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Works by Joseph & Michael Haydn

Přemysl Vojta, Fabrice Millischer; Haydn Ensemble Prague/Martin Petrák (Avi)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Michael & Joseph Haydn: Horn Concertos
J Haydn: Concerto per il Corno da caccia in D, Hob. VIId; M Haydn: Concerto per il Corno principale in D, MH 53; Concertino per il Corno e Trombone, MH 86; Concertino per il Corno in D, MH 134
Přemysl Vojta (horn), Fabrice Millischer (trombone); Haydn Ensemble Prague/Martin Petrák
Avi 8553146   64:34 mins

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This is complicated. The Horn Concerto, MH 53 was once tentatively ascribed to Joseph Haydn and has since been catalogued as by his younger brother Michael, but may be by neither. Similarly, the Concertino, MH 134 could be Michael’s hand-copy of a concerto by somebody else. Neither work is of any great substance, though the middle movement of MH 53 has a pleasing melancholy and the faster movements of both works make for cheerful listening.

The Concertino for Horn and Trombone, MH 86 actually comprises two movements from a longer serenade that definitely is by Michael Haydn, as is readily attested by the music’s more gracious invention and smoother, fuller textures. And while the Horn Concerto, Hob.VIId is listed in neither of Joseph Haydn’s handwritten catalogues, the score does survive in his manuscript and was probably composed around 1763 for Joseph Leutgeb who would later go on to launch Mozart’s four horn concertos. This is early Haydn, though the hushed tread of its slow movement is already characteristic. Yet the strongest reason for recommending this slightly iffy programme is the sound of it all. Přemysl Vojta is a glorious player: full-toned yet infinitely nuanced, long-breathed yet lithe in articulation. He is nicely matched in the Concertino, MH 134 by the agile alto trombone of Fabrice Millischer, while the 17-player Haydn Ensemble Prague under Martin Petrák responds with colour and precision in a warm and radiant recorded acoustic. This is an album which gives great pleasure, and Přemysl Vojta is a player who should be heard.

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Bayan Northcott