About this Recording
8.554154 - HAYDN: Symphonies, Vol. 19 (Nos. 32, 33, 34)

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Symphonies Nos. 32, 33 and 34

Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the son of a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, he spent some years earning a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard, and was able to learn from the old musician Porpora, whose assistant he became. Haydn's first appointment was in 1759 as Kapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by employment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, succeeded on his death in 1762 by his brother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, to remain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.

On the completion, under the new Prince, of the magnificent palace at Esterháza, built on the site of a former hunting-lodge set on the Hungarian plains, Haydn assumed command of an increased musical establishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, which included the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, and music for the church. For his patron he provided a quantity of chamber music of all kinds, particularly for the Prince's own peculiar instrument, the baryton, a bowed string instrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.

On the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790, Haydn was able to accept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concerto season organized by the violinist-impresario Solomon. A second successful visit to London in 1794 and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterházy family, the new head of which had settled principally at the family property in Eisenstadt, where Haydn had started his career. Much of the year, however, was to be spent in Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dying in 1809, as the French armies of Napoleon approached the city yet again.

Whether Haydn was the father of the symphony is a question best left to musical genealogists. His career, however, spanned the period during which the classical symphony developed as the principal orchestral form. He himself certainly played a major part in this development, from his first symphony some time before 1759 to his final series of symphonies written for the greater resources of London in 1794 and 1795. The London symphonies were preceded by similar works for Paris and a much larger body of compositions of more modest scoring for the orchestra at Esterháza and at Eisenstadt, many of the last calling for a keyboard continuo, at least with the relatively smaller number of string players available.

It seems that Symphony No. 32 and Symphony No. 33 may be dated to 1760, or thereabouts, to a period when Haydn was employed in Lukavec by Count von Morzin in a musical establishment that was soon to be disbanded. The first of these is a festive work, in the appropriate key of C major and using trumpets and drums. It is otherwise scored for the necessary strings, with pairs of oboes and horns, the latter presumably in C alto, and a bassoon doubling the cellos and double bass. The first movement opens in appropriate style, with a bright, celebratory first subject, leading to a second subject that is at first in G minor. There is a central development, exploring this material and leading to the inevitable recapitulation, the return of the original key and first subject, with the second subject, which has had its turn already in the development, now omitted. The whole orchestra continues with the Minuet, with its C minor Trio for strings alone. This is followed by the slow movement, marked Adagio ma non troppo, an F major movement scored only for strings. Wind instruments return for the final Presto, in a forceful and triumphant 3/8, a briefer version of the tripartite form that had marked the first movement.

Symphony No. 33, in C major and similarly scored, also belongs to Haydn's period of employment under Count von Morzin. The celebratory mood of the work echoes that of its immediate numerical predecessor, opening with a movement in 3/4, marked Vivace. There is a more varied and extended second subject, in G major, the key in which the development begins, with its reminiscence of the first theme and inventive writing in the music that follows, with an element of surprise in an anticipation of the recapitulation, before the proper return of the first subject and material of the initial exposition. The second movement, marked Andante, is in C minor and scored for strings only, for a time using a sparer two-part texture. The Minuet, for the whole orchestra, frames a softer Trio in F major, scored for strings. The wind instruments return for the final Allegro, now in a fuller tripartite sonata-form.

Symphony No. 34 in D minor belongs to a slightly later period, probably 1765, when Haydn was in Eisenstadt in the service of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. The work, perhaps the earliest of Haydn's symphonies to be in a minor key, is scored for two oboes, bassoon, two horns in D and strings, and follows the pattern of a church sonata with an opening slow movement, here marked Adagio. This movement, imbued with melancholy, is followed by a cheerful D major Allegro, with wide spacing in the first subject for first violins and a second subject that brings prominence to the oboes, material much abbreviated in its final appearance in the recapitulation. The same key continues in the Minuet, marked Moderato, and Trio, the latter allowing the wind instruments to assume greater importance. Triplet rhythms mark the thematic material that introduces the final Presto assai, with its central passage in the tonic minor key.

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