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August is Great Composers Month on Classic FM and every night Jane Jones will be featuring two hours of music by a different famous name. Tonight it's Haydn.
Classic FM's Great Composers Month gets underway with music by Franz Josef Haydn. He was one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical era, producing 107 symphonies, more than 80 string quartets, 45 piano trios, some 62 piano sonatas, 14 masses and 26 operas, among countless other works.
Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, 'forced to become original'. In the 1760s, he made sure all his players in the Esterhazy orchestra had important parts to play, writing a number of appetising concertos to tempt the best players to stick with him. One such piece is the Cello Concerto No. 1, written for Joseph Weigl. It was a present from the composer - one that was subsequently lost until 1961. It's played tonight by Sol Gabbetta.
Haydn's keyboard music demands much from the artist. For his debut recital album, pianist Lang Lang chose pieces to show off all the varied facets of his virtuosity. Among the pieces was Haydn's Sonata No.46 in E major. Tonight, he offers a technically brilliant and precise account.
Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D major is popularly known as The Clock because of the "ticking" rhythm throughout the second movement. He completed the symphony in 1793 or 1794 for the second of his two visits to London. The response of the London audience was very enthusiastic with the Morning Chronicle reporting that the 'character that pervaded the whole composition was heartfelt joy.' The work has always been popular and continues to appear frequently on concert programmes and records.
Haydn's Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major was completed in 1762, when Haydn was new to the Esterhazy court. It's believed by some that the work was written as a present for the baptism ceremony of one of the children of the horn player Joseph Leutgeb - for whom Mozart wrote his horn concertos.
The "Lark" Quartet was written in 1790 at the request of Johann Tost, a wealthy merchant who had been a violinist in Haydn's orchestra at Esterhazy. Not surprisingly the first violin - given the part of the lark - has greater prominence than is usual in Haydn's quartets. The quartet has also been nicknamed the 'Hornpipe' because of the finale's resemblance to the traditional dance.
Tonight's concert ends with Haydn's Minuet No.22 in D minor. The Philharmonia Hungarica is conducted by Antal Dorati.
Haydn: Cello Concerto No.1 in C major
Cello: Sol Gabetta
Sergio Ciomei conducts the Basel Chamber Orchestra
Haydn: Keyboard Sonata No.46 in E major
Piano: Lang Lang
Haydn: Symphony No.101 in D major (‘Clock’)
Adam Fischer conducts the Austro-Hungarian
Haydn Orchestra Haydn: Horn Concerto in D major
Horn: Dmitri Babanov
Helmut Muller-Bruhl conducts the Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Haydn: String Quartet in D major Opus 64 No.5 (‘Lark’)
Haydn: Minuet No.22 in D minor
Antal Dorati conducts Philharmonia Hungarica