Haydn: Symphonies #82 & 84, by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
It is interesting to note that in the cosmopolitan world of the eighteenth century a talented and prolific composer like Haydn can be a patriotic Austrian composer–so patriotic he wrote hymns for his emperor–work as an underpaid composer at an obscure Hungarian estate, and have his work praised all over the rest of Europe to the point where he had fan clubs in France and was able to travel to England and compose some of his greatest late symphonies there. That said, these particular symphonies show Haydn in experimental mode and demonstrate that his loyalty to his chamber orchestra and the freedom that he had to make tweaks within the formula for classical symphonies, allowing him to maintain the sort of balance he enjoyed while also showing great deal of creativity as well in pieces that are still enjoyed. It is a bit of a shame that this particular disk only includes two of his symphonies as one could always enjoy more Haydn. No one ever had to deal with too much Haydn music to listen to that was unpleasant or irritating, at least, so the more the merrier as far as I am concerned.
Although this is not as much Haydn as one would like, these are still excellent symphonies. The first included in the set is Symphony #82 in C major “The Bear,” and it is marked by a first movement in vivace that lasts almost 8 minutes and is very lively and upbeat, followed by a slightly slower Allegretto that is about the same length, then a Menuetto – Trio that is almost five minutes long and closed by a Finale in Vivace Assai that is about five and a half minutes long. After this there is Symphony #84 in E-flat major, beginning with a Largo – Allegro that is just over seven minutes long, followed by an Andante that is about seven minutes long, a Menuetto – Trio of about four minutes of material and then a gorgeous finale in Vivace that is about five and a half minutes long. The cd includes the label’s usual trilingual liner notes in English, French, and German, and if there is any problem with the material it is that it is hard to hear the loud parts as loud as one would want. Overall this is a pretty soft cd, but it has some excellent music that is easy to enjoy.