Joseph Haydn – Hob I:94 – Symphony No. 94 in G major “Surprise”- period instrument recording

Joseph Haydn – Hob I:94 – Symphony No. 94 in G major “Surprise”- period instrument recording

The symphony is set in 4 movements:
1. Adagio cantabile – Vivace assai (0:00)
2. Andante (8:48)
3. Menuetto: Allegro molto (15:30)
4. Finale: Allegro di molto (19:18)

Performers: The Orchestra of the 18th Century, conducted by Frans Brüggen.

One of my favourite Haydn symphonies! Enjoy the Surprise … 😉


Haydn’s Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI:32 on harpsichord

Haydn’s Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI:32 on harpsichord

Sabina Chukurova, finalist in the 2012 Westfield International Harpsichord Competition, performs Haydn’s Sonata in B Minor, Hob. XVI:32. This video was recorded on Saturday, August 18th, 2012 in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Tom Beghin: The ‘Virtual Haydn’, a new experience in performance

Tom Beghin: The ‘Virtual Haydn’, a new experience in performance

Tom Beghin’s lecture about the bluray box set released on Naxos in 2009 with all the works for solo keyboard composed by Haydn.

Description from the web project:

Keyboardist/musicologist Tom Beghin, record producer Martha de Francisco, and virtual acoustics architect Wieslaw Woszczyk have joined forces to apply VIRTUAL ACOUSTICS for the first time to a commercial recording of this magnitude: a complete recording of Haydn’s works for solo keyboard. More than fourteen hours of music are performed in nine “virtual rooms.” These are actual rooms where Haydn or a typical player of his keyboard music would have performed. They have been acoustically sampled, electronically mapped, then precisely recreated in the recording studio. Featured rooms range from the most private to the most public, from Haydn’s own study in his Eisenstadt home to the Holywell Music Room in Oxford, England.

Further enhancing this unique experience of the Haydn repertoire are the seven historical keyboards on which the music is performed. All seven instruments, from a 1760s clavichord to a 1798 English grand piano, were built for this project by today’s leading artisans. Three of these—a 1755 harpsichord with an idiomatic “Viennese short octave,” a 1788 Tafelklavier, and a 1780 fortepiano with an early-Viennese stoss-action—are world premieres. Modern audiences can now hear these instruments again in the acoustical environments for which they were originally designed.

For Haydn’s “Six Prince Esterházy Sonatas” (1774), for example, the team sampled and mapped the acoustics of Eszterháza Castle’s Ceremonial Room, where Haydn would have presented his patron with a copy of the published sonatas. Back in the laboratories of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University (Montreal, Canada), enveloped in a “sphere” of twenty-four loudspeakers, Tom Beghin performs these sonatas on a fresh-from-the-workshop French double manual harpsichord as if he is “in” the Ceremonial Room and as if we are sitting in the Prince’s own chair. By contrast, we experience Haydn’s sonatas for Princess Marie Esterházy, played on a Kober square piano, in the intimate setting of a Prunkraum of Vienna’s Albertina. Or we embrace the more public eighteenth-century concert experience of the acoustically accurate yet virtual English concert hall for a performance on a Longman, Clementi & Co. piano of the two concert sonatas that Haydn wrote for the celebrated Theresa Jansen.

Musicking happens through instruments, in rooms, by people. No repertoire celebrates this experience more than Haydn’s keyboard works. This revolutionary recording project stands as a tribute to the timeless appeal of a composer whose life and career revolved around similarly experimental interactions with technologies and audiences.”

Haydn – Violin Concerto in C-Major, Hob. VIIa:1, period performance

Haydn – Violin Concerto in C-Major, Hob. VIIa:1, period performance

Concerto for Violin and Strings in C-Major, Hob. VIIa:1.

Freiburger Barockorchester, on period instruments. Gottfried von der Goltz, violin and direction. Composed by J. Haydn (1732-1809).

