Budapest Chamber Symphony, Imre Rohmann, Kristóf Baráti Joseph Haydn: Anniversary Album 2009

BMCCD156 2009

Within Haydn’s oeuvre, rich in its panorama of genres, the concerto plays a subordinate role: the drama present in the concerto genre was, regardless of changing styles and fashions, quite alien to Haydn’s musical thinking. Most of the eleven violin concertos disseminated under Haydn’s name are the compositions of others. (Publishers often exploited Haydn’s name hoping for business success.) The large number of apocryphal and lost works is indicated by the list of works kept in Haydn’s own handwriting: this shows only three violin concerti, but amongst them appears another, currently unknown piece.

Miklós Dolinszky


Kristóf Baráti - violin (1-3)
Imre Rohmann - piano (4-6), conductor (1-12)

Budapest Chamber Symphony (Weiner-Szász Kamaraszimfonikusok)

Violin I:
Péter Somogyi
Spartakus Juniki
Éva Viniczai
Zsófia Járdányi
Orsolya Winkler

Violin II:
Szilvia Szigeti
Katalin Telbisz
Zoltán Tüske
Eszter Krulik

István Polónyi
Ágnes Apró
Gyöngyvér Mihályi
Csaba Gálfi

Piroska Molnár
Judit Gallai
András Kaszanyitzky

Double Bass:
István Lukácsházi

József Erős
László Nagy

Tamás Adamik
Gergő Kovács

Gábor Komlóssy
Balázs Winkler

Zénó Láng

About the album

Recording coproduced by Hungarian Radio
Associate producer: Zoltán Farkas
Organizer: Szilvia Ujhelyi
Recorded at Studio 22 of Hungarian Radio, September 2007
Recording producer: Péter Aczél
Balance engineer: Zoltán Pecze
Recording engineer: Miklós Lukács
Digital editing: Mariann Czéh

Conceived and managed by Mihály Szilágyi
Executive producer: Judit Réger-Szász
Photos: István Huszti
Artwork & design: Bachman

Produced by László Gőz in coproduction with Hungarian Radio
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

Recording supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary, Samsung Electronics Hungary and the Hungarian Development Bank


Pizzicato **** (de)

Molnár Szabolcs - Gramofon **** (hu)

Malina János - Revizor (hu)

café momus (hu)

László Ferenc - Magyar Narancs (hu)

Filip Viktória - (hu)

Czékus Mihály - (hu)

Heti Válasz (hu)

3500 HUF 11 EUR

Joseph Haydn Anniversary Album 2009

Joseph Haydn: Violin Concerto in A major "Melk", Hob. VIIa:3

01 I. Moderato 11:45
02 II. Adagio 5:15
03 III. Allegro 5:23

Joseph Haydn: Piano Concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII:11

04 I. Vivace 8:13
05 II. Un poco adagio 6:25
06 III. Rondo all’ungherese: Allegro assai 4:31

Joseph Haydn: Symphony in C major "Il distratto", Hob. I:60

07 I. Adagio – Allegro di molto 8:42
08 II. Andante 6:38
09 III. Menuetto e Trio 4:27
10 IV. Presto 3:02
11 V. Adagio (di Lamentazione) violin solo by Péter Somogyi, leader 3:54
12 VI. Finale: Prestissimo 1:40
Total time 69:55

The album is available in digital form at our retail partners

Text des Beihefts auf Deutsch - hier klicken
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Within Haydn’s oeuvre, rich in its panorama of genres, the concerto plays a subordinate role: the drama present in the concerto genre was, regardless of changing styles and fashions, quite alien to Haydn’s musical thinking. Most of the eleven violin concertos disseminated under Haydn’s name are the compositions of others. (Publishers often exploited Haydn’s name hoping for business success.) The large number of apocryphal and lost works is indicated by the list of works kept in Haydn’s own handwriting: this shows only three violin concerti, but amongst them appears another, currently unknown piece.

In any case, today’s public can be sure that the current recording features a violin concerto composed by Haydn: of the three authentic concerti mentioned one of the two extant ones is this very concerto, the A major. Its posthumous sobriquet was coined after its rediscovery in 1949 in Melk Abbey, whose library preserved one of the sources of the work. (The two horn and two, subsequently lost, oboe parts are not the composer’s, and are thus not heard on this recording.)

