Haydn’s cello concertos set in historical context

Christian-Pierre La Marca: Legacy

The Strad Issue: March 2023

Description: Haydn’s cello concertos set in historical context

Musicians: Christian-Pierre La Marca (cello) Adrien La Marca (viola) Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin (violin)

Works: Haydn: Cello Concertos: no.1 in C major, no.2 in D major. Porpora: Largo from Cello Concerto in G major; Giusto amor tu che m’accendi from ‘Gli orti esperidi’. Mozart: Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola and cello in A major (reconstructed Robert Levin). Gluck: Dance of the Blessed Spirits from ‘Orphée et Eurydice’ (arr. La Marca)

Catalogue number: NAÏVE V7259

On this recording, cellist Christian-Pierre La Marca sets out to demonstrate the links connecting the cello repertoire during the era of Viennese Classicism. So we have music by Porpora, who wrote one cello concerto and taught Haydn, an unfinished Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola and cello by Mozart and Gluck’s ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ from his opera Orphée et Euridice, which, according to La Marca, introduced Viennese Classicism to French music. These links may be somewhat tenuous, but they provide the filling for the main two works here: Haydn’s cello concertos.

The opening of the C major introduces us to the spacious acoustics of the Temple du Saint Esprit in Paris where the recording was made. La Marca’s playing is gentle and restrained, and the passagework of the development is clean and understated. He lovingly caresses the elegant lines of the Adagio and brings neat, articulated bowing to the finale, which fizzes with energy. The first movement of the D major Concerto is on the steady side, La Marca imbuing it with a telling combination of warm, focused tone and lightness of touch. The Adagio is an intimate meditation, while the final Allegro has a dancing exuberance to it. Throughout, La Marca takes Haydn’s technical demands in his stride.