For anyone the slightest bit interested in music history, the name of Joseph Haydn is almost guaranteed to conjure up the name of his longtime patron and benefactor, Prince Esterhazy. Although there are no liner notes present with this album to share such pertinent information, these three symphonies -- 6, 7, and 8 -- are significant to the relationship between Haydn and the Prince. Specifically, they were the first three symphonies the father of the modern symphony composed for his supporter and were designed to show off not only Haydn's compositional skills, but the talents of the orchestra in Esterhazy's court. Collectively referred to as "Times of Day," the three symphonies each have subtitles -- "Morning," "Afternoon," and "Night," respectively. Their formal structure is much like the concerto grosso, offering extensive solo passages to virtually every instrument in the orchestra. This particular recording of the Staatskapelle Berlin under Gunther Herbig offers listeners a refreshingly articulate, clean recording of these early symphonies. Not only does the orchestra perform tuttis with exceptional energy and precision, but each of the soloists give dazzling and stylistically appropriate demonstrations that would likely have pleased Esterhazy himself. This album would certainly be a welcome addition to any Haydn collection.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Symphony No. 6 in D major ("Le Matin"), H. 1/6|
|Symphony No. 7 in C major ("Le midi"), H. 1/7|
|Symphony No. 8 in G major (Le soir), H. 1/8|