The piano trios and string quartets dominate Joseph Haydn’s chamber music output. However, there is a sizeable body of work that falls outside these forms. The concertini and divertimenti all date from early in his career, and from the Morzin period, 1757-60. The piano dominates the scene, and the strings generally have to be content with routine accompanying roles. In some respects these are keyboard sonatas with string accompaniments. The divertimenti do provide the violin with more opportunities to partner up as an equal to the keyboard. They were probably composed as ‘Tafelmusik’ or for Prince Morzin’s family and friends to play along to.
As is typical of Haydn, he lavished as much care on these works as he did on his symphonies, concertos and masses. There are some wonderful moments in these works, and they should not be dismissed as second class Haydn – such a thing just does not exist.
- Recorded in February 2008, on period instruments.