Haydn: Keyboard Concerto in G, Hob. XVIII:4; Keyboard Concerto in D, Hob. XVIII:11; Concerto in F for Violin & Keyboard, Hob. XVIII:6

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Haydn
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Keyboard Concerto in G, Hob. XVIII:4; Keyboard Concerto in D, Hob. XVIII:11; Concerto in F for Violin & Keyboard, Hob. XVIII:6
PERFORMER: Andreas Staier (piano); Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/Gottfried von der Goltz (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: HMC 901854
Haydn was no virtuoso player in the mould of Mozart or Beethoven, and his keyboard concertos occupy only a marginal place in his output. The best of them, and the most familiar, is the one in D major, with its gypsy-style final rondo. Most recordings couple it with Haydn’s two other authentic solo concertos, but Andreas Staier replaces the F major work with an early double concerto in the same key for keyboard and violin, in which he’s ably partnered by the leader of the fine Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Gottfried von der Goltz. The piece is somewhat discursive, though its slow movement has the two soloists attractively duetting to a gentle background of pizzicato string chords. While the double-concerto format renders large-scale cadenzas impracticable, Staier’s fantasy-style cadenzas in the solo works are actually so elaborate that they threaten to overshadow the remainder. That said, the performances themselves are splendidly alert, and Staier is admirably expressive in the minor-mode passages that cast such long shadows over the G major Concerto. It’s unfortunate, though, that he plays the minor-mode middle section of the D major’s gypsy finale so much slower than the surrounding material that the unity of the piece is disrupted. In what’s still my favourite account of the piece, Emanuel Ax tears into this passage with such gusto that you can almost hear the roar of the campfire. But Staier’s well-recorded disc is one that can confidently be recommended. Misha Donat

Advertisement