About this Recording
2.110548 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - CZECH REPUBLIC / AUSTRIA / GERMANY / SWITZERLAND / BELGIUM (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium
With music by Joseph Haydn

 

CHAPTER 1

Czech Republic: Litomyšl Castle and Landscape

Litomyšl is of historical importance as a centre of trade and culture in Bohemia, and as the birthplace of the Czech composer Smetana. The castle is a Renaissance building, dating, in its present form, largely from the mid-16th century. The exterior is decorated with a series of reliefs, including, of emblematic significance, Leda and the Swan. There is statuary in the grounds.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G major, the ‘Military’ – I. Adagio–Allegro

For the greater part of his life Haydn was in the service of the Esterházy family, particularly at the palace of Eszterháza on the Hungarian plains. The death of his principal patron, Prince Nikolaus, in 1790 allowed him to undertake other engagements and in 1791 he travelled to London to collaborate there with Johann Peter Salomon in a series of concerts. The success of this venture brought a second visit to London in 1794. At the eighth concert of the series, on 31st March, the Symphony No. 100 in G major was included, described as a Grand Military Overture. The first movement starts with a slow introduction, thematically connected with the following Allegro, its first subject opened by flutes and oboes, and then by strings, a procedure also followed in the introduction of the second subject of a tripartite sonata-form movement.

CHAPTER 2

Austria: Vienna – Museum of Military History

The imposing building that houses the Vienna Museum of Military History (the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum), known as the Arsenal, was built in 1856. At the entrance is the Hall of Generals, with 56 marble statues of commanders distinguished in the history of the army. Ceiling paintings record exploits in the Turkish wars and outside there is a display of cannons.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G major, the ‘Military’ – II. Allegretto

The second movement of Haydn’s Military Symphony is in C major and includes a military battery of kettledrums, triangle, cymbals and bass drum in its scoring, as well as allowing the wind instruments a proper share of the music. As the movement draws near its close there is a trumpet-call, further justification for the symphony’s nickname.

CHAPTER 3

Czech Republic: Konopištĕ Castle

Once the home of Archduke Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 brought about the First World War, Konopištĕ Castle is some 25 miles south-east of Prague. The castle is set in beautiful grounds, while the building itself dates largely from the later 19th century, although its origins go back to the 13th century.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G major, the ‘Military’ – III. Menuet: Moderato

The Minuet of the symphony is taken at a steady pace. Its contrasting Trio section is characterized by a repeated rhythmic figure.

CHAPTER 4

Germany: Ingolstadt – Bavarian Army Museum, Regimental Colours Room

The Bavarian Army Museum in its historic quarters in Ingolstadt offers a fine display of regimental colours, drums, trumpets and uniforms, with ornate cannons lined up outside.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 100 in G major, the ‘Military’ – IV. Finale: Presto

The Military Symphony ends with a rondo, the main theme of which quickly became popular in England, where it was to serve its purpose in the ballroom. Towards the end of the Finale the military percussion is used again, providing an additional unifying factor to the work.

CHAPTER 5

Czech Republic: Żd’ár nad Sázavou – Convent Church of the Assumption

The interior of the Church of the Assumption at Żd’ár, on the borders of Bohemia and Moravia, is largely the work of Jan Blazej Santini Aichl, a champion of the so-called Baroque Gothic style, exemplified here in the rich ornamentation of the church, a contrast with the relative simplicity of its exterior.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in D major, ‘The Clock’ – I. Adagio–Presto

Haydn’s Clock Symphony was also written for his second visit to London in 1794. It was first heard there on 3rd March, followed by operatic songs, a performance by Viotti of a violin concerto and by Fiorillo of a Chaconne. The first movement starts, as do most of the London symphonies, with a slow introduction, here in D minor, an ominous prelude to a bright D major sonata-allegro.

CHAPTER 6

Switzerland: Le Locle – Château des Monts, Horological Museum

Le Locle was established as a centre of watch-making in the early 18th century. A collection of clocks and watches is displayed at the Horological Museum of the Château des Monts. Bequests and donations include the Maurice Yves Sandoz Collection, housed in rooms specially designed for its display.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in D major, ‘The Clock’ – II. Andante

Haydn’s Clock Symphony takes its nickname from the ticking of the clock reflected in the second movement of the symphony, with bassoons and plucked second violins and cellos providing the momentum.

CHAPTER 7

Czech Republic: Mĕlník • Vyšehrad Church and Landscape

The town of Mĕlník, dominated by the castle on the heights above, has a market square of particular charm, bordered by the characteristic façades of the surrounding buildings and the town hall. Vyšehrad, its fortress on a hill overlooking the River Vltava, now provides parks and areas for quiet recreation. Among its buildings is the Rotunda of St Martin, dating from the 11th century.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in D major, ‘The Clock’ – III. Menuet: Allegretto

The Minuet of the Clock Symphony returns from G major to the original key of D, with its Trio providing a lop-sided clock accompaniment to the initial flute melody.

CHAPTER 8

Belgium: Château of Gaasbeek

The Château of Gaasbeek in Belgium retains elements of its earlier existence as a fortified castle. It was converted into a château in the 16th century, with further changes made in the following years. In 1921 it became the property of the state and a museum, with fine tapestries among its exhibits.

Music Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in D major, ‘The Clock’ – IV. Finale: Vivace

The Clock Symphony ends with a movement in which the second subject is clearly a variant of the first. There is a D minor section, replaced by the major key to bring the work to a dramatic conclusion.

Keith Anderson

 

Recordings: Capella Istropolitana conducted by Barry Wordsworth [Naxos 8.550139 (Military); 8.550114 (Clock)]


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