Haydn Concertos – Jean Efflam-Bavouzet
Posted on October 14, 2014
Top reviews are still rolling in for our recording with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet of Haydn’s Piano Concertos.
Read our reviews here.
The Telegraph: 5 Stars
Geoffrey Norris, October 11 2014
“Bavouzet, who received a 2014 Gramophone magazine award for his Chandos set of Prokofiev’s five piano concertos, here reaffirms his versatility. He clearly identifies with the pieces’ classical contours and quirky spirit. If the keyboard part is the focus of attention, Bavouzet is none the less lucky to have such like-minded cheery support from the Manchester Camerata. Together they make the music breathe and leap off the page. The slow movements are finely spun: Bavouzet’s cadenza of the F major Concerto taking its case from the meditative melodic line to explore realms of reflective harmony that Haydn might not have recognised but which seem thoroughly apt. The more familiar D major Concerto confirms Bavouzet is attuned to the music’s freshness and vital spark.”
Richard Fairman, 8 September 2014
“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet adds witty ornamentation, throws in out-of-period cadenzas, and plays with irresistible exuberance.
After his successes with Haydn’s piano sonatas the ever-inquisitive Jean-Efflam Bavouzet moves on to the three best-known of Haydn’s keyboard concertos.
His partners are the Manchester Camerata and Hungarian conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy. In trying to describe the concertos’ infectious good humour, soloist and conductor coined a new Hungarian verb “haydnezni” (literally “to haydnise”) and that joyful spirit beams out of these performances.
Bavouzet adds witty ornamentation, throws in some wickedly out-of-period cadenzas (possibly not to all tastes), and generally plays with irresistible exuberance. It is a disc that is hard to play without breaking into a smile.”
Patrick Rucker, October 2014
“Vivid imagination and stylisitic discernment of the highest order are required to make these pieces sing and dance, and those are precisely the qualities that Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Gábor Takács-Nagy and the Manchester Camerata bring in abundance to this exciting new recording.”
“The synergy between soloist, conductor and orchestra is palpable, making their informed, deeply sympathetic approach to these concertos a joy to experience”
“This is Haydn at his most characteristically unrestrained, with vivacious, antic-prone joviality swept into a whirlwind of kinetic exhilaration”
The Arts Desk
Graham Rickson, October 11 2014
“Haydn’s name used to carry so much weight that unscrupulous publishers posthumously promoted scores which weren’t actually by him at all. The three keyboard concertos on this disc are indisputably the genuine article – those in F and G were probably written for harpsichord, and the D major could also be played on the fortepiano. Haydn wasn’t a virtuoso player and these concertos aren’t phenomenally difficult. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s readings are as effervescent as Marc-André Hamelin’s superb Hyperion performances. You’d happily take either to a desert island; the one slight difference is the slightly weightier accompaniment provided by Gabor Takács-Nagy’s excellent Manchester Camerata, complete with optional horns in the F major concerto – slightly richer in tone than Bernard Labadie’s lean, athletic Violons du Roy. My advice would be to buy both discs.
The G major work is the revelation here, Bavouzet transforming Haydn’s unfussy, direct solo lines into pure gold. The piano’s crisp, witty opening statement is typical, while lacking nothing in terms of human warmth. The manic Rondo is pure joy. Bavouzet’s eloquent sleeve note is a good read, citing Austrian pianist Friedrich Gulda’s performance of the slow movement of Mozart’s K467 concerto as a major inspiration. Bavouzet has fun with the F major’s elegant Largo cantabile – the right hand dazzlingly flexible over a well-behaved bassline. Purists may wince at some cheekily inauthentic harmonies in the cadenza, but you suspect that Haydn would have approved. Which leaves the more familiar D major concerto. It’s a predictably entertaining traversal; Bavouzet and Takács-Nagy taking another idiomatic liberty seconds before the close of the last movement. This will hopefully have you giggling and wanting to listen to the whole thing again. It worked for me.”
David Threasher, 14 August 2014
“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has proved himself one of today’s leading Haydn interpreters – amply so on five volumes of sonatas (and counting), each enthusiastically reviewed. He now presents the three authentic keyboard concertos in performances that demonstrate his innate love and understanding of this music in performances of the expected vivacity and insight.”
“It’s fair to say that this is neither Haydn’s most advanced music nor the most technically challenging for the pianist. But who would have thought there was so much to discover in it? I’d be loath to relinquish Andsnes or Hamelin from my collection but will gladly now make room for Bavouzet’s complementary and entirely personal take on these concertos.”