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HAYDN: Symphonies Nos. 22, 29 and 60 (John Taylor/ Nicholas Ward/ Northern Chamber Orchestra) (Naxos: 8.550724)



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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)



Symphony No.22 in E Flat Major, "The Philosopher"


Symphony No.29 in E Major


Symphony No.60 in C Major, "Il Distratto"



Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the sonof a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St. Stephen'sCathedral in Vienna, he spent some years earning a living as best he could from teachingand 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 aBohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in 1761 by employment asVice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy,succeeded on his death in 1762 by his brother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of theelderly and somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to hisposition, to remain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.



On the completion of the magnificent palace at Esterhaza, inthe Hungarian plains under the new Prince, Haydn assumed command of an increased musicalestablishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, whichincluded the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, andmusic 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 stringinstrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.



On the death of Prince Nikolaus in1790, Haydn was able to accept an invitation to visit London, where he provided music forthe concert season organized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successfulvisit to London in 1794 and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterhazyfamily, the new head of which had settled principally at the family property inEisenstadt, where Haydn had started his career. Much of the year, however, was to be spentin Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dying in 1809, as the French armies ofNapoleon approached the city yet again.



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



By 1764 Haydn had established himself in the favour of PrinceNikolaus Esterhazy and had assumed the general duties of Kapellmeister, in place ofWerner, who was now old and infirm. It was for Eisenstadt, the principal residence of thePrince, that he wrote his Symphony No.22 in E flatmajor, known to contemporaries and posterity as Der Philosoph. The scoring of the work is unusual,calling for two cor anglais instead of the usual oboes, with bassoon, two horns in E flat,strings and cembalo. Muted strings provide a quaver accompaniment at the outset to themeasured antiphonal notes of the wind instruments, the cor anglais answering the horns.

Structurally the movement echoes the old church sonata form, here offering a slow openingmovement dominated by the recurrent chorale-like theme that appears in various keys. Thesecond movement Presto offers a marked contrast of mood, its opening material brieflydeveloped, before re-appearing in a third and final section. The Trio, framed by thecustomary repetition of the Minuet, allows prominence to the wind instruments, while theFinale has the hunting-horns echoed by the cor anglais in the rhythms of the chase.



Haydn's Symphony No.29 in Emajor was written in 1765 and scored for the usual orchestra of two oboes, twohorns and strings, with a bassoon doubling the bass line. The first movement opens with atheme entrusted first to the strings, then capped by the oboes. Modulation to the dominantkey brings wide leaps in the first violin and the introduction of a triplet rhythm thatfinds a place in the central development. The A major slow movement is in the hands of thestrings, with the first violins answered by the seconds. The wind instruments return forthe Minuet, but in the Trio the strings, now in E minor, are accompanied only by thesustained notes of the horns in a characteristic dance. The last movement opens strongly,proceeding to a development that momentarily relaxes the tension before the excitement ofa movement that forms the climax of the symphony, rather than serving as a finallight-hearted diversion.



In 1774 Haydn, now established at Esterhaza, provided musicfor the play Der Zerstreute, an adaptationof the French comedy Le distrait, by Jean Fran?ºois Regnard, presented by the theatretroupe led by Carl Wahr, who was engaged by Prince Nikolaus in successive summers. Theabsent-mindedness of the principal character, on which the comedy revolves, is echoed inHaydn's incidental music, the basis of his SymphonyNo.60 in C major, othetwise known as IlDistratto. Scored for an orchestra that includes trumpets and drums, it openswith an introductory movement, an overture, that has a stately initial Adagio and a livelyAllegro, the latter fading to nothing in momentary forgetfulness, before resuming with aforceful conclusion to the opening exposition. There is a similar lapse as the developmentcomes to an end. The second, slow movement, marked Andante, or, in some sources, Adagio,is in G major and offers a gentle enough melody, interrupted more forcefully by the windinstruments and in the middle section by what one source describes as an old Frenchmelody. There is a Minuet and a Trio, the latter, in the key of C minor, suggesting localpeasant influence. The strings enter in unison in the C minor Presto that follows, withits unexpected introduction of other melodies and keys. The drama now continues with anAdagio that in one source carries the subtitle diLamentatione. Here a first violin melody is accompanied by the plucked notes ofthe lower strings and the arpeggios of the second violins, a process suddenly interruptedby the intrusion of wind instruments and drums. The speed of the movement increases,leading to a finale Prestissimo for which the violins have forgotten to tune, and need toadjust the bottom strings of their instruments from F to G. A further interruption allowsthe appearance of an ominous folk-song, identified by scholars as The Night-Watchman, andin consequence an allusion to the narrative.



NorthernChamber Orchestra, Manchester


Formed in1967, the Northern Chamber Orchestra in Manchester has established itself as one ofEngland's finest chamber ensembles. Though often augmented to meet the requirements of theconcert programme, the orchestra normally contains 24 musicians and performs both inconcert and on disc without a conductor. Their repertoire ranges from the baroque era tomusic of our time, and they have gained a reputation for imaginative programme planning.

Concerts take the orchestra throughout the North of England and it has received four majorEuropean bursaries for its achievements in the community. With a series of recordings forNaxos the orchestra makes its debut on disc.



NicholasWard

Facts
Item number 8550724
Barcode 730099572422
Release date 01/01/2000
Category Orchestral | Classical Music
Label Naxos Classics | Naxos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Composers Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductors Nicholas Ward
Orchestras Northern Chamber Orchestra
Producers John Taylor
Disc: 1
Symphony No. 22 in E flat major, Hob.I:22, "The Ph
1 Adagio
2 Presto
3 Menuetto
4 Finale: Presto
Symphony No. 29 in E major, Hob.I:29
5 Allegro di molto
6 Andante
7 Menuet: Allegretto
8 Finale: Presto
Symphony No. 60 in C major, Hob.I:60, "Il distratt
9 Adagio - Allegro di molto
10 Andante
11 Menuetto
12 Presto
13 Adagio (di Lamentatione)
14 Finale: Prestissimo
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