Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) Violin Concerto in C major Hob VIIa:1
edited by Walter Heinz Bernstein [vl,str,bc] duration: 24'
solo: vl – str – bc
Haydn's C major Concerto now in a new, up-to-date edition
EB 8634 (edition for violin and piano) with cadenzas by Thomas Zehetmair
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Haydn's Violin Concerto in C major has always been closely linked to Breitkopf & Härtel, which began selling copies of the work back in 1769. The first edition came out in 1909 and helped secure the work a broad dissemination and lasting popularity. Strangely enough, this first edition is one of the most important sources today, since its own source a copy of Haydn's autograph, perhaps the autograph itself was lost at the end of World War II. Although other copies from Haydn's time were made, they are textually less reliable.
Walter Heinz Bernstein has created an easily playable and pleasant-sounding piano score on the basis of the first edition, whereby he has respected the early classical continuo practice. As he did earlier in the G major Concerto (EB 8606), Thomas Zehetmair has once again accepted the challenging task of embellishing the solo part with stylistically accurate cadenzas and flourishes. This delightful concerto is thus now available in a modern edition.
"The piano-harpsichord part by Walter Heinz Bernstein features a continuo part in keeping with the late Baroque performing tradition and offers a much cleaner, unfettered realization."(Stringendo)
The present C major Concerto turns up repeatedly at various significant moments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, interwoven as it is into the history of the publishing house of Breitkopf & Härtel. Haydn wrote the work c. 1765 for the Italian violinist Luigi Tomasini, “fatto per il luigi,” as Haydn noted in his Entwurf-Katalog. Tomasini had arrived at the court of Esterházy before Haydn, and was active there first as a violinist and later as Konzertmeister. The above-mentioned Breitkopf Verzeichnisse already list the C major Concerto along with the Concerto Hob VII:4 in 1769. Eleven years later, Johann Georg Westphal of Hamburg offered the C major Concerto with horn parts that were undoubtedly spurious. Performing parts from the Benedictine monastery in Seitenstetten also document a further expansion of the orchestral setting: they contain two clarino parts which, however, are not mentioned on the title page and were presumably written at a later date. As long as there are no valid reasons or source findings to support the contrary, one must assume that the C major Concerto was written for a purely string setting. Although there is no surviving figured bass part for the continuo player, this was the norm at the time for Haydn’s orchestral works. In keeping with the late-Baroque tradition, however, the participation of a harpsichord should not at all be renounced. Our newly prepared orchestral material features a continuo part by Walter Heinz Bernstein, for which he based himself on his stylistic expertise in similar works.
Let us return to the transmission. Not later than 1769 an early copy must have passed into the ownership of Breitkopf & Härtel, which offered copies of various violin concertos by Haydn in 1836 and ultimately brought out the first edition in 1909. Unfortunately, this main source was lost when large parts of the publisher’s archives were destroyed towards the end of World War II. In 1969, the editors of the Haydn Complete Edition (Series III/1) had no choice but to base the score on the music text from various copies. Extant are, next to the aforementioned source in Seitenstetten, a copy of the parts in Genoa and other copies – no doubt written during Haydn’s lifetime – in Ceský Krumlov, Melk, Graz and Schlägl (Upper Austria). Breitkopf’s first edition was most likely based directly on the copy owned by the publisher already in 1769 and which was lost along with the autograph. According to a notice by the publisher of January 1909, this print incorporated the correction of “obvious errors” in the “rather unsatisfactory” archival copy. Yet together with the Genoese copy, ist text was apparently sufficiently reliable to serve as the main source for the C major Concerto in the Complete Edition.
While preparing this present new edition, the publisher came to believe that it would be better to supply Haydn’s C major Concerto with stylistically adequate cadenzas rather than to provide the earlier, well-known arrangements by Paul Klengel, which arose out of the spirit of the classical-romantic concerto tradition and sought to “improve” the work through highly virtuoso appendages. For our new edition, Thomas Zehetmair has assumed the daunting task of working out various solutions for the cadenzas, which are missing in all the sources. Drawing on his own concert practice and applying great care, he thus offers inspiring suggestions to all performers seeking to create their own cadenzas.
Wiesbaden, Fall 2005