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Cat. No. CHAN 6618(3) Price: £0 No. of discs: 3
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CHAN 6618 - Haydn: Early Symphonies
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Available From: 20 July 2000
Tradition has it that Haydn was the ‘father’ of both the string quartet and the symphony. While the former certainly reached its first definitive form in his hands, the symphony is known to have been in existence already when Haydn came to write his earliest essays in the form late in the 1750s.

In 1759, at the age of twenty-seven, Haydn gained his first secure musical appointment as ‘Kappelmeister’ and ‘Kammercompositeur’ to Count Morzin, who divided his time (as Haydn was now required to do) between Vienna and his castle in Bohemia. Haydn’s first symphonies surface from the couple of years here, before he took up the more lucrative appointment at the Esterházy court in May 1761.

The range of influences seen in these early symphonies is varied. Symphony No. 1, for example, is notable for opening with one of the most renowned orchestral effects of the Mannheim School, the ‘Mannheim crescendo’, a great dynamic swell from ‘piano’ to ‘forte’. Elsewhere, Haydn looks back to old forms and style – No. 5 uses the old four-movement ‘Sonata da chiesa’ form, with its ‘Adagio’ first movement, and several of the symphonies have passages of strict counterpoint. In other aspects the works are especially forward looking. No. 3, like No. 5, is in four movements, but by starting with an ‘Allegro’ Haydn anticipates the standard fast-slow-fast-fast form that eventually supplanted the tripartite Italian Overture model.

The instrumental writing in general already shows Haydn in control of the newly established Classical orchestra that he would gradually develop over the next forty years.

‘There is a lot to be said for Adrian Shepherd’s Haydn symphonies; they are musical, decently played and recorded. Eminently serviceable accounts.’
The Penguin Complete Guide

‘The solo and concertino playing is accomplished and ensemble is good. Slow movements come over especially well with effectively judged tempos and lively sensibility to their expressive content… Cantilena allow Haydn’s melodies to breathe naturally and succeed in making them sing.’

‘In these clear and lively recordings, the music has the advantage of an intelligent conductor and a first-rate chamber group of eighteen instrumentalists drawn from the Glasgow-based Scottish National Orchestra. The brisk playing is attractive, and the ensemble tone is highly satisfactory.’
American Record Guide


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