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Best of 1790-1799: Voting Round


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Posted on Jun 14, 2012 6:53:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 14, 2012 6:53:44 PM PDT
After Fisch

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 (1797) - 14
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 (1791) - 3 +

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 6:54:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 14, 2012 6:55:08 PM PDT
KenOC says:
After Peter

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 (1797) - 15 +
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 (1791) - 2

Is that a bead of sweat I see on Wolfie's brow?

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 7:00:48 PM PDT
MF says:
Fischman

I suspect many of us vote in that spirit, but it would seem not all of us worship the same ordering deity!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 7:08:43 PM PDT
Fischman says:
I do have a very special place in my soul for Op 76. I love every last one of them, but I'm one of the guys who actually worships most often at the altar of #4.

As someone else noted, a different time frame may yield a different deity--with my input included.

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 7:33:36 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:11:00 AM PST]

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 7:38:46 PM PDT
after Ken

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 (1797) - 16 +
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 (1791) - 1

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 10:07:12 PM PDT
Haydn's Op.76 are at the pinnacle of his achievement as a chamber music composer and are the penultimate expression of the near unbroken run of great Haydn quartets from Op.20 onwards. Only Op.33 #4 misses out on greatness while Op.9 #4 can be included to give 45 works of the highest caliber. As Hans Keller has noted they should be regarded by musicians as being in the same league as the 48 works of Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Klavier and set alongside Beethoven's late quartets as the greatest body of works in that genre by any composer.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 12:06:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 12:09:51 AM PDT
MF says:
Jeremy

In reference to Haydn: I have long sought the opportunity to thank you for being a significant catalyst in precipitating my wonderful odyssey through the Haydn symphonies. Your affirmation of #56 during the marathon Haydn symphony game some time ago, which I then watched with uncomprehending curiosity, encouraged me to be particularly attentive to it when eventually I came across the Naxos CD with numbers 54,56, & 57. It did not take long to discover the reasons for your enthusiasm - and to be almost as appreciative of #54. At around the same time I had begun to listen more closely to the few Haydn symphonies I had already purchased: 22, 44, 88 and 104 - that until then had occupied my attention in a more or less desultory way - and came suddenly to recognise their charms. Since that time I have been gradually accumulating a collection of almost all of the Haydn symphonies - I lack only 14 - not because of a fixation on completeness, but because so many proved to be such unexpected marvels. Now, very probably, of my very favorite 20 dozen works, close to two dozen would be Haydn symphonies. In an earlier post, I have endorsed the view that the exclusive focus on the London symphoines does Haydn the symphonist little justice, not least because the earlier symphonies together comprise a region of music so distinct and so delightful. Where the London symphonies can be recognised as kin to Mozart's symphonies and, excellent as they are, might not necessarily be considered as the best of their type, the earlier symphonies, particularly those between 20 and 60 (and, of course, 82 - 92), are in many respects incomparable simply because they are unique.

Having had the pleasure of all these discoveries, I am now sympathetic to your recurrently expressed frustrations during that game as you watched the somewhat careless elimination of so many of the earlier symphonies. During my explorations, I frequently looked back on your exchanges with DavidRFoss to read your respective views on each work - but it was your championing of #56 that encouraged me to recognise that Haydn's ealier works were as worthy of attention as his later ones. So, many thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 2:31:58 AM PDT
K. Beazley says:
After MZ,

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 (1797) - 15
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 (1791) - 2 +

Kim.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 3:37:59 AM PDT
carnola says:
after Kim

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 (1797) - 16+
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 (1791) - 1

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 4:09:08 AM PDT
mojoworking says:
After carnola

Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 76 (1797) - 17
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622 (1791) - 0

The end

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 5:27:14 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:11:00 AM PST]

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 5:28:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 5:28:59 AM PDT
carnola says:
Thanks for hosting/refereeing/moderating, march.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 6:44:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 6:48:44 AM PDT
Thanks for the compliment MF, I really appreciate it! It seems almost trite to say that Haydn is the least recognized of the big composers of the Classical era but it continues to be true. I was first drawn to symphony no.56 by Robbins Landon's endorsement of it in his little book on Haydn symphonies. That symphony's significance lies not just in the craftmanship of its structure - structural clarity is, in fact, the foundation of Haydn's genius - but the profound ways the composer understands how to make an effect, whether it through be through a judicious fermata or the delicacy of the woodwind writing. If you want a lesson about what sonata structure is all about, listen to Haydn. But along the way Haydn also manages to infuse those structures with real and moving emotion.

