All volumes from the Haydn 2032 Project from £9.95. Haydn2032, the ambitious project of recording the complete symphonies of Haydn, has been placed from the start under the artistic direction of Giovanni Antonini, with two ensembles, Il Giardino Armonico, which made the first four volumes, and the Kammerochester Basel, to which this fifth volume and the next two are assigned.
A characteristic of the fifth edition is that each time Haydn is set in perspective with another composer; here it is Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92): ‘Kraus was the first man of genius that I met. Why did he have to die? It is an irreparable loss for our art. The Symphony in C minor he wrote in Vienna especially for me is a work which will be considered a masterpiece in every century’, said Haydn in 1797. Though he long remained forgotten after his death, Kraus made an active contribution to the movement of poetic renewal called ‘Sturm und Drang’ or ‘Geniezeit’ (time of genius) because such artists as the young Goethe broke free of all tradition to follow their hearts alone. When Haydn called Kraus homme de génie, in French, he probably had this context in mind. The two composers had met in Vienna in 1783.
The fourth volume of the Haydn2032 project thrusts into the limelight one of the most important stock characters in the theatre of sounds and words, the Kapellmeister, and explores some glamorous and (in)glorious moments in the career of Maestro Haydn. It features three symphonies by the ‘Shakespeare of Music’ – one of which is even associated with an actual play. This bears the title ‘Sinfonia in C. per la commedia intitolata Il distratto’ (the name of the play soon became the symphony’s nickname) and consists of an overture, four entr’actes, and a finale to be played at the end of the performance. Also on this disc is a large-scale buffo scene by his colleague Cimarosa. Il maestro di cappella is a witty and ironic parody, in which a member of the ‘old school’ of musicians tries to improve the ensemble playing of his orchestra. To his chagrin, the players do react, but in extremely undisciplined fashion: they are distracted, make false entries and disagree musically…
With the participation of: Francesca Aspromonte. Looking ahead to the 300th anniversary of the birth of Haydn in 2032, the Joseph Haydn Foundation of Basel has joined forces with the Alpha Classics label to record all of the composer’s 107 symphonies. This ambitious project is placed under the artistic direction of Giovanni Antonini, who now presents the third volume, after two previous issues that attracted great attention and received numerous awards, including the Echo Klassik Prize 2015 for the ‘best orchestral recording’ of the year.
Since he sees the music of Haydn as ‘a kaleidoscope of human emotions’, Giovanni Antonini has decided to approach the symphonies not chronologically, but thematically; the theme here is Haydn the philosopher. The Italian conductor has chosen in each of the programmes to make connections between the symphonies and other works. For this volume, he calls on the magnificent soprano Francesca Aspromonte to perform a number of arias including the famous ‘Solo e pensoso’.
For the second volume in the Haydn 2032 project, the complete recording of his symphonies, Giovanni Antonini has chosen to put forward the Symphony Der Philosoph. He associates with it a symphony by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, eldest son of the Kantor of Leipzig, who is generally considered the most gifted of his sons. Different reasons brought these two great composers the originality and sometimes eccentricity that characterize their works, one suffering from the fame of his father, the other from his own genius. Whereas Haydn’s symphonies differentiate themselves by form, orchestration and keys, W. F. Bach’s begins in the style of a Baroque overture, gradually turning into a tempestuous piece and perhaps already reflecting the transition from a ‘Golden Age’ to the more tormented world that will follow the Age of Enlightenment.
‘Symphony No. 49 is of dramatic inspiration, as is the finale of the 39th (with four horns!) in a fairly “Gluckist” style. We are at the beginnings of Sturm und Drang.
‘The first performance of Gluck’s ballet Don Juan, in Vienna in 1761, was an outstanding event in the development of dramatic expression in music. This was the first “modern” ballet, featuring dancers illustrating the story, not through a pre-established dance form (minuet, gavotte, etc.) but through free expression of their bodies.
‘I am truly captivated by the very strong correspondence existing in Gluck’s score between the story of Don Juan (the dancers’ movements) and the music, like a sort of little dictionary of musical gestures, with elements that are to be found in purely instrumental music of the period, including Haydn’s.
‘Yet it was in the 1760s (thus after the first performance of Gluck’s Don Juan) that Haydn began his first “dramatic” symphonies. ‘So I find it very interesting to bring together this piece by Gluck and these symphonies.’ – Giovanni Antonini