BMC 42 & 43

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

The Six Divertimenti Opus 31
The Little Orchestra of London, Leslie Jones

Harpsichord Concerto in D, Op 21
Sylvia Marlowe, harpsichord
The Baroque Chamber Orchestra

Symphony No. 49 - La Passione
Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, David Zinman


Click linked movements for music samples.

BMC 42

Divertimento 1 in G Major Op 31/1 - H 10/12
1. Moderato
2. Adagio
3. Presto

Divertimento 2 in A Major Op 31/2 - H 10/ 3
1. Adagio
2. Allegro
3. Allegretto (Theme and Variations)

Divertimento 3 in G Major Op 31/3 - H 10/ 5
1. Adagio
2. Allegro
3. Presto

Harpsichord Concerto No.11 in D, Op 21,
H XVIII:11
1. Vivace
2. Un poco Adagio
3. Rondo all'ungherese: Allegro assai

Total time 63:12

BMC 43

Divertimento 4 in D Major Op 31/4 - H 10/ 11
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio
3. Presto (Minuet - Trios 1&2 - Coda)

Divertimento 5 in G Major Op 31/5 - H 10/ 4
1. Moderato (Theme with 6 variations)
2. Adagio
3. Minuet - Trios 1 & 2 - Minuet

Divertimento 6 in D Major Op 31/6 - H 10/ 2
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio
3. Allegro (Theme with 6 variations)

Symphony # 49, in f-minor, La Passione:
1. Adagio
2. Allegro di molto
3. Minuet and Trio
4. Finale: Presto

Total time 73:22

Haydn's Six Divertimenti Opus 31 are undeservedly neglected and rarely recorded, and his Harpsichord Concerto Op 21 in this dazzling performance by Sylvia Marlowe is quite unique! We round off this set of two CDs, available separately, with a stirring performance of the wonderful Symphony 49, La Passione.

Our front illustration shows a genial Haydn, relaxed and good-humored, as indeed he was always known to friends and musical colleagues. His Six Divertimenti provide relaxed and enjoyable listening. Their inherent tunefulness is greatly enhanced by the variety of instrumentation, and the masterly way in which Haydn provides continuously changing sounds, either alternating instruments or combining them in unusual ways. These are pieces in which each musician is given a turn to shine, especially in the sets of variations.

In the Harpsichord Concerto we find both in Haydn and in Ms Marlowe, keyboard players of extreme dexterity. The two outer movements with their dazzling displays of, and indeed demands upon keyboard virtuosity must have made an impressive performance for the courtly audience at Esterhazy. Ms Marlowe's solo cadenzas make particularly exciting listening!

Composition of Haydn's 108 Symphonies spans the years 1759-1795. Our present symphony number 49 dates from 1768. The title 'La Passione', became associated with this symphony early in the 19th century as a reflection of its mood; however the title does have historical relevance, for it is highly likely that this was a Passion-tide symphony, intended for performance at Esterhazy during the Holy Week of 1768. That would explain its overall mood, the somber opening Adagio, and the opening and closing superscriptions: In Nomine Deo and Finis Laus Deo.

The Six Divertimenti are scored for strings, supplemented by a flute and two horns. The Concertante Harpsichord in the Harpsichord Concerto is accompanied by a string orchestra with 2 oboes and 2 horns. Likewise Symphony 49 is scored for strings with 2 oboes and 2 horns. Thus the total program presented on these two discs has a homogeneity of instrumentation while providing a pleasing variety of sound.

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