New Arrangement of the Seven Last Words for Good Friday

OSP poster 25March2016 e-flyerHere’s a special event for your diary. The Orchestra of St Paul’s are to play Haydn’s Seven Last Words in a new arrangement for string orchestra by their conductor Ben Palmer at a concert in central London on Good Friday. Mr Palmer writes

This new version is a transcription for string orchestra of Haydn’s original orchestral version, restoring the details omitted from the rather rudimentary string quartet publication of 1787, which left out much important thematic material and contrapuntal complexity.

Also in this concert there is a performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C with Korean virtuoso cellist Hyunah Park, as well as his Symphony no. 26. The Haydn Society of Great Britain is proud to be supporting this concert. More details may be found here.

New Year, New Associations

Happy New Year! As 2016 gets underway, we thought we’d let you know about some performances of Haydn’s music that are being given in the first part of 2016.

We’re particularly pleased to be supporting a concert of Haydn’s music on Good Friday in central London. The Orchestra of St. Paul’s in association with the Haydn Society of Great Britain give the world premiere of Ben Palmer’s string orchestra arrangement of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross, as well as Symphony No. 26 and the Cello Concerto in C, at St Paul’s church Covent Garden on 25 March at 7.30. You can find more infomation here.

In addition, the Orchestra of St. Paul’s under Ben Palmer will be giving an account of Haydn’s Symphony No. 59 at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 28 January. Ben is an enthusiastic advocate of Haydn and has formed a special spin-off concern to perform Haydn’s music – his London Haydn Project will be performing Haydn and Mozart the week before this central London concert at the Parish Church of Sarum St Martin, Salisbury on Sunday 24 January.

As ever, do let us know if you are involved in performances or events concerning Haydn and his music. We’d love to know more and share the news!

Happy Christmas from the Haydn Society of Great Britain

The director of the Haydn Society, Denis McCaldin, writes:

haydnsoc_wigmoreSo we come to the end of the year. What a special year it has been for the Society! It was almost two years ago that we decided to commit ourselves to putting up the first plaque to Haydn in London. March this year saw this accomplished when Sir Neville Marriner, beside the Austrian ambassador, unveiled the plaque at 18 Great Pulteney Street. Almost a hundred people came to see the event for themselves.

The process of putting up the plaque caused me to sift through many an old file. I was pleased to turn up this poster (right) advertising an early concert series which the Society put on at Wigmore Hall (in 1980). Of course the lifetime of the Society is but a slight cross section of the period over which Haydn’s music has been admired and celebrated – for the best part of 250 years. We hope that the plaque will remind people to seek out and try his music for at least 250 years to come.

We hope you have a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year and we look forward to hearing about your interest in, discovery of and, as always, enthusiasm for the music of Joseph Haydn in 2016.”

Peter Cropper, 1945-2015

Peter Cropper, image via The Strad

Director Denis McCaldin writes following news of the death of Peter Cropper.

“Peter Cropper, founder/leader of the Lindsay Quartet and a member of the Haydn Society’s Committee of Honour, has died aged 69. The Lindsays (as they chose to be called) established their reputation through their performances Haydn’s chamber music, and later with the quartets of Michael Tippett.

After leaving the Royal Academy of Music in 1967, where they had been coached by Sidney Griller, the quartet rapidly aquired an international recognition. But rather than touring world-wide, Peter Cropper’s love of the north of England led him to secure residencies for the group at Keele, Sheffield and Manchester universities.

Artistically, Peter Cropper was a daring risk-taker, both in repertoire and in interpretation. ‘I don’t say it was always immaculate,’ he once said of the quartet’s performing style. ‘Who wants perfection? Perfection is sterile. We’re human beings.” For many, this was a refreshing change of attitude for audiences brought up on the sleek, polished recordings of the Amadeus and the Beaux Arts Trio.

As the pianist Martin Roscoe, who partnered him in many sonata and trio concerts has said. ‘Peter was completely fearless. He took huge risks all the time, to get to the bottom of the music in terms of its character. He was inspirational.’”

The Plaque Unveiled

haydn plaque people

(l to r) Austrian Ambassador Martin Eichtinger, Sir Neville Marriner, Haydn Society Director Professor Denis McCaldin and Walter Reicher of the Haydn Festspiele Eisenstadt

It is with a tremendous sense of pride but also of accomplishment that we unveiled our plaque to Joseph Haydn today at 18 Great Pulteney Street, London. We were totally overwhelmed by the crowd (perhaps over a hundred strong) that gathered to see His Excellency Austrian Ambassador Martin Eichtinger, Sir Neville Marriner and Professor Denis McCaldin, Director of the Haydn Society of Great Britain, finally achieve what seems to have eluded so many others over the previous fifty years of attempts at such a commemoration.

After an introduction from Denis McCaldin, Martin Eichtinger spoke at length of Haydn’s life and achievements. Denis then thanked all those who had contributed money to commission the plaque and have it installed, as well as: the owner of the building; its enthusiastic and welcoming tenants Feref London; and English Heritage and Westminster City Council for their help and support (the plaque has been put up independently of either body but both have been helpful). He then introduced Neville Marriner (reminding us that the conductor has recorded one hundred CDs of Haydn’s music!) and invited him to pull the cord.

haydn plaque panorama

The crowd at the unveiling of the Haydn plaque listen to Haydn Society of Great Britain Director Denis McCaldin speak. Photo: Ben Palmer

And, with a few words – tussling, appropriately, with the noisy Soho traffic that Haydn also struggled with – Sir Neville pulled back the curtain and revealed the plaque. The plaque is fixed in the wall, recessed and cemented in place. It’s there for anyone to see, made possible by public support and designed to inspire passers-by to consider the composer and perhaps try his wonderful music.