Audiophile Audition
April 2004

Classical CD Reviews

PLEYEL: Violin Concerto in D Major; Serenade for Violin and Cello Solo, String Orchestra and Two Horns - Vilmos Szabadi, violin; Peter Szabo, cello; Erdody Kamarazenekar condcuts Erdody Chamber Orchestra - Hungaraton HCH 32241 56:06 (Distrib. Qualiton):

Volume Two of the Complete String Concertos of Ignace Pleyel (1757-1831) includes some charming, if undistinguished. music that sounds like Haydn with bits of Mozart mixed in. At one time among the most celebrated of Europe's composers, Pleyel's work has fallen into obscurity; so, we can be grateful that some talented instrumentalists are taking up his mantle again. A competent kapellmeister and more than competent master of diverse forms, Pleyel seems to employs the three-movement format for his Viotti-like concertos; the recording gives us the alternative ending, a 4/4 Rondo, to his violin concerto. The Violin Concerto (1787) sounds like a cross between Mozart's K. 412 D Major Horn Concerto and the Haydn C Major Violin Concerto. Its Largo is worth re-hearing. If you dropped the needle, as it were, on this music and told me it was by young Mozart or Spohr, I would not argue. The Serenade (1780) exists in multiple editions, like most of Pleyel. ! This version is in four movements in classical sonata-form, minuet, adagio and rondo. The parts are grateful for each of the soloists, but I cannot say the piece competes well with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. It could be a piece by Michael Haydn, who also favored big concertante forms. Musicians Szabadi and Szabo play a lovely violin and cello, respectively, and I for one would like to hear them in the Brahms Double Concerto.

Gary Lemco


Péter Szabó cellist, conductor, music editor
Péter Szabó's recordings are available on