Friday, November 3, 2017

My "Reconstructed" Haydn Concerto Is Now Available!

Ayotte Custom Musical Engraving accepted my submission and has recently released my "reconstruction" of Haydn's Clavier Concerto in C Major, Hob. XVIII:5. It is available here:

I am most delighted by this latest publication, as it was very much on my mind when I began the project more than nine years ago. I submit my Preface to the volume below.

Joseph Haydn's keyboard concerti include some rather short works, for which the designation "concertino" is probably more accurate. I have even heard the less flattering term, "toy concerto." Nevertheless, this C Major composition is a charming little piece and truly deserves an occasional performance, if only as a novelty. 

Haydn scored the "orchestra" simply for first and second violins plus cello. Since it is quite likely the concerto was intended for harpsichord, the accompaniment may have required as few as three musicians. Naturally, I had a somewhat larger force in mind, thinking originally of seven (paired first and second violins, with one each of viola, cello, and bass), and I eventually performed the concerto accompanied by 28 strings. That said, it would surely "work" with just a string quartet, even as Mozart's 12th, 13th, and 14th piano concerti are sometimes played!

My changes were generally rather minimal. I "corrected" a couple of chords from the original score (Nagels Edition), mostly in the second movement. The bass part is merely the cello part, doubled an octave lower, while the viola part either doubles an inner voice or enriches the harmony. 

My only audacious gesture comes in the first movement. In m. 76, Haydn's development passes very briefly through a six-four chord, resolving quickly to the dominant harmony and proceeding thence into the recapitulation in the tonic key at m. 77. I extended the passage by inserting a ritardando a few beats earlier and then placing a fermata over the six-four chord. This enabled me to interpolate a piano cadenza, very much in the style of Haydn, though hardly where we should expect to find it! However, there was no other place to add one without damage to the structure of the movement.

The bowings for strings are somewhat inconsistent in the Nagels original, and while I have copied these precisely (save for the viola part), I feel they are best left to the good judgment of the conductor and/or concertmaster. I have also changed one figuration from the original, in the interest of simplicity. Where (in the first movement) we find a half-beat consisting of two thirty-second notes plus a sixteenth-note, I have rescored these as three sextuplets. [NB: Some musicologists maintain that the figuration I replaced should in fact be executed precisely as I have revised them!]. 

These points aside, the music remains Haydn's. I can only hope that my modest efforts have elevated the work somewhat closer to full "concerto" status.