Ensemble Sans-Souci, Berlin

Haydn: Six Divertimenti

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Haydn's small divertimenti aren't a compact, institutionally associated group like his works in most other genres; he wrote them over his entire career, for various reasons. The group of six divertimenti here (the program is rounded out by a transcription of an earlier baryton trio) were published in 1784, and they represent the fruits of Haydn's decision that if he couldn't beat the numerous pirates who were publishing his chamber works all over Europe, he might as well join them. They were written for two violins and cello and intended for an English publisher, who was cognizant of the large market for flute music in that country and specified flute, violin, and cello as an alternate instrumentation. The pieces work well with these forces, and some of them might even be more desirable than with the two-violin ensemble; they have a bit more heft than the divertimenti composed purely for domestic use at Esterháza, and the flute brings this out. Consider the finale of the Divertimento in G major, Hob. 4/7, which feels like a little symphony movement. Haydn builds these little works out of pieces like that, with some lovely slow movements, filling them out with repurposed dances and melodies from operas and the like that had never been heard outside of Esterháza. The result is a satisfying set of small pleasures to which the Ensemble Sans Souci Berlin, performing on instruments related to Haydn's era, are fully attuned; these are quiet, witty performances that do justice to these little-known works. CPO's engineers, working in a small theater in the town of Eitorf (near Cologne), deliver a natural, authentic sound environment.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Six Divertimenti for flute, violin & violoncello, Hob. 4/6
1 2:54
2 4:06
3 1:57
Six Divertimenti for flute, violin & violoncello, Hob. 4/7
4 5:09
5 3:33
6 2:39
Six Divertimenti for flute, violin & violoncello, Hob.4/8
7 4:03
8 2:11
9 2:11
Six Divertimenti for flute, violin & violoncello, Hob.4/9
10 3:34
11 1:19
12 1:29
Six Divertimenti for flute, violin & violoncello, Hob. 4/10
13 5:16
14 2:03
15 1:04
Six Divertimenti for flute, violin & violoncello, Hob.4/11
16 4:42
17 1:42
18 2:05
Trio in D major, Hob. XI: 82
19 5:27
20 3:12
21 2:19
blue highlight denotes track pick