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Haydn Society of North America
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Haydn Music Festival South Pilsen
13-22 September 2012
by Michaela Freemanova
This September the Haydn Music Festival in the South-Pilsen region around Dolní Lukavice (Unter-Lukawetz), where Joseph Haydn served as Kapellmeister of Count Morzin 1757-1761, celebrated four important anniversaries: the birth anniversaries of both Joseph (280th) and Michael (275th) Haydn, the 200th anniversary of death of Jan Ladislav Dussek, and the Festival's own 20th anniversary. As in 2009, all countries in which Joseph Haydn lived and worked were represented this year. The Ensemble Cinque Tarli, a young period harmonie quintet, presented music by Austrian composers Joseph Haydn, Giuseppe Maria Cambini and Antonín Reicha. A second wind music concert was performed by the Philharmonia Octet, led by the young oboe virtuoso Vilém Veverka. It featured works by Beethoven and Mozart, along with music by the Neo-Classical composer Gordon Jacob. The historic Hungarian lands were represented by Musica aeterna from Bratislava, playing string quintets by Joseph Haydn, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Michael Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. England was present in the form of a Broadwood and Sons grand piano from c. 1830, on which Alena Hönigová performed an "English" program of works by Joseph Haydn, Jan Ladislav Dussek, Ignaz Moscheles, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and William Sterndale Bennett.
Of course, Bohemia was most strongly present. Three concerts were given in Dolní Lukavice, taking place in the local church and the now privately-owned palace. On the first evening of the Festival the violin/viola duo and well known early music specialists Martin Kaplan and Josef Fiala performed regional folk music. Another folk music concert was performed by the folk ensemble Mladina. As has become the tradition of the Haydn Music Festival, the opening concert was given by the Pilsen Conservatoire Orchestra, under the baton of the Pilsen and Prague State Opera conductor Jiří Štrunc. This year they performed Joseph Haydn’s “Lukawetz” Symphony No. 1 and Violin Concerto in G, Hob. VIIa:4, and Michael Haydn's Symphony in D, MH 24, which survives in a single copy in the Brothers Hospitallers’ collection in Kuks, East Bohemia. The violin concerto was performed with panache by the young violin virtuoso Tomáš Vinklát. On the second day of the Festival, following the Musica aeterna concert at the Dolní Lukavice palace, the Assumption Church of nearby Přeštice hosted the Schola Gregoriana of Prague in a program of medieval music dedicated to the Czech saints in Holy Jerusalem, and to Sts. Joseph and Michael in thanksgiving for the lives of Joseph and Michael Haydn.
The Festival also included two song recitals. The first of them featured fortepianist Monika Knoblochová and vocalists Irena Troupová, soprano, Kamila Mazalová, alto, performing songs by Josef Mysliveček, Joseph Haydn, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The second was comprised of songs and guitar compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Michael Haydn, Ferdinando Carulli, Johannes Simon Mayr, Mauro Giuliani, Fernando Sor, Johann Kaspar Mertz and contemporary Bohemian authors František Max Kníže and Jan Pavel Martinovský, given by Romantic guitarist Jana Steidl-Kindernayová and soprano Ivana Bilej-Brouková. Prague Conservatory professor Michal Novenko dedicated an organ recital to Joseph and Michael Haydn, and their contemporaries from Bohemia (Jan Křtitel Vaňhal, Jan Křtitel Kuchař), England (Samuel Wesley), Italy and Malta (Francesco Azzopardi), and Portugal and Spain (Carlos de Seixas, Juan de Sessé). Professor Novenko also improvised on Haydn subjects. A concert given by the cello virtuosos Jiří Hošek and Dominika Weiss-Hošková included a concerto by Francois Couperin, and then focused on the relationship of Joseph Haydn and Anton Kraft. And the Prague Classical Trio—Petra Matějová, fortepiano, Magdaléna Malá, violin, Marek Štryncl, cello—centered on music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The concluding concert was the only one to reach beyond the program frame: the Ensemble Inégal performed the Mass in D, Op. 86 by Antonín Dvořák in the chapel of the Lužany palace, for which it was composed 125 years ago.
