Wolfgang Bauer

Joseph & Michael Haydn: Trumpet Concertos

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The cover of this disc, with its commonplace billing of trumpet concertos by Josef and Michael Haydn, gives little indication of how fresh it really is. To judge from the included picture of trumpeter Wolfgang Bauer holding his instrument, the trumpet used is a replica of those of the Haydns' time, a model with keys protruding to one side. It might have been nice to hear a little more about the specific instrument involved, but generally this is a superb period-instrument recording, distinguished by its unusual program. In the famed Franz Josef Haydn Concerto for trumpet and orchestra in E flat major, the trumpet has virtues similar to those of period keyboards: its sound is less smooth but more detailed than those of modern instruments, with sharp, martial articulations in outer movements and an intriguing, slightly raw tone in the central Andante. Next comes a short trumpet concerto by Michael Haydn, but the real surprise is the subsequent Michael Haydn Serenade, a speculative reconstruction of a work that, following a procedure of the era, included interpolations of movements external to the newly composed orchestral music. Thus in the midst of a sequence of short divertimento movements come one movement for bassoon and orchestra and another for clarino and orchestra, played by Bauer on the trumpet used for the other works. The effect carries a suggestion of a school orchestra concert, with soloists taking the stage in turn. The program concludes with a brisk performance by the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn of the Franz Josef Haydn Symphony No. 83 in G minor, "The Hen" -- placing the Haydn symphony, as it would have been in his own time, amidst a group of lighter works rather than sequestering it on a higher abstract philosophical plane. A consistently interesting and (as usual with MDG) beautifully recorded disc, attractive for the casual listener and the serious enthusiast alike.

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