Thursday, May 6, 2010

Haydn's Final London Symphony

I just finished hearing Haydn's London Symphony played by the Berlin Philharmonic under Sergiu Celibidache in 1950. Many people laugh at the tempi and call it lethargic but I enjoyed the performance thoroughly with Haydn taken at a lugubrious and spacious pace. The Berlin strings are superb even with the age of the recording. 'London' Symphony No. 104 in D Major is Haydn's final symphony. It is the last of the twelve 'London' symphonies. It was composed by Haydn while he was living in London. it was premiered at the King's Theatre on 4th May 1795. Haydn wrote: "I made 4000 gulden on this evening; such a thing is possible only in England." The work is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A Major, two bassoons, two french horns ( In D Major and G Major), two trumpets (in D Major), timpani and strings.
It is a magnificent work. Celibidache is superb in his historic reading.