Patrick Demenga / Camerata Bern / Erich Höbarth

Haydn: Cello Concertos

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Few other pieces in any instrument's standard repertoire are surrounded by the same level of uncertainty and controversy as Haydn's Second Cello Concerto in D major. For decades, it was thought to be written not by "Papa" Haydn, but rather one of his many gifted students, Anton Kraft. Although an autographed score of Haydn was found some 50 years ago, there are still those who remain skeptical of its true authorship. The C major Concerto, by contrast, is unquestionably in Haydn's hand, although it was not discovered until 1961. Regardless of authorship questions, both concertos have become indispensable staples to cellists. The first is among the first concertos learned by talented students, while the second is found across the world's concert stages performed by the most impeccable virtuosos. This set on the Novalis label is performed by cellist Patrick Demenga with the Camerata Bern. Demenga's playing is light and nimble, with special attention paid to the sheer joy inherent in the score. Intonation is highly polished and his technique is more than ample to cleanly deliver the rapid and sometimes awkward passages of the second concerto, and to blaze through the finale of the first concerto with vivacious exuberance. His tone shies away from digging into the string, a fact that may turn away some listeners. But this light, brushed style perfectly matches the graceful, floating tone provided by the small chamber orchestra accompaniment.

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