HAYDN: Famous Symphonies, Vol. 2 (Barry Wordsworth/ Capella Istropolitana/ Karol Kopernicky) (Naxos: 8.550114)
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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Symphony No.83 in G Minor, La Poule
Symphony No.94 in G Major, Surprise
Symphony No.101 in D Major, The Clock
Joseph Haydn was as prolific as any eighteenth century composer, hisfecundity a matter, in good part, of the nature of his employment and thelength of his life. Born in 1732 in the village of Rohrau, the son of awheelwright, he was recruited to the choir of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Viennaat the age of eight, later earning a living as best he could as a musician inthe capital and making useful acquaintances through his association withMetastasio, 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 aposition in the household of Count Morzin as director of music, wintering inVienna and spending the summer on the Count's estate in Bohemia, where anorchestra was available. In 1760 Haydn married the eldest daughter of a wig-maker,a match that was to bring him no great solace, and by the following year he hadentered the service of Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy as deputy to the oldKapellmeister Gregor Werner, who had much fault to find with his youngcolleague. In 1762 Prince Paul Anton died and was succeeded by his brotherPrince Nikolaus, who concerned himself with the building of the great palace ofEsterhaza. In 1766 Werner died, and Haydn assumed the full duties ofKapellmeister, spending the larger part of the year at Esterhaza and part ofthe winter at Eisenstadt, where his first years of service to the Esterhazyfamily had passed.
Haydn's responsibilities at Esterhaza were manifold. As Kapellmeisterhe was in full charge of the musicians employed by the Prince, writing music ofall kinds, and directing performances both instrumental and operatic. This busyif 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 thetitle and emoluments of his position as Kapellmeisterto the Prince'ssuccessors.
Haydn's release from his immediate responsibilities allowed him, in1791, to accept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music for theconcerts organised by Johann Peter Salomon. His considerable success red to asecond visit in 1794. The following year, at the request of the new PrinceEsterhazy, who had succeeded his eider brother in 1794, he resumed some of hisearlier duties as Kapellmeister, now in Eisenstadt and in Vienna, where he tookup his own residence until his death in 1809.
In 1778 Mozart had visited Paris in the hope of finding ernployment ofa suitable kind. He had there obliged the public with a symphony written forthe larger orchestra available in the French capital. At Esterhaza Haydn had anorchestra of some dozen string players. The concerts of the masonic Logeolympique, for which Haydn provided a set of symphonies in 1785, could muster40 violins and ten basses. These Haydn Paris Symphonies had been commissionedby the young Comte d'Ogny and were performed in the 1787 season.
Symphony No.83, the second of the set, bears the nickname La Poule, notwith reference to any lady of the French court, although the young Count'smistress was the subject of considerable comment, but a farm-yard reference tothe clucking of the hen. The first movement has an ironically old-fashioned airabout its opening subject, its intentions made clear by the clucking of thesecond subject, a witty juxtaposition given still more point in the centraldevelopment section. The second movement is an E flat major Andante, with itsown dynamic surprises, followed by a Minuet and Trio, the latter with aparticularly charming dance like melody. The symphony ends with a witty andvaried finale.
In 1791 Haydn had visited England for the first time, responding to theinvitation and commission offered by the German-born violinist Salomon. Six newsymphonies were to be provided for the subscription concerts organised bySalomon at the Hanover Square Rooms. SymphonyNo.94 was to be performed at a concert on 23rd March, 1792, thesixth of the new series, and proved to have an enduring popularity.
The first movement opens with a slow introduction, followed by a gentleenough first subject and a double second subject. The well known C major slowmovement provides the surprise of a sudden burst of sound, interrupting thesteady progress of the melody, which is then varied. The Minuet is much quickerthan is usually the case, its Trio opening with first violins and bassoon inoctaves. The finale is launched, as usual, by the strings, with a cheerfulfirst subject, succeeded by a contrasting second subject in sonata form.
Symphony No.101 belongsto the group of six symphonies written for Haydn's second visit to London in1794. It was played there at a concert on 3rd March, followed by operaticsongs, a performance by Viotti of a violin concerto and by Fiorillo of aChaconne. Again, as with most of the London symphonies, there is a slowintroduction, this time in D minor, an eerie preface to a bright D majormovement from which the symphony derives its nickname, The Clock, its sourcethe accompanying figure with which the movement opens. The Minuet returns fromG major to the key of D major, its Trio providing a lop-sided clockaccompaniment to the initial flute melody. The symphony ends with a finale inwhich the second subject is a clear variant of the first. There is a D minorsection, replaced by the major key to bring the work to a dramatic conclusion.
The Capella Istropolitana was founded in 1983 by members of the SlovakPhilharmonic Orchestra, at first as a chamber orchestra and then as anorchestra large enough to tackle the standard classical repertoire. Based inBratislava, its name drawn from the ancient name still preserved in theAcademia Istropolitana, the historic university established in the Slovak andone-time Hungarian capital by Matthias Corvinus, the orchestra worksprincipally in the recording studio. Recordings by the orchestra on the Naxoslabel include The Best of Baroque Music, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, fifteeneach of Mozart's and Haydn's symphonies as well as works by Handel, Vivaldi andTelemann.
Barry Wordsworth's career has been dominated by his work for the RoyalBallet which started when he played the solo part in Frank Martin's HarpsichordConcerto, which was the score used by Sir Kenneth MacMillan for his ballet, Las Hermanas. In 1973 he became AssistantConductor of the Royal Ballet's Touring Orchestra and in 1974 PrincipalConductor of Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet. He made his debut at Covent Gardenconducting MacMillan's Manon in1975 and since then has conducted there frequently. He has toured extensivelywith the Royal Ballet, conducting orchestras in New Zealand, Hong Kong,Singapore, Korea, Canada and Australia, where he has been guest conductor forAustralian Ballet.
In 1987 while retaining his connection with both Royal Ballet companiesas guest conductor, Barry Wordsworth also worked with the Royal LiverpoolPhilharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the UlsterOrchestra, the BBC Concert and the London Philharmonic Orchestras. He alsocontinued to work with New Sadlers Wells Opera, with whom he has recordedexcerpts from Kalman's Countess Maritza
and Lehar's The Count of Luxembourg
and The Merry Widow. For theNaxos label Wordsworth recorded a number of Mozart and