HAYDN: Piano Concertos Nos. 4, 7, 9 and 11 (Camerata Cassovia/ Hae Won Chang/ Karol Kopernicky/ Robert Stankovsky) (Naxos: 8.550713)
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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Piano Concerto in F Major, Hob. XVIII: 7
Piano Concerto in G Major, Hob. XVIII: 4
Piano Concerto in G Major, Hob. XVIII: 9
Piano Concerto in D Major, Hob. XVIII: 11
Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the sonof a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St. Stephen'sCathedral in Vienna, he spent some years earning a living as best he could from teachingand playing the violin or keyboard, and was able to learn from the old musician Porpora,whose assistant he became. Haydn's first appointment was in 1759 as Kapellmeister to aBohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by employment asVice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy,succeeded on his death in 1762 by his brother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of theelderlyand somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, toremain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.
On the completion of the magnificent palace at Esterhaza, inthe Hungarian plains under the new Prince, Haydn assumed command of an increased musicalestablishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, whichincluded the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, andmusic for the church. For his patron he provided a quantity of chamber music of all kinds,particularly for the Prince's own peculiar instrument, the baryton, a bowed stringinstrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.
On the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790, Haydn was able toaccept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concert seasonorganized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successful visit to London in 1794and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterhazy family, the new head ofwhich had settledprincipally at the family property in Eisenstadt, where Haydn had started his career. Muchof the year, however, was to be spent in Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dyingin 1809, as the French armies of Napoleon approached the city yet again.
The concertos of Haydn have survived only in part and it was aform that he seems, perhaps for practical reasons, to have favoured less. In addition tothe three surviving violin concertos, a horn concerto, the two cello concertos and a setof five concertos for lira organizzata written in 1786-7 for the King of Naples, thereremain five keyboard concertos so described and eight smaller scale works for harpsichord,two violins and cello, known either under the title Concertino
or Divertimento, the latter composed duringthe earlier part of Haydn's career, either during his period of service with Count vonMorzin or during his first years at Eisenstadt with the Esterhazys. A number of otherconcertos of various kinds have been ascribed to Haydn, these with greater or lesserdegrees of probability.
The authenticity of the Concertoin F major, Hob. XVIII: 7, apparently for organ or harpsichord, has beendoubted. The work was written by 1766 and was attributed in a manuscript copy toWagenseil, its outer movements versions of a Divertimento
or Partita attributed to Haydn andapparently composed about 1760. Whatever the circumstances of its composition, theconcerto is a delightful work, with all the spirit and clarity of its period.
The Concerto in G major,Hob. XVIII: 4, comes from a later period, scored for harpsichord or fortepianoand strings with pairs of oboes and horns as required. It was written by 1781 and in spiteof its undoubted authenticity fell under suspicion from contemporary critics, since thename of Haydn was now being used unscrupulously by ambitious publishers and promoters. Ithas been suggested that this concerto, a work of obvious charm, was written for the blindpianist Maria Theresia Paradis, for whom Salieri and later Mozart wrote concertos. Asecond G major Concerto, Hob. XVIII: 9,written by 1767, is of more doubtful origin, whatever its clear attractions,characteristic enough of the composer to whom it was ascribed. Its first movement, whichopens with a forty bar orchestral exposition before the entry of the soloist, includesidiomatic keyboard writing in its syncopation and triplet semiquaver figuration. It isfollowed by a G minor slow movement and a cheerful final Tempo di Minuetto.
The best known of all keyboard concertos either attributed toor indisputably by Haydn is the Concerto in D major,Hob. XVIII: 11, designed for harpsichord or fortepiano and written at some timebetween 1780 and 1783. It is scored for the usual orchestra of two oboes, two horns andstrings and appeared in a variety of editions in 1784 and thereafter. The openingorchestral exposition is entrusted to violins and violas, later joined by the wholeorchestra before the entry of the soloist. The A major slow movement gives an opportunityfor the display of some virtuosity and is followed by a lively and inventive HungarianRondo, with episodes that suggest the Turkish fashion explored by Mozart in his A majorViolin Concerto.
The Camerata Cassovia is the chamber ensemble of the SlovakState Philharmonic Orchestra which is based in the Eastern Slovakian town of Koice.
The orchestra was founded in 1968 and has toured widely within Europe and the Far East.
Robert Stankovsky was born in Bratislava, the capital ofSlovakia, in 1964, and after a childhood spent in the study of the piano, recorder, oboeand clarinet, turned his attention, at the age of fourteen, to conducting, graduating inthis and in piano at the Bratislava Conservatory with the title of best graduate of theyear. Stankovsky is regarded as one of the best conductors of the younger generation inCzecho-Slovakia. For Marco Polo Stankovsky has recorded symphonies by Rubinstein andMiaskovsky in addition to orchestral works by Dvorak and Smetana.
Hae-won Chang was born in Korea in the city of Seoul andstarted to play the piano at the age of six, completing her professional studies at EwhaUniversity in Seoul r in 1963. From 1964 until 1968 she studied at the FrankfurtMusikhochschule with Professor Leopolder on a German government scholarship and wasawarded her diploma as a concert pianist. On her return to Korea she was appointedprofessor of piano at her old university.
In Korea Hae-won Chang won various prizes, including firstprize in the 1960 Korean National Piano Competition. Her career as a concert pianist beganthree years earlier, in 1957, when she played Beethoven's C minor Piano Concerto with theSeoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then she has enjoyed a busy career as a teacher and asa performer in Korea, in other Asian countries, in America and in Europe, with annualconcert tours and engagements at home and abroad. She has appeared as a soloist with majororchestras and in recitals with Ruggiero Ricci, Christian Ferras, Renata Tebaldi, FrancoCorelli, Aaron Rosand, Andre Navarra and others. She has performed as a soloist atnumerous music festivals, including the Paris Chateau de Breteuil Festival, the NationalMusic Festival in Korea and the festival for the opening of the Sejong Cultural Centre andof the Goethe-Institut in Seoul. She has served on the Vianna da Motta Competition jury inLisbon. In 1985 she was acclaimed by the Music Critics' Circleof Korea as Musician of the Year, and won high praise in the German press forher technical accom