HAYDN: Symphonies Nos. 69, 89 and 91

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Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)

Symphony No.69 in C Major, "Laudon"

Symphony No.89 in F Major

Symphony No.91 in E Flat Major

Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the son of awheelwright. 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 playingthe violin or keyboard, and was able to learn from the old musician Porpora,whose assistant he became. Haydn's first appointment was in 1759 asKapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin. This was followed in1761 by employment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in theEmpire, Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy, succeeded on his death in 1762 by hisbrother Prince Nikolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhatobstructive Kapellmeister, Gregor Werner, Haydn succeeded to his position, toremain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life.

On the completion under the new Prince of the magnificent palace atEsterhaza, built on the site of a former hunting-lodge set on the Hungarianplains, Haydn assumed command of an increased musical establishment. Here he hadresponsibility for the musical activities of the palace, which included theprovision and direction of instrumental music, opera and theatre music, andmusic for the church. For his patron he provided a quantity of chamber music ofall kinds, particularly for the Prince's own peculiar instrument, the baryton, abowed string instrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked.

On the death of Prince Nikolaus in 1790, Haydn was able to accept aninvitation to visit London, where he provided music for the concert seasonorganized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successful visit toLondon 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, wasto be spent in Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dying in 1809, as theFrench armies of Napoleon approached the city yet again.

Whether Haydn was the father of the symphony is a question best left tomusical genealogists. His career, however, spanned the period during which theclassical symphony developed as the principal orchestral form. He himselfcertainly played a major part in this development, from his first symphony sometime before 1759 to his final series of symphonies written for the greaterresources of London in 1794 and 1795. The London symphonies were preceded bysimilar works for Paris and a much larger body of compositions of more modestscoring for the orchestra at Esterhaza and at Eisenstadt, many of the lastcalling for a keyboard continuo, at least with the relatively smaller number ofstring players available.

Haydn probably wrote his Symphony No.69 in or about the year 1778,dedicating it to General Laudon (Freiherr von Laudon), a celebrated hero in thewars against Turkey, who had, nevertheless, scarcely distinguished himself in1778 by his irresolution during the war with Prussia over the Bavariansuccession. In 1783 Haydn arranged the symphony for pianoforte, with optionalviolin, although the last movement was omitted on publication. In correspondencewith the publisher Artaria Haydn made it clear that any abridgement of the workwould be amply compensated by the dedication to Laudon, a name to attractbuyers. The symphony is scored for the usual strings, with pairs of oboes,bassoons and French horns, to which are added trumpets and drums. Oboes doublethe violins in the first four measures of the principal subject of the firstmovement, while the strings alone introduce the second subject. The centraldevelopment section opens in A minor and brings marked dynamic contrasts beforethe return of the principal theme to introduce the recapitulation. Trumpets anddrums play no part in the F major slow movement, introduced by the strings andleading to dramatic dynamic shading, as swelling sound dies away to nothing atthe end of the first and second sections of the movement. Trumpets and drums adda martial element to the Minuet, its Trio melody entrusted to first violin andsolo oboe. There is a brilliant final movement, with a C minor episode fromwhich the first violin softly leads the way back again to the lively principaltheme.

Symphony No.89 in F major is one of the pair of symphonies that theEsterhazy violinist Johann Tost had taken with him to Paris in 1788, charged byHaydn with their sale. The latter entertained and expressed in hiscorrespondence with his Paris publisher clear doubts about Tost's probity. Anysuspicions of this kind were later removed, when Tost married a housekeeper inthe Esterhazy establishment, acquiring property that enabled him to go intobusiness as a cloth-merchant and to commission music himself. The symphony isscored for pairs of oboes, horns and bassoons, strings and a single flute.

Strong tutti chords open the first movement leading to the principal theme,entrusted, as is the second subject, to the strings. The C major slow movementis borrowed, as is the last movement, from one of the concertos for the limitedlira organizzata written in 1786 for the King of Naples. The movement, varied inorchestration contains a central C minor section, heard before the return of theingenuous principal theme. The wind band is deployed at the opening of theMinuet, which frames a gentler Trio. The principal theme of the last movement ismarked with the unusual direction strascinando (dragging), when it makes itsfirst re-appearance and there are marked dynamic contrasts that provide thenecessary element of surprise, with which Haydn delighted and tantalised hisaudiences.

The three symphonies, Nos. 90, 91 and 92, were written partly in response toa further commission from the Comte d'Ogny for three symphonies to be performedin Paris by the Concert de la Loge Olympique, for which Haydn had written hissix Paris Symphonies, Nos. 82 -87. At the same time, with a commercialacumen worthy of Beethoven, he endeavoured to fulfil the request of Prince vonOettingen-Wallerstein for three symphonies. Symphonies Nos. 91 and 92

were dedicated to Comte d'Ogny. The first of these, in E fiat major, is scoredfor flute, pairs of oboes, bassoons and horns, and strings. The slowintroduction with which the symphony begins leads to an Allegro with a cunninglycontrived first subject that allows the first eight measures of the melody toserve as a bass for the second eight. The second subject ascends in sequence,while the triplets that end the exposition suggest a rhythm to be continued inthe central development section. The B fiat slow movement theme serves as thebasis for following variations, the first of which gives melodic prominence tothe bassoon. The strings introduce a minor key version of the material, whileare turn to the major allows the flute to double the melody, before being joinedby other wind instruments. The lower strings have the melody, joined by the twobassoons, followed by double bass and second horn, to the accompaniment of arepeated rhythmic figure drawn from the theme itself. The repeated Minuet framesa Trio that introduces a canon between the bassoon and first violin, playingtogether, and the flute. The Finale is dominated by its principal subject,announced initially by the first violins. The first notes of the theme are laterput to good use in a secondary role. A derivative of this is heard as thesymphony draws to a close with all the emphatic assurance of Beethoven.

Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia

Item number 8550769
Barcode 4891030507692
Release date 12/01/1999
Category Classical
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Composers Haydn, Franz Joseph
Haydn, Franz Joseph
Conductors Drahos, Bela
Drahos, Bela
Orchestras Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia
Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia
Producers Toth, Ibolya
Toth, Ibolya
Disc: 1
Symphony No. 91 in E flat major, Hob.I:91
1 Vivace
2 Un poco adagio piu tosto andante
3 Menuetto
4 Finale: Presto
5 Vivace
6 Andante con moto
7 Menuet: Allegretto
8 Finale: Vivace assai
9 Largo - Allegro assai
10 Andante
11 Menuet: Un poco allegretto
12 Finale: Vivace
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