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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55117
Recording details: February 1992
Watford Town Hall, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: November 1992
Total duration: 23 minutes 37 seconds

'Superbly skilled playing … a sense of sheer enjoyment which communicates itself magnificently to the listener' (CDReview)

Symphony No 44 in E minor 'Trauersinfonie'

Allegro con brio  [6'08]
Adagio  [7'46]
Finale: Presto  [4'45]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Most of these characteristics are present in Symphony No 44, the first of the three recorded here to be written (c1770/71). Its nickname—‘Trauersinfonie’, or ‘Mourning Symphony’—seems for once to have been Haydn’s own, and it is reported that he later requested that its slow movement should be played at his funeral. There is no attempt at a funeral march as such (where one might be expected—the aforementioned slow movement—we have an Adagio in E major) and the mourning conveys more the sense of anger of loss than quiet contemplation.

The tense opening movement sums up Haydn’s Sturm und Drang style with its fierce contrasts of dynamics, urgent semiquavers and, towards the end, a brief passage combining contrapuntal imitation with tonality-destabilising chromaticism. Counterpoint is again to the fore in the Minuet, a strict canon between upper and lower strings. The brighter mood of the major-key trio prepares the way for the Adagio, a movement which provides the calm contemplation lacking in the first movement. The finale is one of Haydn’s most remarkable, a movement brimming with nervous energy that is the embodiment of ‘storm and stress’.

from notes by Matthew Rye © 1992

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