«Peachtree Road United Methodist Church 3180 Peachtree Road NE Atlanta, Georgia The “Paris” Symphonies The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra John Hsu, ...»
Franz Josef Haydn
John Hsu, Artistic Advisor
Sunday 25 September 2005
Peachtree Road United Methodist Church
3180 Peachtree Road NE
The “Paris” Symphonies
The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra
John Hsu, Artistic Advisor and Conductor
Franz Josef Haydn
Symphony No. 83 in G Minor, “La Poule”
Symphony No. 85 in B-flat Major, “La Reine”
Adagio - Vivace Romance: Allegretto Menuetto: Allegretto Finale: Presto intermission Symphony No. 87 in A Major Vivace Adagio Menuet Finale: Vivace 2 The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra Violin Violoncello Oboe Karen Clarke Brent Wissick George Riordan Gesa Kordes Eckhart Richter Susan Brashier Shawn Pagliarini Martha Bishop Stephen Redfield Bassoon Keith Collins Valerie Prebys Arsenault Violone Melanie Punter Kelsey Schilling Ute Marks Ruth Johnsen Harpsichord Horn Cora Cooper Daniel Pyle Celeste Holler Russell Williamson Viola Flute Melissa Brewer Catherine Bull William Bauer The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra was founded under the leadership of Lyle Nordstrom, along with founding-members Catherine Bull, Jeanne Johnson, Daniel Pyle, and Eckhart Richter, who felt the need for a permanent, professional, historical-instrument orchestra in the Southeast. The unique, transparent sheen of “early” instruments, coupled with their capability of a delightful variety of articulations, allows voices and instruments to blend into a unified, yet clear, sound that is very difficult to achieve with “modern” instruments. Since its founding in 1997, the ABO has been applauded for its freshness and verve, and for its delightful, convincing performances of a wide range of earlier works.
The Orchestra received initial generous support from the Atlanta Early Music Alliance and a variety of individuals, and has also depended on donations of time and money from the musicians themselves. The ABO is a not-for-profit corporation based in Atlanta, and is 501(c)3 (tax-exempt).
Contributions, which are tax-deductible, are greatly appreciated and are central to the survival of a venture such as this. If you would like to support the ABO and its future programming, please send checks made out to “The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra,” 303 Augusta Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30315.
There is also a great opportunity for friends of the arts in the community to serve on the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra board. Please visit our website at www.atlantabaroque.org for more information on the ABO.
John Hsu has just retired from the position of Old Dominion Foundation Professor of Music at Cornell University, where he had been teaching since 1955. He is the founder and conductor of the Apollo Ensemble (a period instrument chamber orchestra) and a renowned virtuoso player of the viola da gamba and baryton. As both a conductor and an instrumentalist, he has been awarded grants 3 by "The Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions," a public/private partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Information Agency, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. He has performed throughout North America and Europe, and made award-winning recordings. Among them are his CD of Haydn Baryton Trios (with violist David Miller and cellist Fortunato Arico), which was chosen Winner in the Music Retailers Association's Annual Award for Excellence in London, 1989; and his CD Symphonies for the Esterhazy Court by Joseph Haydn (with the Apollo Ensemble), which was nominated for the 1996 International Cannes Classical Music Award. In recognition of his edition of the complete instrumental works of Marin Marais (1656-1728), the most important composer of music for the viola da gamba, and for his performances and recordings of French baroque music for the viola da gamba, the French government conferred on him the knighthood Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in May of 2000.
He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, which awarded him the Honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1971. He is also Artistic Director Emeritus of the Aston Magna Foundation for Music and the Humanities (the pioneering musical organization in the historical performance movement in this country, founded by Albert Fuller in 1972). As conductor of the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, he has performed all nine Beethoven Symphonies, based on the new Bärenreiter edition by Jonathan Del Mar, completed in 2000.
Although Haydn never visited Paris, his music, beginning with the earliest symphonies and chamber works in the 1760s, was well known and much performed there. Many of his works were published there without his knowledge and consent, and thus he derived no financial benefits from them.
Therefore, when the Comte d’Ogny commissioned Haydn for six symphonies on behalf of Le Concert de la Loge Olympique in 1785, it was a long overdue formal recognition of the composer’s immense popularity and exalted reputation in the French musical world. The high esteem of the Parisians was reflected in the extraordinary offer to Haydn of 25 louis d’or for each of his symphonies, an amount that was five times more than what the Concert offered other composers for a symphony. Haydn’s response to this generous commission was immediate, composing Symphonies Nos. 82-87, now known as the “Paris” Symphonies, during 1785-1786. The numbering of these works given at the time of publication does not represent the chronological order of their creation. Extant dated autographs indicate that Symphonies 83, 85, and 87 were composed in 1785, and Symphonies 82, 84, 86 in 1786. The first performances of these symphonies took place during the 1787-88 series, and according to the Mercure de France in April of 1788, these symphonies (one or more) were played at all the concerts during that season. The reviewer added that from repeated hearings, one admires more and more the works of this great genius, which in each of the pieces succeeded in realizing such rich and varied developments from a single subject. Probably in response to demand,
The three symphonies in this program all call for the same instrumentation: flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, and strings.
