Day 109: Haydn, the Astute Diplomat

HaydnCD109I got to Panera Bread this morning, settled in, prepared the background info on today’s Haydn Piano Trios, stuck in my earbuds, and looked for Disc 109 in iTunes.

And couldn’t find it.

Somehow, when I was ripping and scanning Haydn Edition CDs a few nights ago, I missed ripping CD 109.

Fear not!

Luckily, I remembered the chap on YouTube who has been uploading these CDs. So I just listened to his (her?) YouTube clips, which wasn’t easy given the spotty Internet connection at Panera. But I soldiered through.

Although these Piano Trios were not as immediately wonderful as I thought previous compositions were, I think I have to classify today’s Piano Trios as…


As were the previous selections, these compositions (except as noted) are brilliantly performed by the Van Swieten Trio, which – on this CD – consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Franc Polman violin
Jaap ter Linden cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading

Day 108: Flute Not Included


Haydn CD 108 features another fantastic collection of Piano Trios…

…despite the fact that the flute is no longer one of the trio. (See yesterday’s post to know what that means.)

These compositions are lively, intricate, clever, nuanced, and brilliantly performed by the Van Swieten Trio, which consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Remy Baudet violin
Jaap ter Linden cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading

Day 79: Just…Songs

HaydnCD79Ooh, now this is pleasant stuff, a delicious change of pace.

After listening to Scottish Songs For [fill in the blank] for what seemed way too long, today’s CD – titled simply Songs – strips down the performance to just a soprano (Elly Ameling) and a pianist (Jorg Demus). It’s an enjoyable simplification, pairing two of my favorite instruments.

Questions: Who is Elly Ameling? And who is Jorg Demus?

Google time!

I learned that Elly Ameling is a Dutch soprano born in 1933. Info about her can be found here. According to that Wiki article,

After her professional début as a concert singer in Rotterdam in 1953, she performed for more than forty years in virtually every major cultural centre in the world. Her frequent appearances with the leading international orchestras and conductors (Bernard Haitink, Rafael Kubelík, Carlo Maria Giulini, Benjamin Britten, Seiji Ozawa, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, Karl Münchinger, André Previn, Edo de Waart among others) established her as one of the greatest singers of our age.

Jorg Demus is Continue reading

Day 33: The End, Kraftwerk, and a Beginning

HaydnCD33Today’s CD marks the end of Haydn’s symphonies.

In other words, by the time I’m done today, I will have listened to all 104 Haydn symphonies , plus the four Sinfonias. (So, is that 108? Or 104? You be the judge.)

I liked Symphony No. 103 in E Flat “Mit Dem Paukenwirbel” (“Drumroll”) from the first few notes. (I love the German language. They can take a simple, two-syllable word and turn it into something with more syllables than a doctoral dissertation.)

No. 103 opens with a long timpani roll, from which it gets its nickname. That lasts for about 10 seconds. Then, around the :12 mark, the bass instruments begin, slowly and somberly. The combination is extremely compelling. I found myself leaning forward to hear this, wondering what’s going to happen next.

Movement II  (“Andante piu tosto allegretto”) happens next. It is brilliant. Rich, complex, stately, multi-tonal, yet alarmingly ear-worm worthy. The entire symphony gets two thumbs up from me. (I’m sure Haydn would be relieved to know how highly I think of his efforts.) From its entry on Wiki:

The symphony was the last but one of twelve that were composed for performance in England during Haydn’s two journeys there (1791–1792, 1794–1795). Haydn’s music was well known in England well before the composer traveled there, and members of the British musical public had long expressed the wish that Haydn would visit. The composer’s reception in England was in fact very enthusiastic, and the English visits were one of the most fruitful and happy periods of the composer’s life. Haydn composed the “Drumroll” Symphony while living in London during the winter of 1794–1795.

The “Drumroll” Symphony was premiered on March 2, 1795 as part of a concert series called the “Opera Concerts”, at the King’s Theatre. The orchestra was unusually large for the time, consisting of about 60 players. The task of directing the work was divided between the concertmaster Viotti and Haydn, who sat at a fortepiano.

Haydn later performed the work in Vienna, and for this purpose made a small cut in the final movement, which is usually respected by conductors today.

Since its premiere the “Drumroll” Symphony has been a favorite among Haydn’s symphonies, and it is frequently performed and recorded today. In 1831, Richard Wagner arranged it for piano.

Again, wouldn’t it have been remarkable to see Haydn play his own symphony? Did his audience appreciate that moment? I know I would have. I wouldn’t have taken my eyes Continue reading

Day 32: November 1, The Irony, and The Reaper

HaydnCD31One of the songs playing over the Muzak system this morning at Mr. Burger was the Who’s “My Generation,” perhaps the most famous line of which is this:

“I hope I die before I get old.”

When I heard that lyric, I took stock of my fellow diners; a sea of white heads, belonging to people who were easily in their 70s, all kvetching over cups of steaming coffee.

I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Did they see the irony? I thought. I doubt it. Otherwise…

Otherwise, what? What can one do about growing old?

Nothing. It is inevitable. I’m not the person I was when the Who’s song was released on November 5, 1965 — nearly 48 years ago to the day.

I was five years old. And very likely peeing my pants from fear because I had to walk to the elementary school about a mile away from where we lived.


Always a momentus time in the life of a young lad. But for me it was a huge deal, indeed. I was petrified.

Fast forward nearly half a century. Here I sit. It’s November 1, 2013. I’m no longer petrified. And definitely not peeing my pants. But there is a mug of steaming coffee in front of me. And I suppose Continue reading