A Haydn Celebration 2: Instrumental Chamber Music
Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 8:00pm • UBC School of Music Recital Hall

Performers Marc Destrubé, violin; Julie Andrijeski, violin & viola; Wilbert Hazelzet, transverse flute; Jaap ter Linden, violoncello; Jacques Ogg, harpsichord & fortepiano

Reviewer Elizabeth Paterson

It was a pleasure to attend a live performance of some of Haydn's less performed chamber music. The programme was designed to give examples through chamber music both of the evolution in Haydn's style and its variety. Chamber music in Haydn's earlier years was literally that -- music intended for performance not in the recital hall but in a room at home with family or friends, whether home was a princely palace or a bourgeois drawing-room.

The keyboard player in the drawing-room was very often a woman. True, playing the harpsichord showed off one's hands, not to mention one's décolletage, and there is plenty of easy music for the average woman. But of course many women had considerable talent as well as time to practice and Haydn wrote virtuoso music with specific women in mind. The early Concertino in C major, Hob. XIV:12, scored for harpsichord with an accompaniment of two violins and a cello made a delightful opener. Jacques Ogg, front and centre on the keyboard, played with restraint in his demeanour yet impassioned affect.

Haydn wrote a lot of music for his employer, Prince Nicholas of Esterhazy, a baryton player. The baryton was not a common instrument and Haydn often arranged these pieces for more popular combinations. A very pretty example, the Divertimento for flute, violin and cello in G major, Hob XI, No. 118 was uniformly enjoyable.

In the course of time, chamber music came out of the domestic closet. We know that the Trio for fortepiano, violin and cello, in A major, Hob. XV:14 was played at a public concert in London. in 1790 It is much grander and more complex than the earlier pieces, compelling close attention from the listener. Similarly in the Trio for fortepiano, flute and cello in G Major, Hob. XV:15, variety and ingenuity and unexpected modulations are on display. The sense of ensemble amongst the players, though evident from the beginning, was remarkable here. Lines and motifs flowed from voice to voice with exceptional fluidity. Lively work from Marc Destrubé (violin) in the A major trio kept a good pace and a particularly graceful contrast in the middle Adagio movement. Wilbert Hazelzet's mellifluous flute in the G major was sophisticated and beautifully phrased.

Adding a fifth and energetic voice, Julie Andrijeski rejoined the group on viola in the Flute Quartet in G major, Op. 5, no. 4 which closed the evening with style: liveliness in the Vivace, pleasure in the Andante, elegance in the Minute and Trio, intelligence in the Fantasia with variations. In particular, Jaap ter Linden (violoncello) threaded his way through the intricate variations with inimitable aplomb.

The balance of instruments was superb. Beauty of tone, subtle phrasing, delicate articulation, all worked together to effect an evening of great pleasure.

© 2009 Elizabeth Paterson