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8.550287 - HAYDN: Symphonies, Vol. 3 (Nos. 44, 88, 104)
Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Joseph Haydn was as prolific as any eighteenth century composer, his fecundity a matter, in good pan, of the nature of his employment and the length of his life. Born in 1732 in the village of Rohrau, the san of a wheelwright, he was recruited to the choir of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna at the age of eight, later making a living as best he could as a musician in the capital and earning useful acquaintances through his association with Metastasio, the court Poet, and the composer Nicola Porpora.
In 1759, after some eight years of teaching and free-lance performance, whether as violinist or keyboard-player, Haydn found greater security in a position in the household of Count Morzin as director of music, wintering in Vienna and spending the summer on the Count's estate in Bohemia, where an orchestra was available. In 1760 Haydn married the eldest daughter of a wigmaker, a match that was to bring him no great solace, and by the following year he had entered the service of Prince Paul Anton Esterházy as deputy to the old Kapellmeister Gregor Werner, who had much fault to find with his young colleague. In 1762 Prince Paul Anton died and was succeeded by his brother Prince Nikolaus, who concerned himself with the building of the great palace of Esterháza. In 1766 Werner died, and Haydn assumed the full duties of Kapellmeister, spending the larger pan of the year at Esterháza and pan of the winter at Eisenstadt, where his first years of service to the Esterházy family had passed.
Haydn's responsibilities at Esterháza were manifold. As Kapellmeister he was in full charge of the musicians employed by the Prince; writing music of all kinds, and directing performances both instrumental and operatic. This busy if isolated career came to an end with the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790. From then onwards Haydn had greater freedom, while continuing to enjoy the title and emoluments of his position as Kapellmeister to the Prince's successors.
Haydn's release from his immediate responsibilities allowed him, in 1791, to accept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concerts organised by Johann Peter Salomon. His considerable success led to a second visit in 1794. The following year, at the request of the new Prince Esterházy, who had succeeded his eider brother in 1794, he resumed some of his earlier duties as Kapellmeister, now in Eisenstadt and in Vienna, where he took up his own residence until his death in 1809.
Symphony No.44 in E Minor was written about the year 1771. The name by which it is generally known, Trauer Symphony (Mourning), is said to have been suggested by the composer, who is alleged to have asked for the slow movement to be played at his funeral. The symphony is characteristic of the intensity of feeling that characterised the Sturm und Drang mood of the time, opening with a stark, rising figure, followed by a dramatic continuation. The Minuet is placed second instead of third and is in the form of a canon between the violins and the bass line, with a lyrical E Major Trio. The slow movement, also in the key of E Major, opens with muted strings, oboes and horns making their own delicate addition to the texture as the music unfolds. The finale has a unison opening, the theme dominating the whole movement, which sustains the intensity of the first bars of the work.
Symphony No.88 in G Major was one of a pair of symphonies that the violinist Johann Tost took to Paris from Esterháza. Tost had led the second violins in Haydn's orchestra for five years and was later to be the recipient of the set of string quartets known as the Tost Quartets. From Haydn's correspondence we gather that he may not have been entirely trustworthy, a conclusion that could be drawn from his later suggestion of setting up a business for pirating the musical manuscripts at Esterháza, and, indeed, from his arrangement with Spohr for the exclusive right to his compositions. Tost, in fact, became a business-man, when he left the Esterháza orchestra, marrying a former housekeeper to Prince Esterházy and winning a degree of prosperity that a mere violinist, even of his obvious proficiency, could hardly hope to attain.
The G Major Symphony opens with a slow introduction, proceeding to a cheerfully robust Allegro, scored for the Esterháza resources of single flute, oboes, bassoons, horns and strings. Contrary to all expectation trumpets and drums appear in the D Major slow movement, in which solo oboe and cello announce the principal theme, which is followed by variations. There is a pleasant Minuet and Trio and a brilliant Rondo in conclusion.
Symphony No.104 in D Major is the last of Haydn's symphonies and the last of the dozen such works commissioned by the violinist Salomon for his London seasons. It was probably performed for the first time at the Opera Concert given at the King's Theatre on 13th April, 1795. In 1791 Haydn had visited London for the first time, and this high I y successful and lucrative visit was followed by a second in 1794. The Opera Concerts replaced the former series under Salomon's sole management at the Hanover Square Rooms, and were given in collaboration with the violinist Viotti.
This final symphony is scored for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, with the usual strings, and, at its first performance, Dr. Haydn at the pianoforte. There is a slow introduction, which, as so often, has a motivic connection with w hat follows, a lively Allegro in the customary tripartite form, its central development a masterpiece of craftsmanship. The slow movement allows the strings to otter a theme of simple beauty, G Major answered by a central section in G Minor. The well known Minuet and Trio, in this, one of the best known of Haydn's symphonies, is followed by a final movement for the themes of which Croatian and London patriots have staked their various claims. The themes certainly have all the contours of folk-song, from whatever region, and are treated with consummate skill and imagination.
In 1987 while retaining his connection with both Royal Ballet companies as Quest conductor, Barry Wordsworth also worked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Ulster Orchestra, the BBC Concert and the London Philharmonic Orchestras. For the Naxos label Wordsworth recorded a number of Mozart and Haydn symphonies, works by Smetana and Dvorak and for the Marco Polo label works by Bax.
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