HAYDN: Symphonies Nos. 44, 88 and 104 (Barry Wordsworth/ Capella Istropolitana/ Karol Kopernicky) (Naxos: 8.550287)
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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Symphony No.44 in E Minor "Trauer" ("Mourning")
Symphony No.88 in G Major
Symphony No.104 in D Major "London"
Joseph Haydn was as prolific as any eighteenth century composer, hisfecundity a matter, in good pan, of the nature of his employment and the lengthof 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 ageof eight, later making a living as best he could as a musician in the capitaland earning useful acquaintances through his association with Metastasio, thecourt 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 wigmaker,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 pan of the year at Esterhaza and pan of thewinter at Eisenstadt, where his first years of service to the Esterhazy familyhad 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 Kapellmeister to 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 led 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.
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 tohave been suggested by the composer, who is alleged to have asked for the slowmovement to be played at his funeral. The symphony is characteristic of theintensity of feeling that characterised the Sturmund Drang mood of the time, opening with a stark, rising figure,followed by a dramatic continuation. The Minuet is placed second instead ofthird and is in the form of a canon between the violins and the bass line, witha lyrical E Major Trio. The slow movement, also in the key of E Major, openswith muted strings, oboes and horns making their own delicate addition to thetexture as the music unfolds. The finale has a unison opening, the themedominating the whole movement, which sustains the intensity of the first barsof the work.
Symphony No.88 in G
Major was one of a pair of symphonies that the violinist Johann Tost took toParis from Esterhaza. Tost had led the second violins in Haydn's orchestra forfive years and was later to be the recipient of the set of string quartetsknown as the Tost Quartets. From Haydn's correspondence we gather that he maynot have been entirely trustworthy, a conclusion that could be drawn from hislater suggestion of setting up a business for pirating the musical manuscriptsat Esterhaza, and, indeed, from his arrangement with Spohr for the exclusiveright to his compositions. Tost, in fact, became a business-man, when he leftthe Esterhaza orchestra, marrying a former housekeeper to Prince Esterhazy andwinning a degree of prosperity that a mere violinist, even of his obviousproficiency, could hardly hope to attain.
The G Major Symphony
opens with a slow introduction, proceeding to a cheerfully robust Allegro,scored for the Esterhaza resources of single flute, oboes, bassoons, horns andstrings. Contrary to all expectation trumpets and drums appear in the D Majorslow movement, in which solo oboe and cello announce the principal theme, whichis followed by variations. There is a pleasant Minuet and Trio and a brilliantRondo in conclusion.
Symphony No.104 in D Major
is the last of Haydn's symphonies and the last of the dozen such workscommissioned by the violinist Salomon for his London seasons. It was probablyperformed for the first time at the Opera Concert given at the King's Theatreon 13th April, 1795. In 1791 Haydn had visited London for the first time, andthis 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 managementat the Hanover Square Rooms, and were given in collaboration with the violinistViotti.
This final symphony is scored for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets,bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, with the usual strings, and, at its firstperformance, 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 inthe customary tripartite form, its central development a masterpiece ofcraftsmanship. The slow movement allows the strings to otter a theme of simplebeauty, G Major answered by a central section in G Minor. The well known Minuetand Trio, in this, one of the best known of Haydn's symphonies, is followed bya final movement for the themes of which Croatian and London patriots havestaked their various claims. The themes certainly have all the contours offolk-song, from whatever region, and are treated with consummate skill andimagination.
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 orchestra works in the recording studio andundertakes frequent tours throughout Europe. Recordings by the orchestra on theNaxos label include The Best of BaroqueMusic, Bach's BrandenburgConcertos, fifteen each of Mozart's and Haydn's Symphonies as wellas works by Handel, Vivaldi and Telsmann.
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, a score used by Sir Kenneth MacMillan for his ballet, Las Hermanas.
In 1973 he became Assistant Conductor of the Royal Ballet's Touring Orchestraand in 1974 Principal Conductor of Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet. He made hisdebut at Covent Garden conducting MacMillan's Manon>
in 1975 and since then has conducted there frequently. He has touredextensively with the Royal Ballet, conducting orchestras in New Zealand, HongKong, Singapore, Korea, Canada and Australia, where he has been