Haydn certainly did not compose concerti without knowing the soloist personally. Though it cannot be proven, it seems probable that Haydn’s violin concerti were tailored for the person of Luigi Tomasini, the first violinist of Nicolaus Esterházy’s orchestra.

At any rate, the solo part exploits all the possibilities of the instrument without the virtuosity being self-serving for one moment. This, however, is just a part of the stylistic tempe-rance characteristic of the work as a whole. In the opening movement the structure of a Baroque concerto built upon ritornelli is easily recognizable, as is the old-fashioned Da Capo form in the second (with the unchanged repeat of the first part of the movement), and in the third movement the contrapuntal minuet – customs that in traditional Austrian areas persisted for longer than in the open musical life of Europe’s western metropolises. These features match exactly the way of writing customary in the 1760s, and actually tell more accurately of the time the work was written than documents, which testify only that the A major Concerto was written before 1771.

The D major Piano Concerto seems to be worlds away from the Violin Concerto. The reason is to be sought less in the eleven or so years that separate them, and more in the immense process which can be described as the broadening of accessibility to music: the cities of modernizing Europe were witnessing the lightening development of a rich bourgeois class, whose members consumed more and more of the music provided to them as instrumentalists, music that could be played at home. In Haydn’s change of style we can track how composers now had to find the common denominator between the residential way of writing for the initiated, and a style, a ‘product’, for the wider amateur public, aiming to please all without distinctions of rank or culture. At the end of the day, the public expected the same from contemporary music as from the erudite bourgeois frequenting the salons: it should be clever, but never pedantic; light, but never superficial; it should be deep without our realizing it. The classic example of this light style, that strikes a fashionable note, of the lifestyle of the enlightened world citizen, the light sound of the Enlightenment, is the D major Piano Concerto from the beginning of the 1780s.

That the piece was the most widely played of Haydn’s concerti even in his own time is thanks to the last movement, which bears the inscription Rondo all’ungherese. As with many of the composer’s Ungherese-type pieces, here too we get an impression of what the Europe of the late 18th century considered “Hungarian” music, rather than of authentic Hungarian folk music: the rondo theme strikes a broadly exotic note, and is not based on melodies from any particular ethnic group.

The situation is different with the minor mode episode situated at the centre of the rondo: the “barbarianism” of this theme may understandably have evoked an image that spurred one contemporary critic to speak of a “Cossack dance”. Hungarian musicolo-gists have come across the sung equivalent of the melody in a comical Gypsy song (“Oh! Szegény fejem, már mit tsináljak” – Oh deary me, what shall I do) in the Singspiel György Czernyi (1812) to music by a folksong collector, Gábor Mátray. However, Croatian researchers see in Haydn’s theme a subtype of the Balkan kolo, a round dance. At any rate, that this may be a case of conscious use of material with a folk origin is all the more likely in the light of the D major Piano Sonata (Hob. XVI: 37), composed around the same time as the piano concerto, whose finale uses almost the same thematic root in the same key as a rondo episode.

The use of folk or popular music is just one possible way of introducing exoticism. In a broader sense one can consider as exotic all “alien” musical material, or compositional elements, that regardless of the unfolding of musical time “stick out” of the piece. In the Symphony No. 60 Haydn apparently consciously chooses the most exotic materials and procedures. Apart from this, even the number of movements jolts us out of the cyclical orderliness of the genre.

Is this a symphony at all? The question is not without relevance. We know that from the end of the 1760s, every summer a company of players was hosted at Nicolaus Esterházy’s residence. Between 1772 and 1779 Carl Wahr’s company played at Esterháza, and there are pressing reasons for supposing that Haydn’s symphonies were used as incidental music for these theatrical performances. The only tangible proof of this coope-ration is the 60th symphony itself, whose nickname comes from Jean-François Regnard’s (1655-1709) comedy Le Distrait, the piece in which it was used as an entr’acte. Might there be a link between the symphony’s astonishing avant-gardism and its theatrical function? This supposition is countered by the fact that the Symphony No. 59, no less bizarre and used as incidental music for Friedrich Wilhelm Grossmann’s play Die Feuerbrunst, can be proved to be much older than the theatre performance in 1774 (it was written in 1768).

It may reasonably be supposed, then, that in the case of Symphony No.60 too, Haydn used a previously-composed work as incidental music for the theatre. Yet if we imagine that a piece of music was played between all the acts of the five-act play, and at the beginning and end of the performance, we get the number of movements in the 60th Symphony, and it cannot then be ruled out that Haydn added extra movements to an early symphony for the sake of the stage play (bearing in mind that the orderly cycle of the first four movements forms a regular, independent symphony.)

