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Archive for the ‘Orchestral’ 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)

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Harmonia Mundi

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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)

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Hänssler Classic

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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)

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Amazon.com

Online review

Classics Today

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Today, let’s give a look to Luigi Boccherini, the symphonist. The most known is  the symphony “la Casa del diavolo” op. 12 (1771), from which I will offer a good version from Europa Galante/Biondi CD. But first, a few samples from two excellent symphonies CDs:

Le Concert des nations/ Jordi Savall / Alia Vox

Symphony in D minor “a più strumenti obbligati” op. 37 no 3 (1787): Allegro moderato

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Alia Vox

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Classics Today

All Music Guide

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin / Harmonia Mundi

Symphony  no 26 in  C minor: II- Pastorale lentarello

Symphony no 27 in D major:  IV- Finale (presto)

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Harmonia Mundi

Amazon.com

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And now, the Europa Galante version of “la Casa del diavolo”‘s 3rd movement. After a slow start, the devil is in the house!

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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

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Naxos

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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 9, 1763, Leopold Mozart, deputy Kapellmeister of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, left the town with his son Wolfgang on an european tour who will end in 1766. The trip will lead the father and the son to Munich, Mannheim, The Hague, Paris and London. It is in Britain, in 1764, that the 8 years old boy will compose his first symphony, from which we will listen the first movement (molto allegro). The symphony is written for an orchestra of two horns, two oboes and strings.

The Mozart family on tour by Carmontelle, ca. 1763

Sources for this post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_%28Mozart%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart

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