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ClassicsOnline Home » HAYDN, J.: Trumpet Concerto / Horn Concerto No. 1 / Keyboard Concerto in D Major / Double Concerto in F Major (Bruhl)
Haydn’s popular Trumpet Concerto is best known for its thrilling first movement cadenza and brilliant and inventive Rondo finale.The Horn Concerto No. 1 is also notable for the technical demands made on the soloist, not least the large octave leaps in the lower range of the instrument. The Harpsichord Concerto in D major is one of a group of such works apparently designed initially for the organ. The relatively extended and rarely recorded Double Concerto for Harpsichord, Violin and Strings is Haydn’s only surviving concerto for two solo instruments.
By Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics
By David Denton
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Trumpet Concerto • Horn Concerto No. 1 • Double Concerto • Harpsichord Concerto
Born in 1732 in the village of Rohrau, near the modern border between Austria and Slovakia, Joseph Haydn was the son of a wheelwright. He had his musical training as a chorister at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna and thereafter earned a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard. During these earlier years he was able to learn from the old composer Porpora, whose assistant he became. Haydn’s first regular employment came in 1759 as Kapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by appointment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, succeeded on his death in 1762 by his brother Prince Nicolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, remaining in the same employment, nominally at least, until his death in 1809.
Much of Haydn’s service of the Esterházys was at the new palace of Eszterháza on the Hungarian plains, a complex of buildings to rival Versailles in magnificence. Here he was responsible for the musical establishment and its activities, including regular instrumental concerts and music for the theatre, opera and church. For his patron he provided a variety of chamber music, in particular for the Prince’s favourite instrument, the baryton.
On the death of Prince Nicolaus in 1790 Haydn was able to accept an invitation from the violinist-impresario Salomon to visit London, where he already enjoyed a considerable reputation. He was in London for a second time in 1794 and 1795, after which he returned to duty with the Esterházy family, now chiefly at the family residence in Eisenstadt, where he had started his career. Much of the year, however, was passed in Vienna, where he spent his final years, dying as the city fell once more into the power of Napoleon’s army.
Of the possible half dozen concertos Haydn wrote for wind instruments only two survive. His Concerto per il corno di caccia in D major, Hob.VIId:3, was written in 1762, possibly for Mozart’s friend Joseph Leutgeb, for whom Mozart wrote his horn concertos. In 1760 Leutgeb had married in Vienna the daughter of an Italian cheesemonger, whose business he was to inherit, and in 1762 Haydn’s wife had stood godmother to their daughter, in the absence of her husband, who would at this point have been in Eisenstadt. The concerto, in any case, is written for a horn-player accustomed to the higher possible range of the instrument, as Leutgeb was. At the same time there are passages in the lower register that would have called for lip adjustment at a period when hand-stopping to produce notes outside the harmonic series was still unusual. The two oboes included with the strings in the instrumentation are silent in the Adagio, with its excursion into the very lowest range of the horn, but return for the cheerful final Allegro.
The inspiration for Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major, Hob.VII1:1, which he completed in 1796, was a newly modified instrument, the keyed trumpet. An earlier limitation of the Baroque clarino was its inability to play consecutive notes in a lower register, confined as it was to the notes of the harmonic series, widely spaced in the lower register and more closely adjacent in the higher. Experiments had been made with the further development of the slide trumpet, on the principle of the trombone, and of the technique of hand-stopping to adjust the pitch, as with the French horn. It was, however, the invention in 1793 of a more effective form of keyed trumpet by Anton Weidinger, a friend of Haydn and a member of the Vienna Court Orchestra since 1792, that offered even wider possibilities, coming after less successful experiments in Dresden in the 1770s. Keys, operated by the player’s left hand, were added to the instrument, covering holes which could each raise the pitch a semitone. The keyed trumpet was later replaced by the valve trumpet of 1813 and fell into disuse. Weidinger introduced the new instrument and Haydn’s concerto to Vienna in a benefit concert in 1800. The concerto starts with an orchestral exposition during which the soloist is provided with the means of warming up before the solo entry with the principal subject, later developed, and returning in recapitulation to lead to a virtuoso cadenza. French horns, orchestral trumpets and drums are not included in the scoring of the A flat major slow movement, with its effective use of the lower chromatic range of the keyed trumpet. The concerto ends with a brilliant rondo, witness both to Haydn’s unfailing powers of invention and to the technical prowess of Weidinger.
The Harpsichord Concerto in D major, Hob.XVIII:2, belongs to the earlier period of Haydn’s creative life, the 1750s, but is first mentioned in the Breitkopf catalogue of 1767. It is one of a group of such works apparently designed initially for the organ, as may be gathered from the keyboard range expected in the solo part, and consequently possibly for church use. Haydn’s own employment as an organist in various Vienna churches at this period strengthens the attribution. The original version seems to have been for organ and strings, although early versions exist with wind and timpani parts that are probably not by Haydn. It was, in any case, described in Haydn’s catalogue of his music as Concerto per il clavicembalo. The concerto was at one time attributed to Galuppi and it is not until the last movement that Haydn comes into his own.
Haydn’s only surviving concerto for two solo instruments, the Double Concerto in F major for Harpsichord, Violin and Strings, Hob.XVIII:6, was probably also intended originally for the organ. In later years Haydn himself seemed to remember it as having been written and performed for the solemn profession of Therese Keller, his future sister-in-law, as a nun in 1756. Others have preferred a slightly later date, presuming that Haydn had confused the work with the Organ Concerto in C major, Hob.XVIII:1, which was certainly played on that occasion. It appeared in the Breitkopf catalogue in 1766. The initial scoring for organ of what is a relatively extended work, is again suggested by the relatively limited range of the keyboard used, fitting Viennese organs of the period, while apparently avoiding notes possible on the contemporary harpsichord.
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HAYDN, J.: Trumpet Concerto / Horn Concerto No. 1 ...