This is, however, mere supposition. But it is true that the fast section of the symphony’s first movement shows how a picture can be painted of a distracted person using musical means: at one point it seems Haydn has forgotten what he wants to say, and “in embarrassment” repeats one single motive. The wind signals of the Andante, repeated like a refrain, also bespeak an “extramusical” programme. Later in the movement is heard a motive that in the symphony’s first edition was presented as an “old French melody”. The trio of the minuet features a peculiar music, of indeterminate exoticism. In the second half of the furioso fourth movement we hear motives probably deriving from Balkan folk music, pointing to Haydn’s multicultural environment at Esterháza. In one of the sources the true slow movement is designated Adagio di Lamentazione; musicologists have tried through research to find grounds for its religious atmosphere (seeking a Gregorian model) but in vain. The finale is the outer limit of exoticism: here Haydn composed the tuning of the violins. Hearing such joie de vivre and richness we cannot concur with the elderly Haydn, who disdainfully branded the work as outmoded when in 1803 the Kaiser expressed his wish that he should like to hear it.

Miklós Dolinszky
Translated by Richard Robinson 

Budapest Chamber Symphony
(Weiner–Szász Kamaraszimfonikusok)

The BCS was founded in 1992 by Judit Réger-Szász and can claim to be a unique orchestral formation in Hungary. Its aim is to present orchestral works as though they were chamber music, in the best Hungarian tradition. The artistic principals of the BSC come from the legacy of Leó Weiner and József Szász with a standard repertoire of the works of Bach, Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Stravinsky and Britten, as well as the Hungarian composers Bartók, Kodály, Liszt and Weiner. The BCS has premiered many works in Hungary from the Baroque period until the 20th century and has recorded and performed many works of contemporary Hungarian composers. The Hungarian Radio is the media sponsor of the BCS and regularly broadcasts its concerts and recordings as well as distributing them via the European Broadcasting Union’s program exchange.

The BCS’s recordings were released under the BMC, Echiquier, Gramy, Hungaroton, Mega Records and Tibor Varga Collection labels. These include composers’ CDs (Giovanni Bottesini, Fekete Gyula, Szőllősy András, Weiner Leó), performers’ CDs (János Bálint, Tamás Érdi, Zoltán Gyöngyössy, László Hadady, Gergely Járdányi) and compositions by Lajos Huszár, György Kurtág, József Sári, László Sáry and Zsolt Serei.

The BCS has represented Hungary on several cultural and diplomatic occasions, appeared in Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Thailand, performed for the King of Spain, and the Emperor of Japan. It has worked with such outstanding musicians as Mario Cioli, Isabelle Faust, Kim Kashkashian, Cyprien Katsaris, András Keller, Zoltán Kocsis, Alexander Lonquich, Elsbeth Moser, Miklós Perényi, Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian, Victor Pikayzen, László Polgár, Thomas Riebl, Andrea Rost, György Sebők, János Starker, Sándor Végh, Cantemus Mixed Choir, Trio Wanderer, and the Vienna Boys Choir.

The orchestra’s Europe via Music, On Serenades’ Wings, and Echoes of the Renaissance series with Hungarian Radio won public and critical acclaim not only in Hungary but also in several member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. Now the orchestra performs all Haydn’s named symphonies in a series ending in 2010, whose 30 concerts are recorded by Hungarian Radio.

The BCS is directed by an artistic board whose members are: Judit Réger-Szász – founding president, Imre Rohmann – pianist, conductor (Salzburg), Gábor Takács-Nagy (Geneva), Spartakus Juniki and Péter Somogyi – orchestra leaders, and Mihály Szilágyi – artistic manager.

The BCS is proud to attract financial support from Samsung Electronics Hungary Plc.(main sponsor); Hungarian Development Bank – MFB Plc. (subscription series main sponsor); Hungarian Aluminum Ltd., Hunviron Plc. (sponsors), the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Cultural Fund, the City of Budapest and the Leó Weiner Foundation.

Imre Rohmann was born in Budapest, Hungary, and started playing the piano at the age of four. He studied piano and composition at the Bartók Conservatory, and later piano and chamber music at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest with Kornél Zempléni, Ferenc Rados, György Kurtág, András Mihály and Albert Simon. In 1980-81 he conducted with Karl Österreicher at the Music Academy in Vienna. He also took part in master classes of Jörg Demus.

