László Hadady, Budapest Chamber Symphony (“The Weiner-Szász Orchestra”), Antal Szalai, Borbála Dobozy Bach complete oboe concertos

BMCCD089 2003

For the concertos we don’t know, he lets us discover them through his assured guidance. For those we know, he lets us take pleasure in rediscovering them through his interpretative artistry.

Pierre Boulez – Paris, October 2003


László Hadady - oboe (F. Lorée), oboe d’amore (F. Lorée)
Antal Szalai - violin (10-12) (A. Stradivarius, 1733)
Borbála Dobozy - harpsichord (Dows)
Budapest Chamber Symphony
(“The Weiner-Szász Orchestra”)

About the album

Recorded at the Phoenix Studio, Budapest 14-18/04/2003
Recording producer: Ibolya Tóth
Balance engineer: János Bohus; Sound editing: Mária Falvay

Cover art and design by Meral Yasar based on photo by Judit Kurtág
Portrait photo: István Huszti
Architect: Bachman

Produced by László Gőz

The recording was sponsored by F. Lorée, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary


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J.S. Bach: Concerto in F major, BWV 1053, for oboe, strings and basso continuo

01 Allegro 7:47
02 Siciliano 4:52
03 Allegro 5:48

J.S. Bach: Concerto in G minor, BWV 1056, for oboe, strings and basso continuo

04 Allegro 2:59
05 Largo 2:40
06 Presto 3:21

J.S. Bach: Concerto in A major, BWV 1055, for oboe d’amore, strings and basso continuo

07 Allegro 4:12
08 Larghetto 4:59
09 Allegro ma non tanto 4:05

J.S. Bach: Concerto in C minor, BWV 1060, for oboe, violin, strings and basso continuo

10 Allegro 4:45
11 Adagio 5:27
12 Allegro 3:35

J.S. Bach: Concerto in D minor, BWV 1059, for oboe, strings and basso continuo

13 Allegro 5:46
14 Adagio 8:31
15 Presto 3:19
Total time 72:06

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notes musicales en français - cliquez ici

It is always an interesting adventure to discover a repertory we ignore or know badly. Transcription, as these concertos for oboe remind us, has always been a recurrent theme in music literature. In the baroque concept it was natural for the virtuosity of one instrument to become that of another, gaining new perspectives in the process of exchange.
When this display of virtuosity is in the hands of an oboist of such confirmed talent as László Hadady – I have often witnessed his exceptional qualities since we’ve worked together for many years – the auspices are good. For the concertos we don’t know, he lets us discover them through his assured guidance. For those we know, he lets us take pleasure in rediscovering them through his interpretative artistry.

Pierre Boulez – Paris, October 2003

The reconstructed original

Nobody can say precisely how many works J. S. Bach wrote. This is partly because the loss of many works indicates that yet more may have met a similar fate, but also because the concept of what constituted a work of art differed from the modern concept inherited from the 19th century. As a follower of a 16th century tradition Bach often adopts parody, in other words, the practice of transforming the function of vocal music from sacred to secular by changing the text. By tracking down the examples of a work or movement used twice (or more) we see how different the contemporary concept of a work was from today’s; this concept gives priority to the performance of the work, rather than the text: the work itself (not a version of it) is what is performed at a given time and place. Bach employed a similar procedure many times in his purely instrumental music. Movements find their way into other works, crossing the traditional boundaries between works, with their orchestration and function altered. The “instrumental parody” in the quantity and variety practised by Bach can in no way be said to be a typical phenomenon of the Baroque. Rather, it bears the imprint of Bach’s own creative experiments even if, as we shall see, external motives may have played a role.

