Day 54: I Know What to Say

HaydnCD54I didn’t know what to say yesterday for Part I of Haydn’s opera La Fedelta Premiata.

But I know what to say today.


Way too much talking in Italian. Not enough singing and orchestration.

For me, the only redeeming aspect of La Fedelta Premiata is that this CD was recorded before a live audience. So there’s clapping and laughing, presumably at appropriate times.

I didn’t include the opera as a link to YouTube yesterday. I didn’t want you listening ahead. But I don’t care if you do or not today. Here it is, the very same performance to which I’ve been listening for two days:

As you’ll see, the singers are fantastic. The orchestration is first rate. And I’m sure the audience is comprised of a bunch of really nice folks.

But this is one of my least favorite Haydn operas. I don’t know why. It just is.

Day 53: I Have No Idea What to Say

HaydnCD53La Fedelta Premiata is an opera in three acts composed by Franz Joseph Haydn “first performed at Eszterháza on 25 February 1781 to celebrate the reopening of the court theatre after a fire. It was revised for a new version first performed in 1782,” according to its entry on Wikipedia. It was composed in 1780. Haydn was 48.

I liked it from the first few bars of the Overture.

That’s probably because I love orchestral music, played allegro con spirito – and Haydn’s Overture to La Fedelta Premiata is very spirited, indeed.

So is the Introduction, when the voices first appear (as a chorus).

The cast:

Amaranta: Ellen van Haaren soprano
Nerina: Maja Roodveldt soprano
Diana: Ester Beens soprano
Celia: Xenia Meijer alto
Fileno: Patrick Henckens tenor
Lindoro: Frank Fritschy tenor
Perruchetto: Tom Sol baritone
Melibeo: Julian Hartman bass

The performers:

Esterhazy Chorus & Orchestra
Frank van Koten

The plot:

The people of Cumae worship Diana, goddess of hunting and chastity. Their rites however have been defiled by a nymph whose treachery has brought a curse on them. To propitiate the angry goddess, two faithful lovers must be sacrificed each year to a lake monster until a faithful lover can be found to offer his own life. Fidelity, therefore, is at a premium in Cumae, and victims are hard to find.

The plot is “part thriller about lovers being sacrificed to a monster, part burlesque sending up pseudo-classical and early romantic emotions”.

Once again, today’s CD (par for the course in the Brilliant Classics Haydn Edition) features a high-quality recording of an inspired performance at Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Castle, Eisenstadt, Austria. It must be Continue reading

Day 1: Getting Into Haydn’s Head

Haydn1The first stop on my three-year journey into madness…erm, creativity…is the Haydn Edition, a budget-conscious, but high-quality set of complete recordings by Brilliant Classics.

The Brilliant Classics Haydn Edition begins with Symphonies, specifically Symphony #1, which is apropos considering Haydn (1732-1809) was considered “the Father of Symphonies” because of his contribution to the form.

CD 1 features Symphony No. 1 in D through Symphony No. 5 in A, all performed  by the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, Adam Fischer (1949- ) conductor. The recording quality is superb, very bright and clear. The brass instruments are not overly loud or obnoxious. The stringed instruments are perfectly balanced with the brass.

One of the many distinctions of the Austro-Hungarian Orchestra is that it plays and records in Haydnsaal in Eisenstadt. According to their web site:

Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra was founded in 1987 by Adam Fischer in order to perform Haydn’s work in the place where he lived and worked, and bring together some of the finest musicians from Austria and Hungary…The Haydnsaal (“saal” means hall in German) is in the Eszterházy Palace at Eisenstadt, Austria. It was build in mid 17th century and is the very important hall in a music history since. As its name shows, the composer Jozef Haydn had worked more than 30 years and many of his pieces were first played…There are three beautiful frescos on the ceiling. This hall does not have any air conditoning system to protect the frescos. So, there is no concert in winter. The capacity of this hall is 600 and the acoustics is marvelous…

This recording lives up to the billing. It is Continue reading