About this Recording
8.557236 - HAYDN: Symphonies Nos. 103 and 104 (Tintner Edition 4)
English  French 


Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Symphony No.103 in E flat major, ‘Drum Roll’ Performance recorded 10 April 1988

Symphony No.104 in D major, ‘London’ Performance recorded 20 April 1988

Haydn’s music was one of Georg Tintner’s great loves. He said: “Good old Papa Haydn. He wrote a lot of music. He even invented, in a way, the symphony, and the string quartet. But when it comes to compare him with the real greats like Beethoven and Mozart, he is found wanting. Now that was established opinion for about 150 years. It is totally wrong. And Beethoven and Mozart would have been the first ones to say so. Why did it happen? I think largely because in the nineteenth century one expected a great artist also to be a great man. A prototype of that of course is Beethoven. Another one who wanted to seem a great man is Wagner, though he was not.

“We see Haydn first in the Vienna Boys Choir. He had a magnificent voice, therefore he was threatened with a rather unpleasant operation in order to preserve his voice for the rest of his life, and though he was of a burning faith I think his belief didn’t go quite as far as that and he quickly absconded before it happened. Years of extreme poverty followed. In fact he was so poor that he could neither hire nor buy a piano, and he was one of those composers who needed a piano for composing. And so for months, I think even two years, he didn’t write a note. Then came an offer to become court composer and conductor to Count Esterházy, and Haydn, being the musician he was, saw an ideal opportunity to experiment with players and singers. And he had to write an enormous amount very quickly. His position is very similar to another great composer, Vivaldi, who was the composer in an orphanage and had to turn it out week by week, but Haydn used this period of many years in Esterháza to constantly improve his craft.

“His last symphony, which Sir Donald Tovey considered his greatest – one may or may not agree with that, but it is certainly a magnificent piece which combines all the achievements of depth of feeling, passion, humour and enormous craft, counterpoint, and the rest. These two last symphonies are over two hundred years old and they are as fresh as when they were written. And there is one other feeling in Haydn’s music which is rare with great composers: it has a feeling of the open air. Perhaps because he was born in the countryside, and as such he is in the company of Delius who has this feeling of open air ... Bruckner, Dvorˇák ... but you can count these nature people on one hand.”

Haydn wrote the Symphony No.103, the so-called Drum-Roll, in 1795 during his second visit to London. Here he could include clarinets in the scoring, as well as a second flute, instruments not available to him at Esterháza. The symphony was first performed at the King’s Theatre on 2nd March at an Opera Concert, part of a series that replaced the earlier London concerts organized by Salomon.

The slow introduction of the first movement starts with a drum-roll, followed by a long-drawn theme from cellos, double basses and bassoons, hinting at the Dies irae of the Requiem Mass, its final dynamic contrasts leading to a lively Allegro, towards the close of which the drum-roll and mysterious Adagio reappear. The second movement is a set of double variations, its first C minor theme announced by the strings, joined by oboes, bassoons and horns for the second theme, in C major, both of which are apparently of Balkan folk provenance and are then varied in turn with all the subtlety of which Haydn was a master. The Minuet has a companion Trio that allows the London clarinettists a dangerous prominence. French horns introduce the Finale, remarkably based on one theme and as original as anything Haydn wrote.

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 with Dr Haydn at the pianoforte. The symphony is scored for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, with the usual strings. There is a slow introduction leading to a lively Allegro in the customary tripartite form, its central development a masterpiece of craftsmanship. The slow movement allows the strings to utter a theme of simple beauty. The well known Minuet and Trio is followed by a final movement whose themes have a decidedly folk-song feel.

Georg Tintner

Georg Tintner was born in Vienna in 1917. He began studying piano at the age of six and to compose soon after. From nine to thirteen he was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir, where he also conducted the choir in performances of his own compositions. At thirteen he entered the Vienna State Academy as a composition prodigy, studying composition with Josef Marx and conducting with Felix Weingartner. At eighteen he was the conductor of a training choir of the Vienna Boys Choir, and trained the choir for a performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Bruno Walter in 1936. His compositions were being performed in concert and broadcast by Austrian Radio, and at nineteen he became assistant conductor at the Vienna Volksoper.

