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Donald Macleod explores a hugely successful episode in Haydn's life, his London years. Today, summoned by musician and impresario Johann Peter Salomon, Haydn takes London by storm.

Donald Macleod explores a hugely successful episode in Haydn's life, his London years. Today, summoned by musician and impresario Johann Peter Salomon, Haydn takes London by storm.

"It really is sad always to be a slave," Haydn wrote in a letter of 27 June 1790 to his friend Maria Anna von Genzinger, "but Providence wills it so." Well apparently not. Just three months later, Haydn's employer Prince Nikolaus Esterházy died after a brief illness, his entire musical establishment was disbanded, and the composer's 'slavery' as Kapellmeister at the Esterházy court came to a sudden and unexpected end. Cue the London-based violinist, composer and impresario Johann Peter Salomon, who was in Cologne when he heard the news of Haydn's emancipation. Salomon seized his opportunity and hot-footed it to Vienna, where he turned up unannounced one evening at Haydn's rented apartment. Salomon made Haydn an offer he didn't want to refuse and was now in a position to accept, and a week later the two men were en route to London, where Haydn was to be the star attraction of a 12-week season of concerts at the fashionable Hanover Square Rooms. Haydn's music had already won him a considerable reputation in England, and now he was to cement and enhance it with a truly extraordinary sequence of new works composed in and for London - sonatas, trios, quartets, symphonies and more - that showed a composer at the height of his powers propelled even higher by new challenges and fresh stimuli. Amidst all this success, there was one rather spectacular failure - though the failure wasn't Haydn's. Much of his energy during his first year in London was expended on composing L'anima del filosofo - The philosopher's soul - an opera on the Orpheus myth commissioned for the King's Theatre, Haymarket. Unfortunately, the manager there, John Gallini, had failed to procure a licence to stage opera, and the production had to be aborted during the first rehearsal. Not that that will have unduly bothered most of Haydn's London audience, who for the moment at least had plenty of his music to keep them occupied. In the hope that they could continue to be occupied with Haydn's music for a long time to come, there were those who proposed that he should stay here indefinitely - among them King George and Queen Charlotte, who pressed Haydn to take up permanent residence in this country. That was not to be, but buoyed by the success of his first London season, he was certainly happy to stay for a second - which is the subject of tomorrow's episode.

Divertimento in C, Hob II:32; 3rd mvt, Finale. Molto vivace.
Haydn Sinfonietta Wien
Manfred Huss, conductor--

L'anima del filosofo; Act 2 scene 3 - 'Al tuo seno fortunato'
Sylvia Greenberg, soprano (Genio)
Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Leopold Hager, conductor

The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross, Hob XX:1; Sonata II, Grave e cantabile
Le Concert des Nations
Jordi Savall, conductor

String Quartet in D, Op 64 No 5 (Hob III:63) ('The Lark'); 1st mvt, Allegro moderato
Quatuor Mosaïques

Symphony No 96 in D, Hob I: 96 ('Miracle')
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, conductor.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 12 Mar 2018 12:00

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Music Played

  • Joseph Haydn

    Divertimento in C (3rd mvt)

    Performer: Haydn Sinfonietta Wien. Conductor: Manfred Huss.
    • BIS 1796/8.
    • BIS.
    • 10.
  • Joseph Haydn

    'Al tuo seno fortunato' (Anima Del Filosofo; Act 2 Scene 3)

    Singer: Sylvia Greenberg. Orchestra: Münchner Rundfunkorchester. Conductor: Leopold Hager.
    • HAYDN, J.: Anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice (L').
    • ORFEO.
    • 7.
  • Joseph Haydn

    The Seven Last Words Of Our Saviour On The Cross (Sonata II)

    Performer: Le Concert des Nations. Director: Jordi Savall.
    • Haydn: Septem Verba Christi In Cruce / Savall, Et Al.
    • ALIA VOX.
    • 5.
  • Joseph Haydn

    String Quartet No 5 in D, Op 64 (The Lark - 3rd mvt)

    Ensemble: Quatuor Mosaïques.
    • NAIVE V5357.
    • NAIVE.
    • 1-4.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony No. 96 In D Major (Miracle)

    Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music. Conductor: Christopher Hogwood.
    • Joseph Haydn: Symphonies.
    • L'OISEAU-LYRE.
    • 4.

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