Day 2: Sunrise

Haydn2There’s something about the opening of Haydn’s Symphony No. 6 in D “Le Matin” that reminds me of a sunrise, which is fitting since I’m sitting here watching one as I type this.

That’s not to say this piece remains idyllic and pastoral as Debussy or a Chopin nocturne. After easing into it for nearly a minute, Symphony No. 6 bursts forth (around the :56 second mark) like the sun over the horizon, throwing color everywhere.

I knew nothing about this composition before listening to it this morning. However, I just discovered that “Le Matin” means “the morning.” According to its entry on Wikipedia:

The nickname (not Haydn’s own, but quickly adopted) derives from the opening slow introduction of the opening movement, which clearly depicts sunrise. The remainder of the work is abstract, as, indeed, are the other two symphonies in the series. Because of the initial association, however, the remaining were quickly and complimentarily named “noon” and “evening”.

Do I know my Classical music, or what?

Haydn wrote Symphony No. 6 in D in 1761. He was 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