its sounds which are dark and mysterious, soft and delicate,
rough or sensual, the violoncello has created its own space
over time which has become ever more important, and today, even
more than yesterday, it presents itself to the world as an instrument
of great contemporary relevance. The violoncello is here proposed
in the form of works by Haydn which are now placed in the pantheon
for Violoncello and Orchestra n. 1 in C Major (Hob.Vllb:1).
I. Moderato. II. Adagio. III. Allegro Molto.
concerto in C major was composed between 1761 and 1761 when
Haydn was the chapel master to the Princes Esterhazy. Haydn
may have written it for his friend, the cellist Joseph Franz
Weigl (born in Bavaria 19.3.1740 died in Vienna 25.1.1820) who
with Haydn's backing and support joined the orchestra in 1761.
Haydn wrote solo parts in his first symphonies for Weigl and
this latter stayed with Prince Esterhazy until 1769 when he
moved to Vienna to play Italian opera with the orchestra of
the Teatro di Corte. Forgotten about for at least two hundred
years, this concerto was rediscovered in 1961 by the musicologist
Oldrich Pulkert who found a manuscript copy which comes from
the eighteenth century (the Prague National Museum, Fond Radenin).
Before that date its existence was known about only through
a list drawn up by Haydn himself the "Entwurf Katalog". The
first edition, which was published in Musica Viva Historica
XII, Artia, is dated Prague 1963. The musical arrangement brings
out the care and the interest shown by Haydn in seeking to emphasise
the solo skills of the violoncello player. The orchestra composition
is normal for this kind of music and involves in addition to
the usual string instruments two oboes and two horns. The first
movement (moderato) opens in a lively and aggressive way. The
entrance of the soloist is preceded by a soft moment. In the
central part the cellist, who is supported and followed by the
orchestra, is given the opportunity to demonstrate both his
gifts as a virtuoso and those of the "intepreter" of the different
episodes which are brilliant, ariose and rousing in character
and which intersperse the whole movement. The second movement
(in F major) (adagio) enables us to encounter the dreaming Haydn
of his first period. In the delicacy of the accompaniment and
the orchestral interventions, the soloist demonstrates to the
utmost his potential for expression, exploiting to the full
the warm range of his instrument and helped by a melodic line
which is so beautiful that once heard it can never be forgotten.
After the dream feelings, the "Finale" (allegro molto) hits
us like a shock. Sparkling, openly joyous, and explicit in the
expressions of virtuosity of the soloist who is followed by
the orchestra with equal and necessary levels of excellence
this is a fitting conclusion to one of Haydn's most beautiful
for Violoncello and Orchestra n.2 in D Major (Hob. Viib:2).
I. Allegro moderato. II Adagio. III. Rondo Allegro.
years have passed since the first concerto composed by Haydn.
But these are other times, with other forms and tastes. The
musical trends of the time have undergone a radical change.
The Baroque is dead. Classicism has gained a great deal of ground
but at the same time it is also characterised by a certain shallowness.
Much seems to have been developed by Classicism simply in order
to achieve a "performance" devoted exclusively to entertainment.
This concerto in D major was discovered at the end of the nineteenth
century in the form of a handwritten score signed by Joseph
Haydn himself and bearing the date 1783. This piece was probably
written for Anton Krafft (1749 1820) who at that time was the
first cellist in the orchestra of Prince Esterhazy and who was
to become one of the greatest virtuosos of Vienna. It should
be pointed out that this concerto is one of the very few works
belonging to Haydn's collection of concertos for virtuosos which
in its style makes concessions to the final "classical Viennese"
period. The "kind" lyricism of the first long movement (allegro
moderato) constitutes an opportunity for the violoncello to
display its characteristics and qualities and for the soloist
to demonstrate his capacities as a virtuoso. In the adagio,
which is a calm melodic line which invites us to engage in meditation
and reflection, we find once again the precise connotation of
this instrument as it was felt by Haydn in the approach he had
to its technical and expressive resources. The soloist feels
called upon to engage in a subjective identification with his
instrument given that he has all the suitable material at hand
to do so. "A great finale and everyone goes home happy!" such
seems to be Haydn's intention as expressed in the allegro which
is brilliant but at times also aggressive and invasive. The
beginning of this section is characterised by a simple and pleasing
theme which brings an old popular English song to mind. This
theme, changed and developed in various forms, is to be found
throughout the unfolding of the movement.