Haydn Music Festival
South Pilsen, Czech Republic
13-22 September 2012
Thursday, 13 September
20.30 Dolní Lukavice, castle park/castle entrance
Martin Kaplan, violin, and Josef Fiala, viola
J. Haydn and the Bohemian folklore of his times
Friday, 14 September
17.00 Dolní Lukavice, Sts. Peter and Paul Church
Pilsen Conservatoire Orchestra
Jiří Štrunc, conductor, Tomáš Vinklát, violin
J. Haydn, M. Haydn
20.30 Vícov, St. Ambrosius Church
Alena Hönigová, fortepiano
J. L. Dusík, J. Haydn, I. Moscheles, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, W. S. Bennett
Saturday, 15 September
11.00 Dolní Lukavice, palace
J. Haydn, J. G. Albrechtsberger, M. Haydn, W. A. Mozart
18.00 Štěnovice, St. Procopius Church
Ensemble Cinque Tarli
J. Haydn, G. M. Cambini, A. Rejcha
Sunday, 16 September
11.00 Příchovice, palace
Irena Troupová, soprano, Kamila Mazalová, alto
Monika Knoblochová, fortepiano
J. Mysliveček, J. Haydn, C. P. E. Bach, W. A. Mozart
18.00 Přeštice, Assumption Church
Schola Gregoriana Pragensis
Dedicated to Bohemian Saints in Holy Jerusalem,
and Sts. Joseph and Michael
Monday, 17 September
18.00 Dobřany, St. Nicolas Church
C. F. Bach, V. Jírovec, J. K. Vaňhal, L. Koželuh, J. L. Dusík
Tuesday, 18 September
18.00 Nezdice, St. Procopius Church
Ivana Bilej-Brouková, soprano
Jana Steidl-Kindernayová, Romantic guitar
W. A. Mozart, F. M. Kníže, F. Schubert, J. K. Mertz, M. Haydn, M. Giuliani
Wednesday, 19 September
18.00 Blovice, St. John the Evangelist Church
Michal Novenko, organ
J. Sessé, C. Seixas, M. Haydn, J. K. Vaňhal, J. K. Kuchař, J. Haydn, F. Azzopardi, S. Wesley, M. Novenko
Thursday, 20 September
18.00 Řenče, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church
Dominika Weiss-Hošková and Jiří Hošek, cello
F. Couperin, J. Haydn, A. Kraft
Friday, 21 September
18.00 Chotěšov Monastery
L. van Beethoven, G. Jacob, W. A. Mozart
Saturday, 22 September
14.00 Spálené Poříčí, palace
Prague Classical Trio
W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, J. Haydn
18.00 Lužany, palace
A. Dvořák: Mass in D, Op. 86 (“Lužany”)
English Haydn Festival, Bridgnorth
6-9 June 2012
by Denis McCaldin
The 19th English Haydn Festival took place 6-9 June 2012 in Bridgnorth, a small town in Shropshire, UK. From modest beginnings, the Festival was at its prime in the first ten years of the new millennium, when H. C. Robbins Landon was Artistic Adviser. His last book Horns in High C mentions his visits to the Festival and the significant number of fine artists who have performed there, including Steven Isserlis, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Bruno Weil, Ian Partridge and Catherine Bott. It is perhaps surprising that in Britain, where Haydn found his greatest success, the only regular festival dedicated to his music should be located in a market town near the Welsh border. It might be expected that the BBC, who boast that their Promenade Concerts in London are the biggest classical music events in the world, would recognize Haydn’s links with the UK in a meaningful way, but in recent years this has not been the case. In this latest season Haydn was represented by a single work: Symphony No. 104 in D.
The 2012 English Haydn Festival was a somewhat modest affair, lasting only four days rather than the eight or nine in Landon’s time. This was perhaps to be expected, given the damaging effect of the current world recession and the conflicting demands for funding of sports and the arts in Britain during the year of the London Olympic Games. The Festival began with a screening of the film In Search of Haydn in the town’s only remaining cinema, with director Phil Grabsky there in person to discuss the movie with the audience following its viewing. The four-day concert program concentrated on Haydn's earlier symphonies, most notably the famous "Morning, Noon, and Night" trilogy (Nos. 6, 7, and 8). Shortly before the opening concert on 6 June, the Festival’s chief conductor Anthony Halstead was hospitalised, and on very short notice violinist Simon Standage agreed to direct the orchestral concerts from the violin. Mr. Standage is no stranger to the Festival, and many of the players had worked with him before. In his capable hands these three symphonies, with their concertante scoring and many solos for the violin, were stylishly and convincingly performed. It was a happy outcome to a potentially difficult situation.
The Grand Opening Concert on Wednesday, 6 June, was held in St. Leonard’s Church, the Festival’s principal venue. It began with Haydn’s Symphony No. 6 Morning, which was followed by Johann Christian Bach's Sinfonia Concertante in A featuring Simon Standage on violin and Pavel Serbin on cello, the first of a number of rarely heard works. The overture to Haydn's marionette opera Philemon und Baucis completed the first half of the evening. After the intermission it was a pleasure to hear William Boyce's modest Symphony No. 4, a favorite of amateur orchestras throughout the world, and the concert ended with Haydn's somewhat neglected Symphony No. 71 in B-flat. Written about 1780, the work is of interest because of its high horn parts in B-flat, which add an attractive glitter to the wind scoring.
