Haydn – Cello Concertos & Minuets

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WORKS: Cello Concertos, Hob.VIIb Nos 1 & 2; Minuets Nos 1, 6 & 11
PERFORMER: Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra/ Ivan Monighetti (cello)

Ivan Monighetti made one of the most highly praised period instrument recordings of Haydn’s two Cello Concertos in the late 1990s for Harmonia Mundi with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Here he joins forces with the modern instrument Polish Sinfonia Iuventus and the results are equally invigorating. 
Both soloist and orchestra are fervently alive to the inventiveness and unpredictability of Haydn’s musical imagination. In the C major, Monighetti secures a tremendously vibrant opening orchestral tutti, capturing to perfection throughout the movement the music’s elegance and grandeur.

The Adagio is no less affecting, Monighetti’s wonderfully nuanced phrasing of the solo part matched by an equally sensitive response from the orchestra, whilst the Allegro molto is projected at an ideal tempo which enables the fast passage work to sound clear, incisive and witty. Similar qualities abound in the warmly spacious account of the D major Concerto. Monighetti’s rustic approach to the Finale is particularly appealing, and the three Minuets which frame the Concertos are absolutely delightful.


All in all these beautifully recorded performances can be confidently recommended to anyone wishing to hear outstanding playing from one of Rostropovich’s most charismatic pupils. Two potential drawbacks however are the disc’s rather short duration and Monighetti’s rather wacky cadenzas. With their quotations from Beethoven (Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, as well as the Violin Concerto) and Dvoπák, they may sound amusing on first acquaintance, but the humour is likely to wear rather thin on repeated listening. Erik Levi