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Donald Macleod explores a hugely successful episode in Haydn's life, his London years. Today, back in London for a third season, Haydn scores the biggest success of his career.

Donald Macleod explores a hugely successful episode in Haydn's life, his London years. Today, back in London for a third season, Haydn scores the biggest success of his career.

In early February 1794, after an absence of more than 18 months, and a whole year later than he had originally undertaken to return, Haydn finally made it back to the English capital. He may have lingered longer than he had intended to in Vienna, but he certainly hadn't been malingering, and he took with him the fruits of his labours - the scores of six string quartets and a symphony. It was this symphony - No 99 - that he chose to reacquaint London audiences with his music in the first concert of the new series, and to judge by the review in the following day's Morning Chronicle, it was an excellent choice: "The incomparable Haydn produced an Overture of which it is impossible to speak in common terms. It is one of the grandest efforts of art that we ever witnessed. It abounds with ideas, as new in music as they are grand and impressive; it rouses and affects every emotion of the soul. It was received with rapturous applause." But there were still greater raptures to come. In the eighth concert of the season, Haydn unleashed his 'Grand Overture with the Militaire Movement' - what we know today as his 'Military' Symphony. The 'military' element was supplied by the fashionable 'Turkish' percussion - triangle, cymbals and bass drum - that Haydn employed to rousing effect in the Allegretto second movement and also the Finale. Europe was in the throes of the Napoleonic Wars, and Haydn's new symphony tapped directly into a heady vein of contemporary popular sentiment. At the other end of the scale, it was during this period that he produced his final three keyboard sonatas, for a prodigiously talented amateur by the name of Therese Jansen, a pupil of the celebrated Italian virtuoso Muzio Clementi. Haydn's powerful, big-boned keyboard writing in these sonatas reflects the character of the instruments he had encountered in London - mechanically superior to and more robustly constructed than the relatively weak little square pianos popular in Vienna at the time. From here, it's a short step to the early sonatas of Beethoven - the first set of which he dedicated to his teacher, Haydn.

Trio No 1 in C for 2 flutes and cello, Hob IV:1; 3rd mvt, Finale - vivace
The Kuijken Ensemble

6 Original Canzonettas, Hob XXVIa:30; No 6, 'Fidelity'
Julie Kaufmann, soprano
Donald Sulzen, piano

Symphony No 100 in G, Hob I:100 ('Military')
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Colin Davis, conductor
PHILIPS 442 614-2 CD 1 tks 9-12

Piano Sonata in E flat, Hob XVI:52
Ekaterina Derzhavina, piano.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Joseph Haydn

    Divertimento in C major H.4.1 (London Trio): Finale - vivace

    Ensemble: Kuijken Ensemble.
    • ACCENT ACC30083.
    • ACCENT.
    • 11.
  • Joseph Haydn

    6 Original Canzonettas H26a.30: No 6 'Fidelity'

    Performer: Donald Sulzen. Singer: Julie Kaufmann.
    • ORFEO C642091A.
    • ORFEO.
    • 13.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony No. 100 in G major H.1.100 (Military)

    Orchestra: Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Conductor: Colin Davis.
    • PHILIPS : 442-614 2.
    • PHILIPS.
    • 9.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Piano Sonata in E flat major H.16.52

    Performer: Ekaterina Derzhavina.
    • PROFIL: PH12037.
    • PROFIL.
    • 8.

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