It's unfortunate that the assignation of nicknames has somewhat distorted the general perception of Haydn's symphonic style - they draw attention to amusing but musically insignificant anecdotes. They also have led to the comparative neglect of the great body of his work. The other thing is that Haydn's public reputation generally comes from his London and to a lesser extent, Paris symphonies which downplay his penchant for experimentation and his previously characteristic and surprising taste for serious and sublime sentiment. Consider symphony no.80 with its mock heroic D minor opening and its farsical, jarring second subject. Then consider the delicacy and beauty of its serene B flat Adagio, and finally the jauntiness of its concluding Presto finale. The wind band episodes of symphonies no.42, 67, 84 and 87 are some of the most delicious in all music. Did you know that in symphony no.3 the fugal final remarkably gives a foretaste of Mozart's Jupiter?

The slow movement of symphony no.54 with its hypnotically glacial dance violently contrasts with the frenetic ending of symphony no.44 to give an indication of the tremendous emotional range that Haydn was capable of. With symphony no.39 you even feel the frisson of Haydn moving into new, uncharted waters as he commences his Sturm und Drang period. With some symphonies such as no.57 and no.88 - with no.29 as an early ancestor - you find a kind of charm that transcends the superficial meaning of the term - in fact they end up communicating a profound sense of ecstasy. The C major symphonies no.s 20, 32, 33, 38, 41, 48, 50, 56, 82, 90 and 97 are a voyage of discovery all by themselves with their high horns, trumpets and timpani, features that immediately distinguish Haydn fom Mozart. Listen to them all, but take your time!

As to this game and previous ones like it, you need to take them with a certain grain of salt. Though they often and usefully focus on many of the best works spelled out in the opening post, they also express the personal preferences of the contributors. That's inevitable. Have fun with them but seek out all the works mentioned and listen them to them yourself, particularly those new or least familiar.

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 10:41:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2012 10:41:31 AM PDT
KenOC says:
The results of this game are now available at:

https://sites.google.com/site/kenocstuff/ama/best-works-by-decade

Thanks March! 22 decades and counting...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012 4:51:16 PM PDT
DavidRFoss says:
Mr. Jeremy C. Alam says:
The C major symphonies no.s 20, 32, 33, 38, 41, 48, 50, 56, 82, 90 and 97 are a voyage of discovery all by themselves with their high horns, trumpets and timpani, features that immediately distinguish Haydn fom Mozart. Listen to them all, but take your time!
--------------------
Sometimes you have to check reviews of the recordings to see if they're using the high-horns (or 'alto' horns). It really makes a difference. Much more punch to the sound. One of the disappointments of the recent Daniel Russell Davies set is that he rarely (if at all) used the lower horns.

These brass-centric C major symphonies were a Viennese tradition. They're called "Festive" symphonies. #37, #32 and #33 are the earliest of these (they are misnumbered, these are among his very first symphonies). Those three aren't great works, but they are good examples of the mid-to-late 1750s models that Haydn was working from. Then you see where Haydn advanced the genre by listening to the later works.

There's an interesting double-disc called "The Trumpet in Vienna" here:
The Trumpet In Vienna

Many of these are a bit more concertante than a Festive Symphony, but you can still hear the influence. Haydn sung in Reuter's choir as a kid and Haydn's counterpoint style was strongly influenced by Fux. This trumpet set is not a strong recommendation by itself, but I'm often curious about this era of music. There was a fair amount of "proto-classical" music that was overshadowed in history by the late Baroque masters but was extremely influential on the classical era. (and it wasn't all CPE Bach)

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 9:09:03 PM PDT
MF says:
David and Jeremy

I have always enjoyed your conversations about Haydn - but now, having some familairity with the music itself, all the more so. Haydn's use of horns is a particular pleasure - the wonderful opening of #31, the festive vivacity of #48, and the gorgeous 2nd movement in #51 - I chose this last as the music to end the funeral of a friend of mine who died recently. Though he very probably would never have heard it himself, it suited him: not mournful, but an understated and dignified wistfulness. Haydn's slow movements are so often superb! One of the joys of exploring his symphonies is the discovery of unforgettable movements: the 2nd in #26, the 2nd and 3rd in # 28, the 3rd in #38 and #39, the last in #52, and so on.

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 5:46:46 AM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
Several of the organ concerti also feature prominent brass writing, typical of festive church music. The early Te Deum (he wrote two and I actually think the early one is the more successful) is another even more impressive example. I'd also like to mention the Symphony no. 60, one of his most popular during his lifetime (and he grew to loathe it). In six movements, it covers a lot of ground, mostly comical -- even requiring the violins to re-tune their instruments in the last movement. Great C-horn writing there!
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  19
Total posts:  243
Initial post:  Jun 7, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 16, 2012

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