In 1938 he fled the Nazis, spending a year in England before emigrating to New Zealand. For several years he ran a poultry farm – as a result of which he became a total vegetarian – before becoming Music Director of the Auckland String Players and Auckland Choral Society in 1947. He was also an avowed socialist and pacifist, and as such he rode a bicycle as “a symbol of the ultimate in harmlessness”.

In 1954 he went to Australia as Resident Conductor of the National Opera and then the Elizabethan Opera. In the following years he toured Australia widely and pioneered television opera with the Australian Broadcasting Commission. In 1964 he was Music Director of the New Zealand Opera, and in 1966-67 was Music Director of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra. Although offered an extended contract, Tintner left for political reasons. He went to London and Sadler’s Wells (English National Opera) for three years, with guest appearances with the London Mozart Players, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia and the London Symphony Orchestra for the BBC.

He returned to Australia in 1970 as Music Director of the West Australian Opera Company. In 1971 he was invited as Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, a visit so successful that it was repeated seven times. Tintner had a special rapport with young musicians, conducting many concerts with the national youth orchestras of several countries. A 1974 series of lectures have been broadcast many times in English-speaking countries, and he was renowned for his concert introductions, some of which may be heard in this edition.

Tintner’s repertoire included 56 operas, about two-thirds of which he conducted from memory. In 1974 he became Senior Resident Conductor of the Australian Opera for two years. While there he conducted now-legendary performances of Fidelio, expressive of his lifelong commitment to compassionate humanism. From 1976 Tintner was Music Director of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra until moving to Canada at the end of 1987 as Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia. He appeared with all Australian, New Zealand orchestras and opera companies, and later with all major Canadian orchestras including the Montreal and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. In the United States he toured with the Canadian Brass and appeared with the Michigan Opera Theatre.

He made many commercial recordings, including some for the CBC which are being reissued in the present Memorial Edition. His Naxos series of all eleven Bruckner symphonies brought him worldwide acclaim in his final two years.

Georg Tintner has been honoured in four countries. He was awarded several honorary doctorates, and honours including the Officer’s Cross of the Austrian Order Of Merit. He was a Member of the Order of Canada

He died in Halifax in October 1999.

Tanya Tintner

Symphony Nova Scotia

Symphony Nova Scotia (SNS) is Canada’s only fully professional symphony orchestra east of Quebec City. Founded in 1983, the 37 musicians of Symphony Nova Scotia have a mandate “to enhance the quality of life of citizens of Nova Scotia.” Symphony Nova Scotia is dedicated to sharing live classical music with audiences across Nova Scotia through its concerts, and with all Canadians through its many CBC broadcasts. The orchestra also collaborates with other music, theatre, and dance partners, and has recently established the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus.


Concertmaster: Philippe Djokic.  Violin: Janet Dunsworth, Chun-He Gao, Beverley Grove, Ryan Kho, Dorota Kwiecinska, Karen Langille, Anita Gao Lee, Yi Lee, Anne Rapson, Peter Stryniak, David Thompson, Christopher Wilkinson.  Viola: Yvonne DeRoller, Mary Kanner, Susan Sayle, Burt Wathen.  Cello: Pierre Djokic, David Moulton, Mark Rodgers, Shimon Walt.  Bass: Max Kasper, Lena Turofsky.  Flute: Lucie Batteke, Patricia Creighton.  Oboe: Maureen Byrne, Suzanne Lemieux, Margaret Pheby.  Clarinet: Margaret Isaacs, John Rapson.  Bassoon: Christopher Palmer, Ivor Rothwell.  Horn: William Costin, Jean-Marc Dupre, Steven Field, Margaret Howard.  Trumpet: Jeffrey Stern, Geoffrey Thompson.  Timpani: Michael Baker

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