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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Joseph HAYDN
Complete Cello Concertos

Cello Concerto in D major (Hob VIIb:2)
Cello Concerto in D major (Hob VIIb:4)
Cello Concerto in C major (Hob VIIb:1)

Cologne Chamber Orchestra / Helmut Müller-Brühl with Maria Kliegel (cello)
(recorded at Deutschland Radio, Cologne, 22–25 May 2000)
NAXOS 8.555041 [75:27]

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Naxos discs not only offer remarkable value for money but are also invariably accompanied by a richly informative booklet (especially when, as on this occasion, Keith Anderson’s familiar hand is at work). Here, the long-disputed question of the authenticity of cello concertos attributed to Haydn is addressed with convincing authority. That Haydn did compose the first of the above-named D major concertos was firmly established in 1953. The earlier C major concerto, long thought to have been lost, came to light in 1961, and now has an equally assured place in the repertoire.

Doubts still remain about the other D major concerto, principally because one of the four surviving original scores is attributed to someone else and also because of its allegedly uncharacteristic weaknesses. One of these – conventional sequential patterns – is particularly noticeable in the finale, but does it really matter who wrote the work? For, if not by Haydn, it’s certainly Haydnesque and it contains a slow movement of heart-warming beauty.

Maria Kliegel delivers wonderful performances of both this and the two ‘established’ concertos, notable especially for warmth of tone and impeccable style. Most of all I savoured the tantalising rubato which she brings to the cadenzas (but were they Haydn’s originals – I think we should have been told). She also clearly enjoys exceptional rapport with Müller-Brühl and the much-acclaimed Cologne Chamber Orchestra, which is in sparkling form throughout. The recording quality is no less exceptional: natural sound, perfect balance.

In short, this disc is an absolute winner.

Adrian Smith

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