The way the oboe concertos on this disc came into being is quite unique, not only in Bach’s oeuvre, but in also in respect of the whole of European music history. Philologically speaking, the five concertos do not actually exist; none of them can be found in the catalogue of Bach’s works, since neither a composer’s manuscript nor any other source refers to them as oboe concertos. Today’s listener knows them all as harpsichord concertos; these concertos have been reconstructed by modern philology, based on the assumption that Bach’s harpsichord concertos are transcriptions of concertos in which the solo part was played by a melodic instrument.

This assumption is based on three cases. Three of the extant Bach harpsichord concertos do actually have an existing original for a melody instrument: the forerunner of the G minor concerto (BWV 1058) is the A minor violin concerto (BWV 1041), that of the D major concerto is the E major violin concerto (BWV 1042), while the precursor of the F major concerto (BWV 1057) is Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, for violin and two recorders. It is no surprise then, that more than one hundred years ago, on the pages of the old complete edition of Bach’s works, the suspicion arose that all of Bach’s harpsichord concertos (not just the three above) could be transcriptions of existing or lost originals. This assumption is further reinforced by philology, whose refined methods have, through an analysis partly of the range of the harpsichord, and partly of some of Bach’s errors, made it possible to establish the original solo instrument, in the light of the cases available. These analyses have led Bach philology to the conclusion that the original of the E major harpsichord concerto (BWV 1053) was an oboe concerto; that the first version of the F minor concerto (BWV 1056) may have been a violin concerto, but the two outer movements may also have formed part of an oboe concerto; that the C minor concerto for two harpsichords (BWV 1060) started its career as a double concerto for violin and oboe; and that an oboe d’amore concerto provided the basis for the A major concerto (BWV 1055). The BWV 1059, reconstructed as a D minor oboe concerto, is a special case: as a harpsichord concerto only nine bars of it are extant; in this case the reconstructers drew on other sources (detailed below). To sum up, Bach philology states that although the Bach oboe concertos do not exist, they must have existed once, and so they have been created. The music lover should not consider the modern reconstructions as a wild fantasy of the philologists, but neither should they be seen as being written in tablets of stone. Rather, they are the result of an experiment which on the one hand is justified by the pinnacles of achievement of modern philology, and on the other hand rejuvenate the freedom the performer enjoyed in Bach’s time, in which setting out the details of performance was not an integral part of the composer’s conception.

Another branch of obbligato keyboard ensemble music also contains a chamber work with a basso continuo accompaniment (the G major sonata for harpsichord and gamba), in the present case the transcription of the G major sonata. When preparing his transcriptions, Bach clearly took pains to eliminate the dominant chordal style of realisation and playing, the basso continuo accompaniment. The figured bass normally found in the ensemble music of the time is absent from his harpsichord concertos, although it was obviously present in the original concertos: the solo instrument, which in contemporary harpsichord concertos normally took on the role of chordal accompaniment during the tutti passages, in Bach’s concertos plays the outer voices (the first violin and the bass) of the sounding texture. The elimination of the improvised chordal accompaniment led to a leaner and more transparent texture, which probably lay closer to Bach’s ideal.

If the existence of the originals cannot be proved, clearly the time they were composed cannot be pinned down. With style analysis however, it can be ascertained with some certainty that the concertos in question are amongst Bach’s early output: they may have been written during his time at Weimar or Cöthen. More is known of the external reasons for the preparation of the transcriptions. The harpsichord concertos probably provided material to be played at the concerts of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig, which Bach directed for several years, and naturally the composer himself was the soloist. The probable date of composition is 1738. Not yet touched upon, however, is the fact that between the hypothesised original and the extant final version, in several cases there are intermediary stages, and these versions (later incorporated into sacred cantatas) can also provide a clue to the original instrument. The middle movement of concerto BWV 1056, a poetic monologue, can be found in the Sinfonia at the beginning of Cantata BWV 156 (Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe), where the solo instrument is the oboe. Bach used the two outer movements of BWV 1053 in two different cantatas: the opening movement, with an organ solo, in Cantata BWV 169 (Gott soll allein mein Herze haben), and the closing movement – with organ and oboe d’amore solo – in Cantata BWV 49 (Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen). Finally the two outer movements of concerto reconstruction BWV 1059 can be found in the same original: the unusual “concertos” initiating the two parts of the Cantata BWV 35 (Geist und Seele wird verwirrt), which has an organ obbligato in every movement. In a departure from tradition, on this recording a further extract from the same Cantata-concerto (orchestrated by László Hadady) is played as a middle movement, to give the work a sense of unity.