I. Allegro moderato (0:00)
II. Adagio (10:19)
III. Finale. Presto (14:55)

Joseph Haydn – Piano Concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII:11 (Andreas Staier, fortepiano)

Joseph  Haydn – Piano Concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII:11 (Andreas Staier, fortepiano)

With attractive and entertaining performances, Andreas Staier’s recording of three of Haydn’s concerto per il clavicembalo should win more converts to these unfortunately neglected works. Staier possesses the technique and temperament for the music: his playing is deft and agile and his interpretations are witty and affectionate. Gottfried von der Goltz is a wholly sympathetic accompanist, bending and weaving with Staier’s supple sense of tempo and dynamics. The players of the Freiburger Barockorchester adjust their touch and sound to the richer and warmer Classical sonorities, supporting and surrounding Staier’s pianoforte.

The instrument featured in this recording, a copy of a Walter instrument built in Vienna in 1785 built by Monika May in 1986, has an attack that may seem at first to lack clarity and a certain degree of depth. But if the listener can adjust to the tone and scale of the instrument, these performances will be very enjoyable. Harmonia Mundi’s sound may be a bit too recessed and reverberant for some tastes.

Haydn – the poor man’s Mozart?

Haydn – the poor man’s Mozart?

In the two centuries since his death Joseph Haydn has been scandalously underrated, argues Richard Wigmore.

220px-Franz_Joseph_Haydn_1732-1809_by_John_Hoppner_1791Great article on Joseph Haydn. I too think he is underrated!

In December 1790, shortly before Haydn‘s departure for England and the greatest adventure of his life, he, Mozart and the impresario Johann Peter Salomon met for a dinner at a Viennese tavern. The mood was convivial, though Mozart, the seasoned, cosmopolitan traveller, expressed concern for his 58 year-old friend in London. ‘You have too little experience of the great world, and you speak too few languages.’ To which Haydn countered, with magnificent, ingenuous confidence: ‘My language is understood throughout the whole world.’

Haydn’s famed modesty, noted by several contemporaries, never precluded an acute sense of his own worth. In the final decades of the 18th century his music, far more than Mozart’s, was indeed ‘understood throughout the whole world.’ Haydn’s reputation, kick-started by the dissemination of his early symphonies and string quartets, had been growing steadily since the early 1760s. By 1790 he was an international superstar, feted from St Petersburg to Cadiz, from Edinburgh to Naples as publishers fell over each other to acquire his latest symphonies, quartets and keyboard works. No composer, not even Handel, had ever been as widely celebrated in his own lifetime. After the two triumphant London visits, The Creation, his joyous celebration of an unsullied universe that contrasted poignantly with the turbulence of the Napoleonic wars, would set the final seal on his fame. 

Yet even before Haydn’s death in 1809, as Napoleon’s troops were bombarding Vienna, Beethoven and Mozart (who towards the end of his life had often been branded a ‘difficult’ composer) were usurping his pre-eminence. Although his quartets, late symphonies and oratorios never fell out of favour, Haydn was increasingly seen as the first and least in an evolutionary chain that culminated in Beethoven. This progressive notion of musical history was famously enshrined in an 1810 essay by that weaver of fantastic tales, ETA Hoffmann. Haydn’s compositions expressed a “childlike mood of cheerfulness… a life of eternal youth, abundant in love and bliss, as though before the Fall”. (The epithets ‘kindlich’, – childlike – and ‘heiter’ – serere, or cheerful – would run like a mantra through 19th and early 20th century writings on Haydn.) Like so many in his century, Hoffman was evidently deaf to the turbulence, pathos and bleakness of works like the Trauer and Passione symphonies (Nos 44 and 49), the F sharp minor String Quartet, Op 50 No 4, and the F minor keyboard variations. Mozart moved beyond Haydn – a position he has never relinquished in the popular imagination – to lead ‘deep into the spirit realm’. Finally Beethoven invoked awe, fear, and terror, awakening ‘the infinite yearning which is the essence of Romanticism’. 

Read on: