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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55126
Recording details: September 1992
Watford Town Hall, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 1993
Total duration: 22 minutes 54 seconds

'Roy Goodman's Haydn series with the Hanover Band has been an unmitigated pleasure. This is vital and energetic Haydn playing where clarity and crispness are allied to a real flair for capturing the musical character of each movement. These endlessly imaginative performances are among the best of all period-instrument Haydn' (International Record Review)

'Very strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'Du champagne de grand millésime' (Telerama)

Symphony No 93 in D major
composer
first performed on 17 February 1792

Largo cantabile  [5'31]

Other recordings available for download
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis (conductor)
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Howard Shelley (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
‘Novelty of idea, agreeable caprice, and whim combined with all Haydn’s sublime and wonten grandeur, gave additional consequence to the soul and feelings of every individual present’, rhapsodized The Times after the premiere of No 93, on 17 February 1792. Haydn immediately evokes ‘the sublime’ in the slow introduction, when the music slips from a resounding fortissimo D major to a strange and secretive E flat major. This ‘flatward’ tendency finds an echo in deflections to flat keys in each of the following movements. The Allegro assai is built on two symmetrical cantabile melodies of great charm—guarantors of the symphony’s popularity. The first subject was even appropriated as an American Protestant hymn! There is a typically intricate contrapuntal development, fuelled by a fragment of the waltz-like ‘second subject’. The Largo cantabile is one of Haydn’s original fusions of sonata, rondo and variations. It begins with a delicately soulful theme on solo strings and continues with a parody of a Handelian French overture. Towards the end, after a ruminative oboe solo, the music becomes becalmed, only for the mood to be punctured by a gigantic bassoon fart—a joke whose Till Eulenspiegel crudeness more than matches the ‘surprise’ in No 94.

The minuet, drawing maximum capital from its first three notes, is one of Haydn’s most muscular and theatrical, while its trio sets aggressive military tattoos on wind and brass against the strings’ mysterious excursions into distant keys. There is no trace here of the stylized rusticity found in all the other trios of the ‘London’ symphonies. After the premiere Haydn informed Frau von Genzinger that No 93’s finale was ‘too weak’ in relation to the opening movement and needed altering. Whether or not he ever did revise it, the finale as we know it is one of the wittiest and most powerful he ever wrote, culminating (after an ostentatiously self-important general pause) in a coda of rowdy hilarity. With a gleeful display of rhythmic and harmonic trickery, Haydn repeatedly thwarts expectation of a full recapitulation. He also plays his characteristic games with the main theme’s upbeat quavers, at one point setting the thunderous power of the full orchestra against a lone cello.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009


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