Haydn isserlis


The Strad Issue: October 2017
Description: A superb second swipe at Haydn concertos by Isserlis
Musicians: Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Steven Isserlis (cello)
Composer: Haydn, C. P. E. Bach, Boccherini, Mozart
Catalogue Number: Hyperion CDA 68162

Steven Isserlis returns to the Haydn concertos on disc, two decades on from his first recording of these wonderful works. On that occasion his accompanists were the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) under Roger Norrington; this time he goes it alone, directing the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie of Bremen from the soloist’s stool. That earlier recording was something of a benchmark; and, interestingly enough, Isserlis’s interpretation over 20 years hasn’t so much developed as ‘bedded in’. Common to both recordings are his rhythmic freedom and effortless, focused sound; the instrument he plays is the 1726 ‘Marquis de Corberon’ Stradivari. What is different is the sound picture as recorded in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonie: there’s greater space and sense of air around the ensemble than on the earlier disc (the venue then the Watford Colosseum). Haydnistas will be more than happy with either of them. Back in 1996 the partner work was the late Sinfonia concertante with COE soloists, the filler the slow movement of Symphony no.13, with its starring role for the Esterházy principal cello, Joseph Weigl. This time we get a C.P.E. Bach concerto, full of eccentricities and challenges for soloist and ensemble alike, plus an aria from Mozart’s La finta giardiniera arranged by Isserlis and a Boccherini slow movement – a delicate encore for cello accompanied only by two-part violins. Delicious.