The three surviving violin concertos of Haydn frequently take a backseat to other concertos in the instrument's repertoire. This is a puzzling state of affairs, for while Haydn's concertos may not have the sweep and grandeur of Beethoven's concertos and the Romantic works written after him, they are deceptively challenging to performers and in the right hands can bring audiences to their feet. The C and A major concertos were likely written for a violin virtuoso who, like Haydn, was in the employ of the Esterhazys. The extended range of the solo part and higher technical demands, especially as compared to the G major Concerto, support this and continue to make these works a challenge to perform cleanly even today. To the delight of listeners, violinist Augustin Hadelich possesses not only the refined technical abilities necessary to execute these concertos, but also the musical clarity and youthful exuberance that elevate these works to their appropriate status. His playing is crisp and energetic, filled with appropriately and successfully taken risks; although the cadenzas he composed for each of the concertos are somewhat more on the Romantic side, they still retain Haydn's overall concept and do not get in the way of the flow of the works. His lucid tone and brilliant articulation is matched measure for measure by the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, which not only supplies a solid background, but equally exciting and engaging orchestral tuttis.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Violin Concerto No. 1 in C major, H. 7a/1|
|Violin Concerto in A major ("Melker Konzert"), H. 7a/3|
|Violin Concerto in G major, H. 7a/4|