Haydn 2032 Vol.10: Les Heures du jour
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Cat No: ALPHA686
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 9th July 2021
WorksSymphony no.6 in D major, Hob.I:6 'Le matin'
Symphony no.7 in C major, Hob.I:7 'Le midi'
Symphony no.8 in G major, Hob.I:8 'Le soir'
Serenade no.6 in D, K239 'Serenata Notturna'
ArtistsIl Giardino Armonico
‘As in the previous volumes, the orchestral playing is breathtaking in its accuracy -the sort of Haydn playing you dream of…this may well become the period-instrument Haydn cycle by which all others are measured.’ – Gramophone
1Symphony No.6 in D major, Hob.I:6 'Le Matin': I. Adagio - Allegro
2Symphony No.6 in D major, Hob.I:6 'Le Matin': II. Adagio - Andante - Adagio
3Symphony No.6 in D major, Hob.I:6 'Le Matin': III. Menuetto - Trio
4Symphony No.6 in D major, Hob.I:6 'Le Matin': IV. Finale. Allegro
5Symphony No.7 in C major, Hob.1:7 'Le Midi': I. Adagio - Allegro
6Symphony No.7 in C major, Hob.1:7 'Le Midi': IIa. Recitativo. Adagio - Allegro - Adagio
7Symphony No.7 in C major, Hob.1:7 'Le Midi': IIb. Adagio
8Symphony No.7 in C major, Hob.1:7 'Le Midi': III. Menuetto - Trio
9Symphony No.7 in C major, Hob.1:7 'Le Midi': IV. Finale. Allegro
10Symphony No.8 in G major, Hob.I:8 'Le Soir': I. Allegro molto
11Symphony No.8 in G major, Hob.I:8 'Le Soir': II. Andante
12Symphony No.8 in G major, Hob.I:8 'Le Soir': III. Menuetto - Trio
13Symphony No.8 in G major, Hob.I:8 'Le Soir': IV. La Tempesta (Presto)
14Mozart: Serenade No.6 in D major, K239 'Serenata Notturna': I. Marcia. Maestoso
15Mozart: Serenade No.6 in D major, K239 'Serenata Notturna': II. Menuetto - Trio
16Mozart: Serenade No.6 in D major, K239 'Serenata Notturna': III. Rondeau. Allegretto - Adagio - Allegro
For this tenth volume the photographer is Jérôme Sessini, whose work captures ‘times of day’ – mainly dawn, twilight and night – in some remarkable images from around the world that include an apparent hommage (in a mirrored form which Haydn would surely have appreciated) to Edward Hopper’s famous 1942 painting ‘Nighthawks’. The ‘times of day’ theme leads, for once, to a group of works actually conceived as a set: Symphonies 6, 7 and 8, known respectively as ‘Le Matin’ (Morning), ‘Le Midi’ (Midday) and ‘Le Soir’ (Evening), or collectively in German as ‘die Tageszeiten’. Their low numbering is misleading, as Haydn had already composed some 14 symphonies during his employment by Count Morzin before these 1761 works – the first fruits of his next post, as vice-Kapellmeister to Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, marking the beginning of nearly 30 years of employment by the Esterházy family and one of the most important employer-composer relationships in musical history.
It was Prince Paul Anton’s idea that Haydn should compose a set of works based on the times of day, and among the family collection were many volumes of Vivaldi including The Four Seasons, which undoubtedly served as inspiration. Haydn’s conception, however, owes as much to Corelli’s concerti grossi, for all three works in the trilogy shine the spotlight on orchestral soloists: not just the famed leader of the Esterházy orchestra Luigi Tomasini, but also prominent concertante solos for cello, double bass (a particular favourite of Haydn’s) and wind players including the bassoon. This fusion of symphony and concerto grosso creates a remarkable soundworld for these pieces, and one that the players of Il Giardino Armonico, thoroughly immersed in the baroque and classical repertoires, clearly relish. The most obviously programmatic elements are the ‘daybreak’ slow introduction to Symphony no.6 (which begins with a barely-whispered pianissimo on the violins before opening out gloriously in the following bars) and the vividly realised storm that forms the finale of Symphony no.8. Yet the playing throughout is so theatrically vibrant, bracing, and (in the slow movements) supple and sensitive that the listener is in a constant state of enchantment. Outer movements bustle with activity, with incisive articulation, slow movements blossom with radiance, while the Minuets, even at Antonini’s brisk speeds, are full of character (try the trios of any of the symphonies for some unforgettable solos from double bass Giancarlo de Frenza).
Notwithstanding Haydn’s obvious debts to such predecessors as Vivaldi and Corelli in these works, there are also clear anticipations of the future: the ‘daybreak’ looking forward to Haydn’s own Creation, the false entry of the horn at the same movement’s recapitulation which anticipates Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’, and the solo violin’s overtly operatic recitatives in the slow movement of no.7, marvellously realised here by Stefano Barneschi, which seem to foreshadow the instrumental recitatives in the same composer’s ‘Choral’ Symphony. Wind playing throughout is wonderfully characterful (see Antonini’s booklet note for some telling insights into the recapturing of period style in this regard), and the often challengingly high horn parts are met head-on by Johannes Hinterholzer and Edward Deskur on their natural instruments.
The coupling here is an imaginative and entirely apt one: Mozart’s so-called ‘Serenata notturna’, probably composed for a carnival-time evening entertainment in February 1776, and which seems to inhabit a similar ‘theatrical’ vein to Haydn’s trilogy. With its unique formal plan and orchestration – concertante and ripieno strings plus timpani but no wind – it creates a soundworld as fascinatingly individual as Haydn’s, and it is just as magically realised here, with timpanist Riccardo Balbinutti evidently enjoying every moment of his solos. It all adds up to yet another spellbinding disc in this magnificent series, sumptuously presented and recorded (right down to the ringing vibrations at the end of each work), and consistently absorbing and stylish.
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