Lunchtime on the second day saw the Barbican Piano Trio play three Haydn trios from 1797: Nos. 41, 44, and 45. James Kirby was the admirable fortepianist who would be heard again later in the Festival playing two concertos. Here the balance between keyboard and strings was notably more successful than in many performances using a modern piano. The long set of variations that begin that Piano Trio No. 41 in E did not hold this listener’s attention, but happily Trios Nos. 44 and 45 fared better. For the evening concert, the Eroica Quartet made a welcome return to the Festival after a few years’ absence. Their program was changed from that in the advance publicity. Instead of rarities by Schetky and Abel, two fugues were played: Mozart's K. 405, which is an arrangement of Bach's BWV 877, and the finale of Haydn's Op. 20 no. 5. Haydn's unfinished last quartet Op. 103 opened the second half, followed by a quartet by Johann Georg Christoph Schetky. Born in Darmstadt in 1737, Schetky worked for most of his life in Scotland. His charming three-movement quartet proved to be an attractive foil for the concluding work, Beethoven’s Op. 18 no. 6 in B-flat.
Among the most attractive events of the English Haydn Festival are the many chamber music concerts given in different locations in the neighbourhood surrounding Bridgnorth. The first of these was held on Friday, 8 June at St. Mary’s, another church in the town with a warm acoustic. In this program the Eroica Quartet returned to play a quartet by Abel (Op. 15 no. 3) and Haydn's Op. 50 no. 6. Entitled "The English Connection" the concert was bulked out with single movements from Haydn's Quartet Op. 77 no.2 and Viotti's Op. 3 no. 1.
The program for the evening concert was artfully designed, with Haydn’s remaining symphonies from the "times of day" trilogy (Nos. 7 and 8) acting as bookends to J. C. Bach's Piano Concerto, Op. 13 no. 4 and Mozart's Concerto No.12, K. 414. The juxtaposition of these two works on either side of the intermission gave listeners the opportunity to compare and contrast the style of these two contemporary composers. Fortepianist James Kirkby played both concertos with great authority – the Mozart in particular benefitted from his elegant interpretation of this relatively early work. J. C. Bach’s use of pizzicato in the slow movement, and the finale based on the strathspey rhythm found in a well-known Scottish song of the time, testified to the composer’s truly individual voice. With Simon Standage again leading the orchestra from the violin, the whole evening gave much enjoyment.
On Saturday, 9 June, Standage again participated in both the morning coffee concert and in the evening. The first event was held in the tiny church attached to Acton Round Hall, which lies a few miles outside Bridgnorth, and whose owners have welcomed audiences into their home for coffee after the music making for many years. Billed as "The English Haydn Ensemble," the quartet that performed this concert was made up of key players from the orchestra. Simon Standage led the quartet, with Duncan Druce, the festival orchestra's leader, playing viola, and principals David Lewis and Pavel Serbin completing the group. Given the dedicated preparation most established string quartets undertake, this ad hoc arrangement might have been unrewarding for listeners and players alike. As it turned out, the concert was a delight. Continuing the Festival’s "Early Years" theme, the ensemble played three works – one each from Opus 1, Opus 9 and Opus 17.
The final Grand Jubilee Concert followed that evening. It began with Haydn’s early Symphony No. 5 in A. As in Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in the same key, the high horn parts dominate the texture and the two players concerned made the most of their opportunities. Pavel Serbin was the soloist in the familiar Cello Concerto in D that followed. As always, his performance was musical and well prepared, but the weaknesses of the piece, when compared with the infinitely finer C-major work, were still evident. Haydn’s Symphony No. 80 in D minor concluded the Festival. Dating from the early 1780s, this work shows many features of the composer’s mature style. Swirling string writing interspersed with unexpected silences and quirky rhythmic passages dominate the first movement, while offbeat exchanges between upper and lower strings are featured to witty effect in the finale. The Festival Orchestra responded to these challenges with enthusiasm, and was justly rewarded with warm applause.
Jubilee 2013 – 25th International Haydn-Days
"Haydn and Beethoven"
5 to 22 September 2013
by Simone Bamberg
Next year, the Haydn Festival celebrates 25 years of International
Haydn-Days. Each September the festival presents an extraordinary
range of artists and ensembles, all paying homage to the Genius Loci
Since the beginning of the festival in 1988, the concerts of Adam Fischer
and his Austrian-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra have been highlights
of the Haydn-Days. Next year they will perform a series of concerts
including some of the "London" Symphonies of Joseph Haydn and all
nine symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven – a tribute to the festival
theme “Haydn & Beethoven.”
The invited artists and orchestras will make the 25th International
Haydn-Days special: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Paul
Badura Skoda, Vladimir Fedosejev, Anima Eterna, Trevor Pinnock,
kammerorchesterbasel, Giovanni Antonini, Sol Gabetta, Angelika
Kirchschlager, and many others.
Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra in the Haydnsaal
© Haydn Festival Austria