The first movement of Symphony No. 83 in G Minor, Allegro spiritoso, begins with a dramatic first theme of three exclamatory phrases, each consisting of four long notes followed by repeated figures in dotted rhythm. The urgency of this initial utterance, which seems to presage the buildup of a movement of great intensity, leads instead to a comical and light-hearted second theme in the relative major. It is this second theme, whose short grace-notes and rhythm are suggestive of the clucking of hen, that later earned the name La Poule for this symphony. The juxtaposition of these two themes in the beginning of the development section emphasizes further their extreme contrast in character.
In spite of the extended use of the forceful four-note motive in sequences, the movement ends simply and happily in G major.
The Andante second movement is an intimate, lyrical and expressive movement played mainly by the strings. With the exception of the three transitional phrases that introduce the arrival of new tonalities, where the tranquility of the music is disrupted by loud orchestral outbursts, the dynamic markings throughout the movement are all piano and pianissimo. Other than these surprising moments, the winds join the strings only in two phrases of orchestral sonority: the phrase before the return of the main theme and the final phrase of the movement.
For the last two movements, Haydn abandoned the original tonality of G minor, and ends the symphony with two dance movements in G major. The third movement is a waltz-like Menuet beginning with an upbeat, which suggests a faster tempo than the Baroque menuet. The Trio section features a solo flute playing the melody in octaves with the first violin section. The gigue-like finale, Vivace, is a monothematic movement in sonata form. The highlights of this movement are the fast modulating development section of 20 measures that touches upon seven keys, and the reiterative phrase that contains three dramatic pauses before the dance reaches its brilliant ending.
Symphony No. 85 in B-flat Major is known as La Reine because it was the favorite of the Queen, Marie Antoinette. The first movement opens with a short Adagio introduction that leads to a most unusual Vivace, which is a monothematic movement in sonata form. The seemingly simple theme consists of two halves: the first based on the motive of a soft long expressive note and its resolution to the next harmony, marked cantabile, and the second on a loud and fast ascending scale followed by a broken chord. Although the lively character of the second half of the theme holds sway, the cantabile motives provide the beautiful and touching moments of the movement. Thus, the duality of the theme has within itself the thematic contrast usually provided by a second theme.
The second movement, entitled “Romance,” is a theme and variations movement in E-flat major, based on an old French folk song. Following the theme, played by the strings, the flute appears as soloist in the first variation. In the second variation, the theme is heard in the key of E-flat minor, again played by the strings. Variation three features the flute in a florid obbligato part, and the final variation, the bassoon as soloist. In the jaunty Menuetto that follows, we hear the bassoon again in the Trio section, first in a solo, then along with the flute and oboes in an unusual conversational phrase accompanied by the horns playing a long pedal point in octave.
The first movement of Symphony No. 87 in A Major, Vivace, is one of rich orchestral sonority. The sole theme of this movement is a forceful one accompanied throughout by a bass line of constant eighth-notes, which gives the music a feeling of relentless rhythmic drive. Soft and expressive moments are provided by the bridge passages that take the theme to new tonalities. The development section, which modulates from A minor to F-sharp minor, incorporates both characteristics. It is brought to a sudden halt by two unexpected measures of silence, then continues surprisingly to the recapitulation section of the movement.
The second movement is a lyrical Adagio in binary form, in which the second half is a repeat of the first. The first half begins in D Major and ends on the dominant key of A major, and the second half vice versa. Each half begins with the theme played by the strings, followed by an obbligato phrase by the flute, and ends with the winds accompanied by the strings. Neither half is repeated. The second is followed by a coda played by the entire orchestra.
By the time of the “Paris” Symphonies, the term Menuet in Haydn’s works no longer denotes the traditional French baroque menuet of two-measure grouping. Rather, it had become more of a generic term for a dance movement. In this instance, it is essentially a Ländler, an Austrian folk dance in 3/4 time. The rustic character of the dance is enhanced by the contrast with the elegance of the oboe solo in the Trio section.
The ABO would also like to acknowledge the several thousand dollars worth of rehearsal time that has been graciously given to the orchestra by its members. These concerts could not be given without their enthusiasm and support.