Naxos follows up its series of Vanhal symphonies with his excellent disc of three of his 17 Violin Concertos. As a close contemporary of Haydn, Vanhal was among the leading composers of his day, described as playing in a string quartet with Haydn, Mozart and Dittersdorf. The most celebrated of these unpretentious works is the B flat Concerto, which Mozart is recorded as having played, alongside his own K.216.
The writing involves little virtuosity, but it never flags in its easy energy, with opening movements relaxed rather than thrusting and lively music restricted to the finales. Takako Nishizaki gives a modern-instrument performance with fresh, clean intonation, very well accompanied by the Cologne Chamber Orchestra under Müller-Brühl. First-rate sound. --Penguin Guide, January 2009