He won the Special Prize of the Hungarian Radio’s Piano Competition, Third Prize of the International Liszt–Bartók Competition in Budapest, Hungary and First Prize of the International Chamber Music Competition in Bloomington, USA.

Since 1974 he has performed internationally as a soloist with the orchestras Dresdner Staatskapelle, the Dresdner Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Budapest Symphony, the Liszt Chamber Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Ljubjana etc., and with partners such as Eugen Jochum, Péter Eötvös, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Jörg Demus, Thomas Riebl, András Keller, Stefan Ruha, Miklós Perényi, Erich Höbarth, Thomas Zehetmair, András Schiff, the Bartók String Quartet, Pro Arte Quartett, Chicago Symphony Chamber Players and many others. He has formed a piano-duo with his wife, Tünde Kurucz in 1985.

He has been piano professor at the Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, and since 1990 at the Mozarteum in Salzburg where he recently lives. Since his first visit to Japan 1976, he has appeared there nearly every year as pianist and leads master-classes. (e.g. Toho Gakuen University, Showa University.) Since 2001 he has been a guest-professor of the University of Alcala de Henares, in Spain.

He was invited to give master-classes at the International Bartók Seminar in 1986, and also in the following 15 years, continuing this work in 2006. He was one of the initiators for the establishing of the Auer Summer Academy for Music in Veszprém, Hungary.

He has published his own transcriptions through Edition Simonffy (Bach, Johann Strauss, Stravinsky, Richard Strauss etc.). He arranged the piano-reduction of Péter Eötvös’s Piano Concerto for Schott in 2006. He has made recordings for Hungaroton, Denon, BMC, Preiser Records. Since 2002 he has regularly conducted the Budapest Chamber Symphony.

Kristóf Baráti was born in Budapest in 1979 into a family of musicians (his mother is a violinist, his father a cellist). He spent a large part of his childhood in Venezuela and, at the age of 8, gave a concert with the Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra. He began studying violin with his mother and Emil Friedman in Caracas, then he studied with Miklós Szenthelyi and Vilmos Tátrai in Budapest at the Liszt Music Academy.

Professor Eduard Wulfson, director of the Stradivarius Society, discovered Baráti at the Jacques Thibaud Competition in 1996. Since then he became his musical advisor and mentor. Wulfson is an heir to the great tradition of Russian violin playing.

He relays to Baráti the knowledge of his own teachers: Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein and Henryk Szeryng. Kristóf has participated, as guest professor, alongside Ida Haendel, Vadim Repin, and Natalia Gutman, at the master-classes organized by Eduard Wulfson, initially at the Château de Champs-sur-Marne and at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

He regularly performs with great success in Hungary and worldwide with major orchestras and outstanding conductors. Kristóf has the privilege to play on a 1703 Stradivarius named ’Lady Harmsworth’, kindly donated by the Stradivari Society.

He has appeared on major stages all around the world: the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Salle Pleyel (Paris), the Berliner Philharmonie, the Teatro Teresa Careño, the Sala Rios Reyna (Venezuela), the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Suntory Hall (Tokyo), the Symphony Hall Osaka, the Palace of Arts (Budapest), Verona, Chicago, Shanghai, and has been invited to the festivals Gstaad Sommets Musicaux, Elba Musical Festival (awarded the Best Performer Prize), Berliner Festspiele, Santander Music Festival, Colmar International Festival.

In 1997 he received third prize and Audience Prize at the Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, Brussels, and the Second Prize at the Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition in Paris in 1996. He won the Rodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition in Gorizia in 1995.

Among his chamber music partners should be mentioned Natalia Gutman, Mikhail Mouratch, Michel Portal, Mario Brunello, Evgeny Koroliov and Imre Rohmann. He has played under the baton of Vladimir Spivakov, Yuri Bashmet, Kurt Masur, Gergely Vajda, Jiří Bělohlávek, Arthur Fagen, Yoel Levi, Andrew Manze, Paul Mann, Robert Houlihan, Kiril Karabits, Vasily Petrenko, Zoltán Kocsis, Ariel Zuckerman, Iván Fischer, Yuri Temirkanoff, Marek Janovski and Eiji Oue. Since 2002 he has recorded chamber works and concertos by Paganini, Ravel, Bartók and J. S. Bach.

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