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ClassicsOnline Home » HOFMANN: Cello Concertos
From that time he appears to have moved to a house just outside Vienna and became something of a recluse. His final catalogue of works was vast and included around 30 Masses and a considerable number of concertos and sinfonias.
As a person he was thought by some to be arrogant, yet he was to prove a most persuasive teacher, and in 1773 won the Vienna Gold Medal, which, if contemporary reports are correct, would have designated him as the outstanding composer in Austria at that time.
Recent reassessment of his output places him as a major figure in 18th century compositions that has been overshadowed by Haydn and Mozart.
During the peak of his output, from 1765 to 1774, he composed over sixty concertos, for diverse instruments, including six for cello. Why he wrote them - in those days composers usually worked with someone in mind, often themselves -is uncertain. We do know that the celebrated cellist, Luigi Boccherini, was in Vienna at that time, and the virtuoso cellist, Joseph Weigl, was a member of Hofmann's orchestra at St. Peter's. Either could have been the reason.
They were obviously written for outstanding musicians with a high degree of virtuosity. Even more important, for that era, was the quality of the accompaniment, which was often of symphonic status. Nowhere is that more in evidence than the opening movement of the C major concerto which ends this disc. It is a work that Haydn would have been overjoyed to compose. Certainly there was no one at this time writing such outstanding music for the cello, an instrument that was not particularly popular, and was seen, at best, as having a role as a continuo instrument giving a bass to the orchestra.
Tim Hugh studied with the distinguished cellist, Aldo Parisot, at Yale in the United States, before returning to England where he read Medicine and Physical Anthropology at Cambridge University. During his medical training he also studied the cello with Jacqueline Du Pré and William Pleeth. Since 1995 he has combined his appointment as joint Principal Cellist of the London Symphony Orchestra with a solo career that has taken him on many overseas tours with the BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Leipzig Radio Symphony and the London Symphony. He has performed with all the major orchestras in the UK, and his enthusiasm for chamber music has led to membership of two ensembles, Domus and the Solomon Trio. He has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings for Naxos, the American record magazine, Fanfare, commenting, "Tim Hugh has unquestionably set the benchmark in the Arthur Bliss Cello Concerto", and when reviewing the Britten Cello Suites they added, "I don't expect to hear these performances bettered".
Northern Sinfonia is acknowledged as one of Europe's finest chamber orchestras, and is the major provider of orchestral music in the North East of England. It gives over 100 concerts in the area each year, and its many overseas tours have taken it to all parts of the world, including the United States, South America, Japan and throughout Western Europe. It has made a considerable number of highly acclaimed recordings, and is a very frequent broadcaster. Jean-Bernard Pommier is the present Artistic Director, and on disc they are also closely associated with their Honourary Guest Conductor, Richard Hickox. In the year 2001 they will have a new concert hall in the UK's most ambitious arts complex outside of London. In 1994 the orchestra embarked on an eighteen disc contract with Naxos covering music from Handel to compositions of the present century.
Made in All Saints Church, Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, in June 1996.
There are no alternative versions.
This disc is performed from new editions of the works by Dr. Allan Badley, using archive scores held in German and Austrian libraries. The new scores and parts are available from Artaria Editions Ltd. This is a rare venture in the recording industry where a publisher and recording company have from the outset worked in cooperation to produce music and a sound recording.
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HOFMANN: Cello Concertos