HAYDN: Symphonies, Vol. 31

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Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Symphonies Nos. 18-21
  Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau in 1732, the son of a wheelwright. Trained at the choir-school of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, he subsequently spent some years earning a living as best he could from teaching and playing the violin or keyboard, and was able to profit from association with the old composer Porpora, whose assistant he became. Haydn's first appointment was probably as early as 1758 as Kapellmeister to a Bohemian nobleman, Count von Morzin, whose kinsman had once served as patron to Vivaldi. This was followed in 1761 by employment as Vice-Kapellmeister to one of the richest men in the Empire, Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy, succeeded after his death in 1762 by Prince Nicolaus. On the death in 1766 of the elderly and somewhat obstructive Kapellmeister Gregor Werner, who had found much to complain about in the professionalism of his young and resented deputy, Haydn succeeded to his position, to remain in the same employment, nominally at least, for the rest of his life. On the completion of the magnificent palace at Esterhaza in the Hungarian plains under Prince Nicolaus, Haydn assumed command of an increased musical establishment. Here he had responsibility for the musical activities of the palace, which included the provision and direction of instrumental music, opera and music for the theatre, as well as music 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 string instrument with sympathetic strings that could also be plucked. Prince Nicolaus died in 1790 and Haydn found himself able to accept an invitation to visit London. There he provided music for concert seasons organized by the violinist-impresario Salomon. A second successful visit to London in 1794 and 1795 was followed by a return to duty with the Esterhazy family, the new head of which had settled principally at the family property in Eisenstadt, where Haydn had started his career with them. Much of the year, however, was to be spent in Vienna, where Haydn passed his final years, dying in 1809, as the French armies of Napoleon approached the city yet again. Haydn lived during the period of the eighteenth century that saw the development of instrumental music from the age of Bach and Handel to the era of the classical sonata, with its tripartite first-movement form and complementary two or three further movements, the former the basis now of much instrumental composition. The symphony may claim to have become the most important form of orchestral composition and owes a great deal, if not its precise paternity, to Haydn. He first attempted such composition some time before 1759 and wrote his last symphonies for London in the final decade of the century. Symphony No. 18 in G major has been dated to about 1760. It is scored for the now usual instruments, pairs of oboes and French horns, strings and continuo. The first movement has elements of the baroque church sonata about it, both in its dotted rhythms, its tempo and treatment of the violins. The second movement, marked Allegro molto, presses forward, the oboes and French horns now released from the constraints of the preceding movement. The exposition ends with a brief excursion into the minor, an element heard again in the repeated second section, with its recapitulation. The third and final movement, a Tempo di Menuet in ternary form, frames a G minor trio section. Symphony No. 19 in D major, perhaps a slightly earlier work, seems also to have been written for Count Morzin, and is again scored for pairs of oboes and horns, strings and continuo. The first movement, marked Allegro molto, has a principal theme characterized by the rising notes of the triad. Another element in this theme forms the substance of the second subject, both returning in recapitulation after the central development. The slow movement, a D minor Andante, scored for strings alone, modulates into F major in its first section. The characteristic syncopation that had appeared earlier returns in the central section and again in the recapitulated first section. The final Presto, in 3/8, is in broadly sonata-allegro form, with a subsidiary theme that makes full use of sequence, as so often in these symphonies. Dated to the period before Haydn entered the service of the Esterhazys, Symphony No. 20 in C major is scored for additional trumpets and timpani, instruments apparently available at Count Morzin's Bohemian residence at Lukavec. It opens with a jubilantly impressive first movement in the familiar tripartite form, its central development now rather more extended. The G major second movement is scored for strings alone, the first violin presenting the principal melody, accompanied by the second violins and the plucked notes of violas, cellos and double basses. The return of the original key and the wind instruments in the Menuet provides an immediate contrast, returning to frame an F major Trio for strings only. The final Presto, again in 3/8, is a rondo, with one episode in C minor that largely depends on the strings. Symphony No. 21 in A major, scored for oboes, horns, strings and continuo, probably belongs to Haydn's early period at Eisenstadt. The opening string phrase is answered by the oboes in the first movement, an Adagio suggesting the baroque church sonata in form and texture. The second movement Presto offers an immediate contrast in tempo and in its sonata-allegro form. The Menuet is duly repeated after an A minor Trio for strings only. The symphony ends with a sonata-form Finale which brings moments of drama in its repeated exposition, an element that makes its due return in the final recapitulation. Keith Anderson
Item number 8557657
Barcode 747313265725
Release date 06/01/2006
Category Classical
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Composers Haydn, Franz Joseph
Haydn, Franz Joseph
Conductors Mallon, Kevin
Mallon, Kevin
Orchestras Camerata, Toronto
Camerata, Toronto
Producers Norbert Kraft & Bonnie Silver
Norbert Kraft & Bonnie Silver
Disc: 1
Symphony No. 21 in A major, Hob.I:21
1 I. Andante moderato
2 II. Allegro molto
3 III. Tempo di minuet
4 I. Allegro molto
5 II. Andante
6 III. Presto
7 I. Allegro molto
8 II. Andante cantabile
9 III. Minuet
10 IV. Presto
11 I. Adagio
12 II. Presto
13 III. Minuet
14 IV. Finale: Allegro molto
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