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A la carta: Haydn's Cello Concerto no. 1 in C major

Bergen Philharmonic OrchestraGrabado en Grieg Hall (Grieghallen), Bergen, Noruega

The Cello Concerto no. 1 in C major by Joseph Haydn was composed around 1761-65 for his longtime friend Joseph Franz Weigl, then the principal cellist of Prince Nicolaus's Esterházy Orchestra.

The work was presumed lost until 1961, when musicologist Oldřich Pulkert discovered a copy of the score at the Prague National Museum. Though some doubts have been raised about the authenticity of the work, most experts believe that Haydn did compose this concerto. Haydn had written the beginning of the principal theme of the first movement in his draft catalogue of 1765 and this early work already shows Haydn as a master of instrumental writing. The solo cello part is thoroughly idiomatic. The concerto reflects the ritornello form of the baroque concerto as well as the emerging structure of the sonata-allegro form. It is possible that Weigl was the only cellist in the Esterházy Orchestra when Haydn composed the concerto, since there is only one cello line in the score, marked alternately “solo” and “tutti.” There is also, however, a basso continuo line, that might have been played by another cellist, or by Haydn himself on the harpsichord, or by a string bass player.

Watch this elegant piece as performed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra led by Edward Gardner and with Truls Mørk on cello.

Filmed the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra's Jubilee Gala in October 2015.

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