There has been a recent glut of recordings of Haydn’s music for the keyboard. We at the Haydn Society of Great Britain have been focused on Roman Rabinovich’s Haydn project. This was launched earlier this year with a recital in London to publicise his first double CD “Haydn Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1”, though there have been other notable recordings by Paul Lewis (on Harmonia Mudi), Rebecca Maurer (Genuin), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s 8th volume of his sonata survey (Chandos) and Jerome Hantaï (Mirare), to name a few (here’s Haydn Society director Denis McCaldin clutching a copy of the remarkable F Minor sonata during a chat in his study over the weekend).
Along with this gold rush comes a real nugget, a new disc from Ivan Ilić for Chandos. This recital is different, in that it concerns the transcriptions for piano of selected symphonic works by Haydn, by the composer’s contemporary Carl David Stegmann. Ilić’s story is one of chance discovery – he was invited to rifle through a box of sheet music by a friend and chanced across a copy of Stegmann’s arrangement of Symphony no. 44. Three years later and a recording of this – along with further transcriptions of Symphonies nos 75 & 92 – makes for an absorbing reappraisal of the manner in which this part of the repertory would be consumed in the pre-gramophone middle-class home.
Haydn Society of Great Britain director Denis McCaldin writes:
“Joseph Haydn – Innovation and Inspiration” was the theme of this year’s annual Chamber Music Festival (15-17 March) at the Royal Northern College of Music last weekend in Manchester.
The Chamber Music Festival was pioneered for string quartet players by Christopher Rowland at a time when music colleges gave scant attention to small ensembles. This year’s programme showed how far things have progressed. Devised by RNCM staff member Jeremy Young, the weekend offered student groups from piano duettists to mixed electronic/traditional music in an amazing diversity of chamber ensembles and arrangements. Also featured were the Quatuor Mosaiques and the Heath Quartet in two evening concerts which were as educational as they were impressive. A rewarding weekend for all who attended.
UPDATE: The event was reviewed in the Sunday Times here. Denis McCaldin’s notes were quotes thus:
Denis McCaldin, in his programme-book essay, nicely observed that [Haydn] isn’t so much the “father” of the symphony or the piano sonata as “the ‘father’ of classical music itself”.
We’re pleased to have been contacted by the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester about their chamber music festival from 15-17 March. This festival focuses on Haydn’s music. Jeremy Young, the artistic director, writes:
“This year’s festival pays homage to the innovative genius of Joseph ‘Papa’ Haydn, rightfully known as the ‘Father of the String Quartet’. We explore some of his inspiring and original chamber works as well as seminal compositions including The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross. Throughout, we showcase our own talented students alongside guests Quatuor Mosaïques, Trio Wanderer, the Heath Quartet, Trio Gaspard, Simon Rowland-Jones and the Benyounes Quartet.
We also look at how Haydn’s ‘invention’ developed, the composers directly inspired by him, and some living composers who still refer to his genius. We explore what the string quartet, or indeed, chamber music as a whole has or might become. An ever-present in composition, education and performance, the quartet is capable of ground-breaking experimentation, radical invention and extraordinary expression, and is arguably now a vehicle for innovation in its own right.
There is a wide variety of events taking place, from more traditional quartet performances to modern imaginings and arrangements, film screenings, talks and masterclasses, allowing you to curate your own individual and unique journey through this busy weekend and reflect on Haydn’s immense impact as a true original.”
We are delighted to be supporting this project of exciting young pianist Roman Rabinovich, whose publicist says: “Following the recent release of the first volume of his Haydn piano sonatas series on First Hand Records, and with volume two on the way in 2019, Roman will play music from the recording and engage in discussion about Haydn’s often-neglected keyboard music. There will also be a chance to see footage from a new documentary made during Roman’s Haydn sonata cycle at The Bath Festival in May 2018, as well as witnessing Roman playing live alongside the original animation Imaginary encounters with Haydn. This short film features illustrations by Roman himself, and animation by Adam McRae.”
The Haydn Society of Great Britain journal no. 37 is now being sent out to members, just in time for Christmas. Look out for yours! If you would like to become a member of the Haydn Society of Great Britain, then do visit our Membership page for more details.