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Introducing Denis's Haydn Blog

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Denis McCaldin Denis McCaldin | 17:11 UK time, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My name is Denis McCaldin and I'm a conductor and a music historian. I'm Director of the Haydn Society of Great Britain and a professor of music at Lancaster University. I have conducted many major British orchestras including the Halle, Royal Philharmonic, and London Mozart Players.

I first got interested in Haydn when I was a student, playing viola in a string quartet that met every week on afternoons timetabled for sport! Since that time, I've edited a number of Haydn's works and one of my CDs (featuring his edition of the Little Organ Mass) has received a Gramophone Critic's Choice award. My next recording is of the Scherzandi, a set of pocket-sized symphonies due to appear early in 2009. I'm also an experienced broadcaster, mainly for BBC Radio 3, and I'm thrilled to be acting as the Composers of the Year blogger for Haydn - I look forward very much to your contributions to the blog.

Here are a few thoughts which I've pulled together to start us off as we go into the year of the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death.

Is Haydn under-rated?
I believe he is, and that's why I'm really glad to have the chance to share this site with his fans and his potential fans. Over the last few years the Haydn Society of Great Britain has been working to raise Haydn's profile. The year 2009 is the 200th anniversary of his death, and a golden opportunity to celebrate this wonderful composer's work in style.

Does Haydn need our help?
Well, it seems he does. His music is much less well-known than Mozart's and it's not easy to see why. Are there any obvious reasons for this? If you have any ideas, do let me know.

BBC Highlights in 2009
Radio 3 is certainly doing its bit! Haydn died on 31 May 1809, and the BBC's main focus will begin on that date in 2009 with a day dedicated to EBU relays of Haydn's music from all over Europe. It will end with a Prom performance of The Creation in July, conducted by Paul McCreesh. Haydn is Composer of the Week in January and, starting in June, a rich series of chamber music concerts from the Wigmore Hall will be presented by Peter Cropper, the former first violin of the Lindsays (Lindsay String Quartet)..

What's in a nick-name?
The first Wigmore Hall broadcast has the Chilingirian Quartet playing three Haydn quartets, including Op. 55 No. 2 in F minor called the 'The Razor'. Haydn's music has always attracted plenty of titles - the Surprise Symphony, the Nelson Mass - there are a lot. I wonder if people feel they're helpful or useful and what are their favourites?

A feast of Haydn
The BBC are giving us a feast of Haydn's music in 2009. I'm much looking forward to hearing from listeners about their favourite works and performers.

Whatever your views, do respond to my posts, and let us have our own New Year Resolution to share in celebrating this composer and his music as it's never been done before!

Viva Haydn!


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