Friday, 22 May 2015

Classical Music - April 2015

Haydn - Symphonies 87, 89, 94 and 101

One of the things I took on my travels (via iPhone) was my collection of Haydn symphonies. I have recordings of 23 of them now - in fact the last 23, spanning the period from 1785 to 1795 when Haydn was an international star.

I had vague notions of listening to all of them during the month, but I only managed to listen to 4. Even that, though, was enough to show me that the symphonies are full of inventive ideas. However much Haydn might be thought to be the father of the 'standard' symphony, each work has something distinctive and memorable about it. Sometimes it's led to a nickname (rarely has a name been more apt than the 'Clock' for no.101), but the works that have to rely on a number each have some unique twist.

In fact, this was recognised at the time. Wikipedia helpfully tells me that a review of the first performance of that 'Clock' had this to say:
"Every new Overture he writes, we fear, till it is heard, he can only repeat himself; and we are every time mistaken."
So while I already have more symphonies by Haydn than by any other composer, I see no reason to stop at 23. There's another 80 or so to explore when I get around to it.

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