Day 40: Lira?

HaydnCD40 The hell is a “Lira Concerto”?

See? Right from the start, I need to learn something.

I love that.

Before I get my Google fingers Googling, I’m listening. And what I’m hearing sounds like a calliope. Some kind of circus instrument that, to my ears, sounds like it should be attached to a wagon that sells cotton candy from town to town — with P.T. Barnum out front cajoling people to “Come one! Come all! Step right up!”

Okay. Now it’s time to discover what a Lira Concerto is.

The CD jacket tells me the following:

Hugo Ruf lira
Susanne Lautenbacher, Ruth Nielen violins
Franz Beyer, Heinz Berndt violas
Oswald Uhl, cello * Johannes Koch viola da gamba
Wolfgang Hoffman & Helmuth Irmscher horns

So, apparently, there actually is something called a lira that one plays. It’s an instrument.

Google time.

UI-LiraI see. The lira “is a Ukrainian variant of the hurdy-gurdy, an instrument which can trace its history back to the 10th century.” What I’m hearing doesn’t sound like a hurdy-gurdy.

I’ve seen one of those (a hurdy-gurdy). In fact, I’ve seen Continue reading

Day 25: The Bear, the Hen, and the Lord

HaydnCD25We’re into something interesting now.

The first symphony on Haydn CD 25 is Symphony No. 82 in C “L’ours” (The Bear). It is the first of six symphonies often referred to as “The Paris Symphonies.” It was composed in 1786. Haydn was 54.

Symphony No. 83 in G Minor “La Poule” (The Hen) was composed in 1785. Haydn was 53.

Symphony No. 84 in E Flat, also composed in 1786, is sometimes referred to by the subtitle In Nomine Domini (in the name of the Lord).

Because these symphonies are part of something bigger — somewhat like a story arc in a TV series — I won’t comment on each one at length. One, however, Continue reading