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    Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), the Austrian composer, opened the era of Viennese classicism.  Haydn established the genre of the classical symphony, which became a pattern, or at least a blueprint for composers working in this genre during the next two centuries.
    Though his musical career became a huge success in Europe, his childhood was not promising.  Joseph's father was a poor wheelwright.  The young composer sang for ten years as a boy chorister before his voice broke and he was dismissed.
    In 1759 Haydn got his first appointment as Kapellmeister at Count Morzin's Palace, where the seventeen-year old composer wrote and performed his first symphony.  Soon Count Morzin became bankrupt and Haydn again was without support.
    Eventually, in 1761, he was fortunate enough to meet Prince Esterhazy, who invited him to be Deputy Kapellmeister at the Esterhazy Palace.  Haydn worked there for almost all the rest of his life, gradually becoming Kapellmeister and what was much more important - one of the greatest composers of his time.
    Symphony in B flat major, Hob. I No. 107, was first published in the last quarter of the 20th century and named as Symphony "A" with a date of writing between 1757 and 1761. Earlier, this composition was published as a string quartet (Hob. III No. 5). This Symphony does not have Minuet. Minuet was not a permanent feature of the early Haydn symphonies, quartets and sonatas.
    The orchestral parts of the Symphony in B flat major, Hob. I No. 108, were first published in 1768.  The full score was issued only in 1934 and was called Symphony "B".  The date of writing was also between 1757 and 1761.  This symphonic cycle has Minuet as the second movement, though in the late Haydn symphonies it is usually the third.
    Symphony in D major, Hob. I No. 1, was first published in 1909 and for a while was considered as the first Haydn symphony.  It was composed in 1759.
    Symphony in C major, Hob. I No. 2, was again written between 1757 and 1761.  For a long time it was known as his Second Symphony.
    Symphony in G major, Hob. I No. 3, is dated as 1759-1760.  Interesting features of this symphony are the developed counterpoint and Minuet as the third movement.  Until recently the symphony was known as the Third.
    Haydn was the author of over a hundred symphonies.  We don't know the exact number (104, 106, or more?) because not all Haydn's compositions have been discovered and made known to the public yet.  Such a prolific output is a key to the understanding of his creative work as a life-time development of the same symphonic model.

    Mark Ermler (1932-2002) recorded more operas than any other Russian conductor.  He was famed for his work with the Bolshoi.
    Ermler graduated from the St.- Petersburg conservatory under Boris Khaikin and Alexander Rabinovich.  It is interesting, that the St-Petersburg school of conducting is very different from Moscow or any other school.  An amazing perfection in ensemble and in the balance of orchestral groups, attention to each detail of the orchestral score and persistence in achievement of artistic goals, feature in performances by Ermler.  His interpretations remind us of the best recordings of other conductors, followers of the St.-Petersburg school of orchestral direction - Evgeni Mravinsky and Vladimir Fedoseyev.
    Ermler did not only tour with the Bolshoi Theatre, but took on many engagements in the world's leading opera houses.  In 1985, he was appointed principal guest conductor of London's Royal Ballet.  His recording of Tchaikovsky ballets with the Royal Opera House Orchestra in London is probably the most known and the most admirable.
    His last appointment was in 2000, as Musical Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
    This album introduces his recordings of the first symphonies by Haydn made in 1987 and 1988 with the USSR Bolshoi Theatre Chamber Music Ensemble.

2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn

Franz Joseph Haydn
(1732 - 1809)

Symphony A in B flat major, Hob. I No. 107
1. Allegro - 5:10
2. Andante - 5:20
3. Allegro Molto - 3:42

Symphony B in B flat major, Hob. I No. 108
4. Allegro Molto - 3:04
5. Menuetto Allegretto - 3:48
6. Andante - 5:18
7. Finale. Presto - 2:25

Symphony in D major, Hob. I No. 1
8. Presto - 4:58
9. Andante - 5:37
10. Finale. Presto - 2:04

Symphony in C major, Hob. I No. 2
11. Allegro - 3:19
12. Andante - 3:54
13. Finale. Presto - 2:45

Symphony in H major, Hob. I No. 3
14. Allegro - 5:32
15. Andante Moderato - 7:12
16. Menuet - 3:21
17. Finale. Alla Breve - 1:55

Total Time - 70:59

The USSR Bolshoi Theatre Chamber Music Ensemble
Mark Ermler, conductor
Recorded in 1987 (1-4) and 1988 (5)
Recording engineer, Pakhter

Cover painting "The Virgin" by Gustav Klimt
Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn