegance, which, though pleasing, perhaps misses some excitement: the Allegro moderato feels particularly spacious (and is a good two minutes longer than most). Its rondo finale swings peacefully by, enlivened by Gomziakov’s delicate ornaments and octaves that tingle with precision.