Haydn Lute Trio

MICHAEL DRAKE King of Hearts, Norwich


Under the generic description of Life in Vienna, yesterday afternoon's concert in the King of Hearts Autumn Festival carried the delightful subtitle of “Tea with Mr Haydn” and the trio – lute/theorbo, violin and viola da gamba – quickly conjured pictures of that most musical of cities.

Haydn's Cassation in C was, in truth, not as well balanced as it might have been.

But as the composer “guests” settled, his little-known contemporary Kropffgans contributed movements from a Trio in G major.

Here a magic moment came in bars in the minor key while the gentility of Brandenburg Court Lutenist Adam Falkenhagen's Concerto in D gave the lute the luxury of unaccompanied playing in clever writing, for its melody was in the lower register, in contrast to stringed melancholy in the outer movements of a Sonata for violin, theorbo and da gamba continuo by Handel.

A Divertimento by another relatively unknown contemporary of Haydn, Karl von Kohaut, brought a lively and well-integrated start to the “after-tea” programme and was followed by a set of elegantly performed French dances by de Visee.

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