Miklós Dolinszky
translated by Richard Robinson

It was as a Debrecen student of József Kányási that László Hadady (born 1956 in Békésszentandrás) started the Music Academy, where he graduated in 1979. Between 1976 and 1980 he was a member of the Hungarian State Concert Orchestra, conducted by János Ferencsik, and meanwhile regularly performed with the Ferenc Liszt Chamber Orchestra. Since 1980 he has lived in Paris, and is the solo oboist in Pierre Boulez’ Paris chamber orchestra (Ensemble Intercontemporain), but he can also often be heard in the Orchestra of the Paris Opera and the French Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the 1998-99 season he was the solo oboist for the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and in spring 2003 performed in several concerts and made recordings as the solo oboist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Since 1995 he has been the chamber music and pedagogy teacher of the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris.

László Hadady has given over 2000 concerts in 45 countries worldwide. He has worked with well-known conductors such as Abbado, Barenboim, Boulez, Chailly, Chung, Dohnányi, Dutoit, Eötvös, Gardelli, Inbal, Maazel, Nagano, Nott, Ozawa, Patane, Robertson, Salonen, Sinopoli, Saraste, and Stenz, and high-ranking orchestras such as the London Philharmonia Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have invited him to perform as a soloist at several concerts.

Of his chamber music career, particularly noteworthy is his work with the Nielsen Wind Quintet, and also with Shlomo Mintzcel, Zoltán Kocsis, Miklós Perényi, Christian Zacharias, Philip Smith, and the Bartók and Keller Quartets.
His 1987 recording of the 6 Brandenburg Concertos on the BNL label won the “Grand Prix Laser D’or” prize from the Academie Francaise du Disque, and his Bach Trio Sonatas released by BMC were most highly commended by the largest American classical music webzine, ClassicsToday.com. He has also made solo and chamber music recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony/CBS and Erato labels.
Over the past 25 years he has formed a personal working relationship with the following composers: Berio, Birtwistle, Boulez, Donatoni, Eötvös, Holliger, Kurtág, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and Frank Zappa.
He plays a Lorée Royal, the Stradivarius of the oboe world.

To Csilla, with faith, hope and love.

Budapest Chamber Symphony
(The Weiner-Szász Orchestra)

The BCS (which works mainly without a conductor) was established in 1992 in order to cultivate the best Hungarian tradition in making chamber music. Its artistic principles are based on the legacy of Leó Weiner and József Szász, its standard repertoire on the oeuvre of Haydn, Mozart, Stravinsky and Britten. The BCS has given the Hungarian premiere of several works, from Baroque to contemporary. It has represented Hungary on many occasions and toured in Europe, America and Asia. Its media sponsor is Hungarian Radio, which regularly broadcasts the orchestra’s concerts and recordings. The BCS’s recordings were released under the BMC, Echiquier, Gramy, Hungaroton, Mega Records and Tibor Varga Collection labels. The BCS have worked with such outstanding musicians as Isabelle Faust, Kim Kashkashian, Cyprien Katsaris, Zoltán Kocsis, Alexander Lonquich, Miklós Perényi, Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian, Victor Pikaizen, Andrea Rost, György Sebők, János Starker, Sándor Végh, the Vienna Boys Choir and the Wanderer Trio. The BCS is directed by an artistic board whose members are Imre Rohmann – president, Péter Somogyi – leader, Judit Réger-Szász – founding director, and Mihály Szilágyi – arts manager.

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