Haydn: Organ Concertos

Iain Quinn organ, Sophie Gent violin, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen
Chandos CHAN 20118

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These works date mainly from early in Haydn’s career and were probably written for performance at Esterházy. The modest demands on the organ, just manuals not pedals, mean that the works are all eminently playable on the harpsichord or fortepiano, although the pieces recorded here sound nicely at home on the organ. Particularly charming is a concerto Hob. XVIII:6 for violin, organ and strings in which the two soloists share the spotlight very equally. As the programme note suggests the plausible total of six concertos for organ by Haydn, it is odd that while we have three recorded here, a fourth is available for download – surely we were looking at a potential double album with all the concerti? Arcangelo play modern instruments, although the strings are gut-strung and the bowing and phrasing are of the period. Although this music is very affable, as with much early Haydn I’m afraid I find it rather bland and notwithstanding fine playing from the soloists and the ensemble I found myself drifting off. Lovers of Haydn’s music will warm to this more than I did, and it does fill a useful gap for me in my appreciation of the composer’s early output.

D. James Ross

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