Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has been working his way through Haydn Sonatas for Chandos and now joins an orchestra for these three Concertos. This may not be Haydn at his greatest (as is to be found in the numerous Symphonies, String Quartets, Piano Trios and those Sonatas), but each of the nine movements here is enjoyable and reflects Haydn’s remarkable ability to write music that is consistently fresh, inventive and thoroughly captivating.
Never more so than here, for the Manchester Camerata and Gábor Takács-Nagy (the founder of the Takács Quartet) offer stylish, detailed and dynamic support to Bavouzet, and he is the absolute master of the solo parts, playing with relish, imagination, a range of touch and volume, and with devotion and affection, pointing up with crispness and shapeliness Haydn’s urbanity and his delicious surprises; and it’s Bavouzet who contributes the cadenzas, each a winner.
The slow movements are full of beguiling expression, not least that in the F major Concerto, a song without words, opening with a beautiful violin solo from Giovanni Guzzo, and the finales fizz along with irrepressible brio, especially the familiar, joyfully scampering ‘Rondo all’Ungherese’ that closes the D major example with such memorable tunefulness and élan. The opening movements tend to be unhurried and welcoming and full of good things.
These are marvellous performances of very agreeable music and the sound quality is ideally balanced between soloist and ensemble and also between warmth and clarity.