Michael Haydn Collection, Vol. 1

Album cover art for upc 5028421958859
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Catalog: BRI95885
Format: COMPACT DISC

Virtuosi Saxoniae; Stevanato, Luca; Schmalfuss, Gernot; Prague Chamber Orchestra; Nuovo Quartetto Italiano; Gallois, Patrick; Németh, Pál; Güttler, Ludwig; Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice; Baccini, Alessandro; Cappella Coloniensis; Farberman, Harold; Savaria Baroque Orchestra; Boettcher, Wilfried; Bournemouth Sinfonietta

An inspiration to Mozart and a teacher to composers such as Diabelli and Weber, Johann Michael Haydn was a respected and influential figure during his lifetime. The collection opens with Michael Haydn’s symphonies. By the age of 25, he already held the prestigious position of court composer and Konzertmeister in Salzburg. The earliest symphonies included here, No.1 in C and No.1B in F, date from 1758 and display the youthful energy of a composer finding his feet. In comparison, the later symphonies demonstrate a greater understanding of the complexities of every instrument in the ensemble. His penultimate symphony, F major MH507, features an expressive Adagio ma non troppo where the composer gives the bassoon a lyrical melody line. Haydn also wrote concertos that gave prominence to under-represented instruments including the trombone and the clarinet, the latter of which had only been invented at the turn of the 18th century. Haydn’s varied and extensive output caught the eye of Mozart, 20 years his junior. He greatly admired Haydn and the two remained close friends until Haydn’s death in 1806. Michael Haydn has suffered from musical misattributions, and many of the works in this set have only recently been correctly attributed. For example the G major symphony MH334 was believed to have been Mozart’s Symphony No.37 until 1907, when musicologist Lothar Perger discovered Mozart had only written the introduction. Scholarship has continued shedding light on Michael Haydn’s music, and an improvement on Perger’s 1907 catalogue of the composer’s works is the recent one created by Charles Sherman and T. Donley Thomas in 1993, in which 838 pieces are each assigned an MH number according to the authors’ best guesses at chronology. Michael Haydn also wrote serenades, divertimenti and notturni, genres popular during the Classical and Romantic eras, where a tuneful melody is prioritised over technical virtuosity. The D major Serenade MH86 has ten movements including a concertino for horn and trombone, which features uplifting solo lines.

Price: $83.99