Haydn (1732-1809)

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is a very important composer in the history of western classical music, partly because of his contribution to the development of the symphony and the string quartet, and partly for his influence on all subsequent composers, especially Mozart and Beethoven.

Over Haydn's long and illustrious career, not only did he develop different forms of compositions, his music style also went through several different phases, with increasing complexity and sophistication.

Haydn's symphony No. 45 is nicknamed "Farewell Symphony" and was composed in 1772, while being employed as the music director of the Esterhazy family. It earned its nickname because in the last movement of the symphony, members of the orchestra would gradually leave the stage, until only two violinists remain and the piece ends.

His symphony No. 94 is nicknamed the "Surprise Symphony" and was composed in 1791, while he was touring London. The titled surprise came from the second movement, where a sudden loud chord occurs in the middle of an otherwise quiet passage.

The round it off, I also chose his Trumpet concerto, which remains to this day one of the most loved trumpet concerto. I hope this selection is able to showcase the brilliance, the versatility, and the humour of Haydn's music.

Album 05: Joseph Haydn - Symphonies No. 45 & 94 (Christopher Hogwood + The Academy of Ancient Music); Trumpet Concerto (Alan Stringer + Academy of St Martin in the fields + Neville Marriner)