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Archive for the ‘Joseph Haydn’ Category

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)

Let’s give a look today to Haydn’s symphonic output. We cannot realistically encompass all his production in one entry but we can look at works composed at different eras.  The real starting point of his symphonic career is the Matin-midi-soir (morning, noon, evening or 6,7,8) triptych composed in 1761.  They are in part remnants of the baroque period (a concerto grosso structure) and look like proto sinfonias concertantes, especially the morning and the noon one (the evening is closer to your typical classical symphony).

From the excellent Freiburg Baroque Orchestra CD, on Harmonia Mundi label, the 1st movement of the symphony 7 “Midi”

Symphony no 7 in C major: I- Adagio – allegro (play or download)

For more information

Harmonia Mundi

Amazon.com

Online reviews

Classics Today

BBC

The symphonic halfway between the numbers 6,7,8 and the London Twelve is not as clear as those two sets. Any symphony from the late 1770s/early 1780s could be plugged in here. I selected a relatively unknown one, the 75th, created in 1779. It comes before the trio of 76,77 and 78, composed specifically for the edition market, and before the famous symphony no 73 “La Chasse” with its blasting finale. But the 75th symphony has its own qualities. The great performance by the Heidelburg Symphony Orchestra, leaded by Thomas Fey on Hänssler Classic, makes it an enjoyable listening.

Symphony no 75 in D major: Grave – Presto (play or download)

For more information

Hänssler Classic

Amazon.com

Online reviews

Classics Today

Musicweb

The twelve London symphonies are Haydn at his best. Not only they show diversity but they keep a high level of quality, complexity and humor. In my opinion, the finale from the symphony no 104, nicknamed “London” and composed in 1795, is the best in the series. It has a catchy theme, possibly of Croatian origin, and is highly energetic. The Orchestra of the 18th Century, under Frans Brüggen, delivers a great performance on this Philips Classics double CD (good value here).

Symphony no 104 ‘London’ in D major: Finale (spirito) (play or download)

For more information

Amazon.com

Online review

Classics Today

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JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)

Highly rated composer, Joseph Haydn still remains, in my opinion, underrated compared to Mozart and/or Beethoven. He is, with Handel (and maybe Beethoven), my favorite composer. It will be impossible to sum up all his production within a few posts this week. Like last week for Boccherini, famously nicknamed the Haydn’s wife,  I intend to look here and there at his instrumental and vocal music.

Keen businessman, modest and having a strong humor, Haydn worked from 1761 to his death for the Esterhazy princes, especially under Nikolaus “The Magnificent” (1762-1790). He is mostly known for is symphonies, string quartets, masses and oratorios.

Scena di Berenice (“Berenice, che fai”)

Composed in 1795 for the singer Brigida Banti, the scena (with recitatives and two arias) is considered one of Haydn’s most accomplished dramatic work. Berenice laments her fate after being abandoned by her lover Demetrio. After she describes her woeful state in a recitative, Berenice sings an aria begging Demetrio not to die without her. Her grief continues to grow in another recitative and aria, where she prays that it finally become so great as to “relieve her of life.” Berenice, che fai was premiered (along with Haydn’s Symphony No. 104) on 4 May 1795 at a concert for Haydn’s benefit.

Rene Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester (and Bernarda Fink!) on Harmonia Mundi label, recorded a great version of it. It lasts more than 11 minutes but it is really worthy. The full libretto is available here (no translation alas).

Scena di Berenice (play or download)

For more information

Harmonia Mundi

Amazon.com

Online reviews

Classics Today

Opera Today

Sources for this post

Michael Ruhling, “Haydn in London”, Handel and Haydn Society Program Notes

Marc Vignal, Joseph Haydn, [Paris], Fayard, 1988, p. 467-468, 1227-1228. (French)

Wikipedia

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I am back with the hidden gem of the week. This time, I want you to meet Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792).

