Franz Joseph Haydn
Complete Harspichord Concertos, Divertimenti & Concertini
Musica Antiqua Amsterdam
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Monica Huggett, violin
Reinhard Goebbel, violin
Alda Stuurop, violin
Charles Medlam, cello
Ton Koopman, harpischord and conduction
Although Franz Joseph Haydn is no longer known only for being the inventor of the string quartet and of the symphony (as he is considered by a simplistic tradition that should be revised) and also the mythical figure of the affable “papà Haydn” is undergoing a redefinition, many of his minor compositions are still ignored or unknown. Those divertimenti, concertos and concertini for harpsichord that you can find in the double disc by Ton Koopman make no exception, considering that only some of them have been widely circulated. It may also happen that these have been performed on the piano, instead of the original instrument for which they were written, and have become famous in this fashion.
In this recording, you find a collection of these compositions, which were usually performed privately by gallant ladies or students who enjoyed their sentimental spirit. Most of the compositions for harpsichord is generally tripartite in fast-slow-fast or fast-slow-minuet tempos, but sometimes there are also two-movement compositions.
Koopman’s execution is animated and spontaneous, even amused, though the harpsichord used here has not at all a pleasant sound, especially during slow tempos, where it gives the impression to be a musical box rather than an instrument, with an unpleasant effect. This is less annoying in fast tempos or when the sound of the harpsichord is mixed with the orchestra, which for its part is pleasant and sometimes even lulling, so that the final result, which I do not hesitate to consider a good one, does not suffer too much of this one but unfortunately insurmountable flaw.