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Classical Breakdown

22. Haydn's lost cello concerto and its rediscovery

June 2, 2020

Today it's considered one of the greatest cello concertos of the 18th century, but it went unheard for nearly 200 years as it's location was unknown. But what happens when a piece is discovered, and how do you know it's the "real deal?" Dr. Helen Greenwald, a musicologist, tells us just how easy it can be for music to get lost, and James Jacobs joins to talk about the revolutionary aspects of the piece, and at the end we'll enjoy a full performance.

Show Notes

More about Dr. Helen Greenwald

Dr. Greenwald is a celebrated musicologist who's work has appeared in numerous journals and books. Her critical editions of operas have been widely performed, including at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and the Rossini Opera Festival among others. Learn more here.

James Jacobs' recommended listening

Mstislav Rostropovich/English Chamber Orchestra/Conducted by Benjamin Britten who also wrote the cadenzas.

Sergei Istomin with the Apollo Ensemble and conductor David Rabinovitch
(version with 11-piece period orchestra)


What is thumb position?

When a cellist moves up on the fingerboard to the higher register, the thumb can be used in a similar way a capo is used on a guitar. The thumb can push the strings against the fingerboard (like a guitar capo), and give more flexibility in playing fast passages in the upper register. 
James Jacobs thumb positionJames Jacobs thumb position 2