Kraus, born in Miltenberg, in Franconia, studied both music and the law (parental wish). He left for Stockholm in 1778 to apply for a job  at the court of King Gustav III. After unsuccessful attempts, he became vice-Kapellmeister of the Royal Swedish Opera and director of the Royal Academy of Music in 1781. Then, for about 6 years, he traveled Europe, at the king’s expense, to learn about the theatre. It is during this long journey he met, in Vienna, Christoph Willibald Gluck and Joseph Haydn. He also attended the George Frideric Handel Festival in 1785 in London. In 1787, he came back to Stockholm and became Kapellmeister of the Royal Swedish Opera. His protector, the king, was assassinated in 1792. The same year, Kraus died of tuberculosis.

Kraus was a man of theatre, drama and effects. So I thought to give samples from his operatic production.  Aeneas in Carthage was originally composed in 1781 for the inauguration of  the new opera house in Stockholm (it is a retelling of the Dido and Aeneas story but Kraus took some liberties). However the production paused. During 10 years, he worked on this immense opera (a prologue and 5 acts). It was only first performed in 1799, after Kraus’ death.

As for the samples, they have the mp3 format so you can listen directly to them on box.net (no need to download). I present you the overture and 2 other pieces (Tempest and a march)

Aeneas in Carthage: Overture

Aeneas in Carthage: March of the Numidians

Aeneas in Carthage: Tempest

Aeneas in Carthage, Opera Overtures, Ballet Music and Marches

Patrick Gallois/Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä/ Naxos

For more information

Naxos

Amazon

Online Reviews

Classics Today

MusicWeb International

Sources for this post

Wikipedia

Mozart – Kraus

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From Soliman II, performed in 1788 in Stockholm, the overture. An interesting use of turkish instruments.

From Proserpin, composed in 1780, the overture and the first chorus.

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On June 6 1757, Ignaz Joseph Pleyel (1757-1831) was born in Ruppersthal, near Vienna. He is famous to have been a Joseph Haydn‘s pupil during the 1770’s but also for his music publisher and piano manufacturer career in Paris.

During the 1780’s and 1790’s he was known as a gifted composer. He created many symphonies and quartets.  For his birthday, let’s listen to an excerpt of his Symphonie Concertante in B flat major, B. 112 (Rondo moderato) from 1791. Please note that the work is intended for violin and alto instead of the clarinets you will hear in that sample.

If the Youtube video doesn’t appear, keep refreshing the page, you should see it.

Sebastian Tewinkel conductor
Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim
Dieter Klöcker and Sandra Arnold, clarinets

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How to begin a blog properly? Well, by the beginning!

When I think of a beginning, I think of Joseph Haydn‘s Creation (Die Schöpfung), oratorio composed between 1796 and 1798 and influenced in part by George Frideric Handel’s choral style (Haydn visited Britain in 1791-1792 and 1794-1795 and attended to many Handel concerts).

The libretto (“The Creation of the World”), offered by Johann Peter Salomon (via Thomas Linley), is based on Genesis, the book of Psalms and John Milton’s Paradise Lost and was possibly offered to Handel but the saxon maestro did not use it anyway.  The author is unknown but there is a possibility that Mary Delany, a friend of Handel, wrote it during the 1740s. One of her letters to a certain Mrs Dewes gives us a hint:

And how do you think I have lately been employed? Why, I have made a drama for an oratorio, out of Milton’s Paradise Lost, to give Mr. Handel to compose it.

Whoever was the author, the baron Gottfried van Swieten, an avid Handel music fan, translated it in german, not without difficulty.

As for the music, I will present you the three first movements of The Creation. The samples come from the Andreas Spering/Capella Augustina/VokalEnsemble Köln production and published by Naxos.

I- Prelude (The Representation of Chaos)  http://www.box.net/shared/04y4tako5h

II- Recitative-chorus (In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth): The creation of light  http://www.box.net/shared/e2pbu43fe3

III-Aria-chorus (Now vanished by the holy beams): Defeat of Satan http://www.box.net/shared/odmbbem7zx

For more information

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.557380-81

http://www.amazon.com/Haydn-Sch%C3%B6pfung-Creation-Hanno-Muller-Brachmann/dp/B0007XHKZI

Some reviews of this CD are available online

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2005/May05/Haydn_creation_NAXOS_611007374.htm

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=8796

Sources for this post

VIGNAL, Marc. Joseph Haydn. [Paris], Fayard, 1988. Les indispensables de la musique (french)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_%28Haydn%29

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