1760s in Music

Music reviews for music published during the decade of the 1760s.

1. Joseph Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C (10/10)

Haydn’s first cello concerto is a fine piece of music but it strikes me as typical of the era (though I don’t really know that). Though the cello is perhaps my favourite orchestral instrument I can’t help but compare this work to what came before – specially Bach’s cello music, which is probably the best ever written (or at least very close to that). This is fine, really, and it certainly has a number of beautiful passages for the instrument, but it’s a little too classically Classical (see what I did there?) for me. This is apparently the first cello concerto ever. So I really should just get over myself.

2. Joseph Haydn: Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in D (8/10)

The 2nd concerto is the oldest of the three (on the set I heard it on), the most typical (I assume) and, oddly, the most pleasing. Again the orchestra feels like a valued contributor to the work, perhaps even more so than in the 6th.  This is probably as straightforward and unimaginative as classical piano concertos by major composers get, but I find it less difficult to get my head around than the other two in this package. I enjoy it.

3. Joseph Haydn: Keyboard Concerto No 6 in F with violin and strings “Double Concerto” (8/10)

The so-called “Double Concerto” (#6) is not exactly what I think of when I think of “double” concerti. (I think of two solo instruments.) Despite its age, the work has a more developed orchestra part (to my ears) than the 11th. It’s altogether more of Haydn’s style, to my ears. And so I respect that more, even if it is a little too “classical” for
my taste.

4. Johann Baptist Georg Neruda: Concerto in E-flat for Trumpet and Strings (7/10)

This is a concerto by the virtually unknown Johann Baptist Georg Neruda. Like the Torelli trumpet concert I’ve heard, it takes a while to introduce the featured instrument. It certainly pales in comparison to Bach’s trumpet music from earlier in the century (though this is a different era, obviously). I should note I heard it on a modern trumpet, but I don’t care about that stuff. Anyway, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s classical. It’s pleasant. It doesn’t make me want to listen to more Neruda.

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