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[Johann] Michael HAYDN (1737 - 1806)
Symphony P.4 (1764) [15.26]
Symphony P.9 (1766) [13.29]
Symphony P.44 (1771) [23.04]
Symphony P.15 (1782) [23.08]
Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Harold Farberman
Recorded at Christchurch Priory, Dorset, UK, June 1985
Notes in English. Key signatures of the works not given.
REGIS RRC 1188 [75.28]

Comparison Recordings in the Michael Haydn Symphony Series:
Vox Turnabout PVT 7124: #ís P.20, P.32, P.42.
Vox Box CDX 5020 #ís P.10, P.12, P.19, P.28, P.30, P.32 P.43.

All these recordings of symphonies by Joseph Haydnís younger brother Michael were made in the 1980s, but have been released a few at a time on various labels. The market for music by Michael Haydn is perceived to be small, even though he is the man who wrote "Mozartís 37th Symphony;" Mozart borrowed the work (with permission), wrote a few bars of introduction to it and it was passed off as his own for many years. Itís a fine work, but now that itís known not to be by Mozart it just isnít played any more. Itís sort of like Bachís Cantata #53; that used to be one of Bachís most popular and frequently played works, but now that we know itís really by Stölzel, itís not played at all! What kind of silliness is this? Doesnít anyone actually listen to the music? Can someone make sense of this to me?

Michael Haydnís works sound generally like those of his brother Franz Joseph, but are more daring rhythmically and harmonically ó perhaps "quirky" is the right word. Itís as though Joseph Haydn got really drunk and had a dream wherein he met Prokofiev and Liszt and next morning tried to write down what he had heard. These performances capture all the energy, humour, and surprise that is in the music and the recordings have a sweet, natural, well-balanced sound.

The last movement of P.44 quotes a tune that Mozart twenty years later gave to Papageno in the Magic Flute. The first movement of P.15 suggests a motif Joseph Haydn used in the first movement of his 45th Symphony.

The "P" numbers refer to the catalogue compiled in 1907 by Lothar Perger. It was careless work, and included many symphonies by other composers, but much of that has been straightened out by now, by Farbermann in his preparations for these recordings. There are now thought to be a total of 41 authentic J. M. Haydn Symphonies (instead of Pergerís total of 52). Farbermann and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta seemed committed to recording them all, but disappointing disk sales have aborted the project at about half way through. The notes to this recording hint that Regis have a second CDís worth to release this coming year, IF the sales of this disk warrant it.

Consider this disk a blessing of great music. Buy it that ye may be further blest.

Paul Shoemaker

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