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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
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
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 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
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
©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
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
in D major, Hob. I
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
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
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
Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn